We keep the energy alive this Monday.

I learned the lyrics to every song on Tupac’s Me Against the World album in 1995 when I was just shy of eight years old.
My mom would play his tapes during our car ride home after picking me up from the Boys and Girls’ Club, heavily rotating some of the West Coast rapper’s greatest hits and introducing me to conscious hip hop with early songs like Brenda’s Got a Baby.
Tupac and the many others speaking truth over hot tracks detailed the conditions of poor and brown communities vividly. The content provided solace to listeners as a public service—visibility to outsiders on the socioeconomic challenges that required both scrutiny and recourse.

In 2016, we’ve traded in our mixtapes for Spotify and Apple Music accounts, following the wordsmithing of hip hop icons who draw similar storylines detailing their escape from the same conditions that landed the Brenda caricature at the center of a discussion Tupac sparked nearly three decades ago.

Poor housing, vast unemployment, mass incarceration, a shrinking middle class, glass ceilings for those seeking access to the middle.
Two decades later and the content of the music hasn’t changed because the conditions haven’t changed much either.
This harsh reality makes me think deeply about how critical data will be moving forward.
Data = power.

Our acknowledgment of the analytics, the trends, the challenges, will equip us to the task of building the right businesses and solutions for our communities.
We’ll know to develop urban planners to address affordable housing and transit; psychologists to address PTSD; scientists to address the environmental impact on early child development; and so forth.



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P.P.S. If you haven’t gotten your ticket to BLK TECH CLT here in Charlotte on December 6, we have a few left. Grab yours here. 

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