Hello ladies and gentleman. First-time poster, long-time supporter of digital everything. Strap in, because today we are recapping two incredible initiatives, both new and invaluable assets to the digital community, in D.C. and beyond.
A lot of big things are happening in response to the political climate (take the past 24 hours for example – here’s lookin’ at you, Patagonia and Time’s ‘Silence Breakers’) but Full Color Future and Creative Control enable positive, ground-swell action in a brand new way. Created by Google Nex Gen Fellows Brian Woolfolk and Kim Tignor (cohort members with our festival founder Otessa Ghadar) we attended their launch events and are here to make a formal introduction.
Full Color Future is a think tank and advocacy group aiming to change the game for digital creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs of color. Their focus? This pull quote from their website puts it best – “Visionaries … changing their lives and our world by leveraging tech and the internet to redefine what is possible.” In a world where input from innovators of color is marginalized, Full Color Future plans to advocate and actively include their expertise and worldview in policy conversations to make the changes we seek truly multicultural ones. Members of the first Full Color 50 class – writer and comedian Jenny Yang, Kweli.tv founder DeShuna Spencer, and FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn – set the tone for an amazing evening of discussion and empowerment. We made new connections with video producers, State Department officials, and documentary filmmakers – and hanging out in Google’s DC headquarters wasn’t half bad, either. (See my android bb below.)
It was an excellent way to start the week, and little did I know it was about to get better.
The launch of Creative Control at Redrocks H Street was two nights later, and proved a powerful counterpart to the first. Where Full Color Future advocates the work, Creative Control provides the legal know-how to protect invaluable IP. A collection of impassioned lawyers, creatives, and visionaries, all dedicated to protecting the creative rights of people of color, made for one powerful launch and one incredible room. The sangria was flowing, the pizza was bubbling, the atmosphere was electric. And the programming! Need help sussing out your legal needs? There were free legal consultations provided for attendees. Even as a walk-in, I met with a wonderful lawyer who taught me the difference between copyright and trademark. Want to join the conversation? Several panels (one moderated by Otessa) on IP law and how to monetize your content occurred throughout the evening with leaders in the field. It’s not often education is so successfully mixed with fraternization, but the takeaway was a strong one: whether in court or in the digital sphere, we are here to protect you.
It’s easy, in the face of this constant negative deluge, to feel injustice is insurmountable. However, in the words of oft and ever-quotable Mr. Rodgers, it helps to look for the helpers. The advocates. The tireless doers. Full Color Future and Creative Control are just such organizations, and ones we look forward to championing.
– A. K. Young