A quick (and admittedly tardy) look back on PitchBlack 5

It’s been more than a week. I’m still processing. To be honest. It was the biggest PitchBlack I’d had the opportunity to attend. It had the most people pitching. It was sold out. And for all of the energy and love I’d felt at previous PitchBlacks, this one just seemed to be something special. I’m really really glad I got the chance to attend. But it’s taken me a while to take it all in.

Plus it was Sneaker Week. So the footwear was on display. And on point.

All told, thirteen folks shared stories. Thirteen concepts pitched by black founders. Thirteen ideas with potential. And merit. And thirteen folks looking to the crowd to give them feedback.

Here’s who pitched what:

  • Steven Holt was frustrated by his experience after foot surgery and that motivated him to patent a new shower shoe
  • Quaz Amir wanted to have a space to bring folks together so he created The Collab
  • Perez Westbrooks created Forever Hungry, a brand that reflects his drive and desire, which he wants to formalize in a physical space
  • Rob Lewis is pursuing a clothing line with Helpful Guides
  • Renee Allums wants #TAG to track the originators of creative content, so that they can get the credit they deserve
  • Joy Alise Davis shared the concept for Saint Audre, a tea house and social club for the black community
  • Jonathan Riley is drawing on his own experience to build Blaq Athlete, a series of events and a supportive community for black athletes
  • Haben Woldu introduced Lucee, an ecommerce platform designed to import more ethical products from African makers
  • Donovan Smith wanted to share his insights and opinions through Ignorant Reflections Media (and honestly, he’s welcome to a regular column here, whenever he wants)
  • RaShunda Brooks was supporting Young Gifted Black (YGB) folks with programming and space
  • Meron Medhanie wants to help folks celebrate the perceived flaws that make us unique and beautiful with Hide the new growth
  • Tim Blanchard proposed we gain a better understanding of vintage clothes, by helping reveal each garment’s Legacy
  • Ian Williams wants to bring youth to the Oregon’s most iconic mountain with Hood to Hood

And when all was said and done, the crowd chose winners. But that wasn’t really the point. The point was getting all of these stories out there. In a room full of folks who wanted every single concept to become a reality.

I can’t wait to see where these ideas go from here.

For more information, see Malia Spencer’s coverage of PitchBlack.