This past weekend we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Andreessen Horowitz. It’s been an amazing journey so far. From watching Ben and Marc working out of my house to where it is now, it’s been wild. For me, witnessing the visionary stories behind the successful companies you read about like Okta, Facebook, Slack, Instagram, Airbnb, Pinterest and so many others, has been inspiring. These are great investments in companies but also great investments in people. My world has expanded exponentially from knowing all of the people who toiled to help the firm become what it is. Thank you dearly, your work has been meaningful and has impacted many. Here’s to the next 10 years and the stories and adventures and successes they will bring!
Trayvon Martin, at the most, seems only to have been guilty of being himself. He needlessly lost his life because he happened to be a Black kid in a hoodie, at the wrong place at the wrong time. This art piece is literally made of Skittles - the item Trayvon purchased at the 7-Eleven the night he was sadly killed at the age of 17 . Thank you to my dear friends Tina Knowles Lawson and Richard Lawson for this powerful work of art. It’s by far one of the most incredible gifts I have ever received. Tina, thank you for your love, generosity and friendship. And thank you @meetzoeblack for your vision as a conscious artist to have created such an important and relevant piece of art.
From Bob Marley to Nas, One Love has existed as a spiritual anthem for freedom and revolution. Shaka Senghor’s one-man show draws energy from this anthem as an intimate exploration of his time in prison, to the life he has built beyond the walls. He unpacks the complexities of chasing freedom, the friendships he forged, and the beauty of fatherhood ... all while hilariously delivering an amazing show. All who attended left inspired.
It’s always wonderful when you are blessed to have time to sit down with like spirits around a dinner table and discuss life. It can bring a semblance of normalcy in a world that can be crazy. What an honor it was to welcome my friend, Dapper Dan and his beautiful family to Silicon Valley. The tribe continues to grow....
Last night Andreessen Horowitz hosted an incredible book party for Daniel R Day’s book: Dapper Dan “Made in Harlem”. Dap (as he is referred to by friends) shared the most fascinating stories about his struggle’s, curiosities, hustle’s, life passions, and the determination it took to make his childhood dreams into the reality of his successful career. Dap is the ultimate entrepreneur and a walking encyclopedia of hustle and game. I was lucky enough to read an early copy of his memoirs and was blown away. The stories of his youth in Harlem painted a picture of true aspiration. From being so poor he would repair his worn out shoes with cardboard, to designing clothes for one of the world’s most storied fashion houses. Dapper Dan, an American Icon, and a shining example of black excellence.🚀
When I was a young girl, nearly all of the women that I knew were black like me, but almost none of the women that I saw in magazines and on T.V. were black. It made me wonder whether the rest of the world could see me. But then I found this magazine called Essence. Created by Ed Lewis, a black entrepreneur in 1967, Essence was filled with amazing images of beautiful, dynamic, and amazing black women. Reading it rejuvenated my spirit and made me feel like I too would be seen. I have been living in Silicon Valley for nearly 30 years. Although I am one of a relatively few black women here, I have many friends and am quite happy living in the region. Still, there are some things about me that people just don’t see and cannot relate to. In short, I am in the minority but I am OK with that. So what happened to me this week was completely unexpected, but maybe it shouldn’t have been. This week I attended the 25th Essence Festival in New Orleans. Essence Festival is a nearly impossible gathering of over 500,000 people making it the largest festival in the U.S. and nearly all of those people are black women. For me, walking through the convention center, going to see Nas and Mary J. Blige and being with all those wonderful, beautiful black women felt like stepping into the light. My whole spirit shine like I was a 10,000 watt light bulb. I literally felt like I could glow in the dark. And there were about 499,999 other black women who felt exactly the same! A . . . MAZE . . . ING!!!! We had no idea that we could feel so good!! We owe it all to the incomparable Michelle Ebanks who kept the festival alive through many years of toil under the Time Inc. umbrella and Rich Dennis who rescued Essence from its fate there. I am so grateful to Michelle, Rich and the entire Essence team for shining a beautiful light on my wonderful sisters. #essencefestival2019 #essencesfestival @nas
The Beautiful Blessing 30 years ago today, I got married on what was to be the most wonderful horrible day of my life. Wonderful, because it was the beginning of my marriage to Ben, which seems to have gotten better every one of those 30 years. Horrible, because the person whom I most wanted to attend -- who promised me she’d make it -- was not there. My sister Barbara did not make it to my wedding, because she died that morning. I was the distant youngest of 5 children. I was the baby, the tag along, the one that had to fight for attention. By the time I could talk, my sisters were hitting adolescence and did not have much interest in a toddler, but Barbara always made time for me. Even though she was 11 years older, she was wonderfully patient as she helped me learn cool dance moves as we watched Soul Train together every Saturday morning. I dreamed of being on the show and Barabara’s love made me feel like that dream was real. She seemed to teach me everything from how to french braid hair to how to sing. She loved singing in the church choir. Barabara eventually became a nurse and I remember how much her patients absolutely loved her. They loved her, because she showed them the same patience and love that she showed me. Nobody was more caring than Barbara and that’s why I knew she would make it to my wedding. Ben and I were just kids at the time and it seemed like everyone on both sides of the family were worried about the marriage. Everyone except Barbara. She was so happy for me. She believed in me. She knew me. That’s why I needed her there. But she never made it. She had been suffering from complications from AIDS and as hard as she tried, she did not make it past the morning. I was devastated when I didn’t see her at the ceremony, but I planned to go visit her right after my wedding day. When I learned that I would never be able to see her again, I was absolutely crushed. Somewhere in the ocean of tears, my mother said to me: “Barbara did not make it to your wedding, but her spirit did.” Over the years, I realized that not only did her spirit make it, but she blessed my marriage. She blessed it with strength, unconditional love and courage.
When I was fourteen years old, I participated in the Sugar Ray Robinson after school program for young underprivileged girls. At the time, I was a somewhat under confident, slightly overweight young woman trying to find my place in the world. If you know me now, it may be impossible to imagine who I was then. When you grow up in an all black community in the United States, your view of the world is often much smaller than it should be. It was difficult to believe in myself, when it seemed like the rest of the country did not. Last night I had the privilege of being honored by Tina and Richard Lawson the founders of Wear Art Can Occur that is the modern day version of Sugar Robinson's program. It provides programs, mentorship, and, most of all, self-confidence for kids like me from the inner city. It was a very emotional evening because I know what the program means to those kids. Unfortunately Sugar Ray Robinson is no longer with us as I would give anything to properly thank him, but I am grateful that I can thank Tina and Richard Lawson. #WhereArtCanOccur #WearableArtGala #waco Thank you @tashiba.glam @svhudson @themajorlook_productions you guys are an incredible glam team.🙏🏾
Exciting news! Ben's book is available for pre-order on Amazon and coming soon! I was lucky enough to read an early copy. The book is a mesmerizing journey through historical and present day examples on how to build, shape, and change culture. My favorite chapter is called Culture and Revoluton: The Story of Toussaint Louverture, which recounts in detail how Toussaint change slave culture to create a ferocious military force that went on to defeat Napoleon Bonaparte and win the only slave revolt in history resulting in a new state. I witnessed years of hard work and research that went into getting it correct and I am happy that it came out so right. Congratulations, @bhorowitz0
Last night a room filled with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, community activists and thought leaders were brought to tears after watching the screening of the Redemption project. We have all done things that we have regretted and this made us come face to face with what it might be like to never be able to forgive ourselves. In Van Jones's newest show, he brings offenders face to face with the people most affected by their violent crimes -- years, sometimes decades after the fact. The film is deftly directed by Jason Cohen making it seem more like fiction than a documentary. The series air s at the same time as the Game Of Thrones, another favorite of mine. I promise you Redemption Project is at GOT level, but feel free to use your DVR. After the screening my brotha Shaka and my friend Van Jones had a powerful conversation about the show. Shaka revealed deep insights about personal transformation and what it takes to overcome your past. He challenged the audience to think of ways we can normalize restorative justice, and create space for healing. I would like to thank the incredible team at Andreessen Horowitz for hosting this amazing event.#andreessenhorowitz #culturalleadershipfund @chrislyons @vanjones68 @shakasenghor
Last night we celebrated Bishop T.D Jakes new book, “Crushing” it was one of the most transformative events I have ever hosted. A few golden gems from Bishop Jakes: “Life is a moving target. The moment you master it, it moves! “It isn’t about bending or breaking – it’s about instilling the structure around you that allows you to flex fully through your growth process - as you need. “ “Life does not always respond in expected ways. You have to be as prepared as you can possibly be for whatever’s to come.” “When you get to a mountain top you realize there are more mountains to climb. Life is transient, ‘it’s all about growth.” “Be purpose driven and not profit driven.” #crushing #tdjakes @tdjenterprises
I was floored by an unexpected surprise and kind gesture when my friend Mpumi reached out and said “ I love your philanthropic work, if you ever need my assistance or help in any way please call me” My response was “I need you...to come with me to the Warriors game tonight!!!!” Then she was floored!!! Photo Cred Squint ToMylou 📸 @mpumi_nobiva
“The journey is never ending. There's always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what's right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.”~Antonio Brown We are so blessed to have such a beautiful spirit in the Bay. Congratulations on your new journey with the @raiders I know you will have a positive impact on the team and Silicon Valley. We are grateful you made the bold move. @ab @raiders @bhorowitz0 @jones4allofit @SamoRob
Today we went to visit a community program I support in partnership with the AJWS, Mama Tingo . Mama Tingo is a network of 33 women confronting gender inequality and gender-based violence for poor women and girls living in their small rural village an hour outside of Santo Domingo. Mama Tingo herself was a Dominican activist, leader, and defender of rural farming communities. She was assassinated fighting the unjust plunder of the local farms. Her death left an indelible mark, but one of hope and resiliency , in the rural Dominican community. As I sat with the young members of Mama Tingo, they were quite curious about why I returned to visit, why I care so much. They shared stories of their young friends having babies at the age of 14 and in some cases two babies by the age 16.They want a life very different than what has been expected of them and were very grateful for the Mama Tingo community center. Without the love and support of the older women who run the center, they would have nowhere to go, nowhere to imagine their hopes and dreams. In the end, I told them that they are not alone, their lives have value, and they are seen and loved. My brother Shaka was so moved by their stories he wrote a poem for them and shared it before we left the site. Beautiful brown babies: Your bright smiles and fiery spirits light up our hearts with hope and purpose Your commitment to making the world a better place inspires us to be more and demand more from ourselves and othersYour beautiful brown skin is a gift and expression of how blessed we are to share space with you You challenge us to grow and stretch beyond our comfort zones You are mighty, divine purposeful and destined to be the doctors, lawyers, engineers and bold women the world needs .We thank you for your sacred gift of birthing a movement that will change the world- our world into a place that will honor, protect, and nurture women, with dignity, respect and unshakable love. My beautiful brown babies continue to fight, love, build and transform the scars of negativity into marks of beauty for the world to see
Today I returned to the Dominican Republic for the first time in six years. While in flight, I found myself reflecting on a conversation I had with a good friend of mine. During our conversation, she asked me why I didn’t just make a donation, and send someone else to see how things were progressing. It was a great question rooted in her concern for my safety and happiness. It gave me pause for reflection and allowed me to think deeper about my purpose. I replied after awhile and explained my why. When I arrived in the DR six years ago I had no intention of just visiting to inspect our philanthropic investments. My primary purpose then as it is now, was to meet the people who were impacted by the new inhumane laws that were implemented by the government of the DR. I wanted to understand who they were, see the world through their eyes, tell their story and, most important of all, remember them. When my husband Ben and I travelled to the Dominican Republic all those years ago, we had no clue what we were about to encounter. To our surprise one week prior to our arrival, the government decided to erase over 250,000 people from Dominican society. Women and men living in the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent,were stripped of their citizenship and no longer had rights to schooling, healthcare or other government services. Many of these Haitian families were natives and had been living there for generations and only spoke Spanish (not the native languages of Haiti - French and Creole). Fortunately the DR is full of compassionate, thoughtful and courageous leaders. Their resilience inspired me to return and bring along with me a group of friends and world changers. So, I return today, with several compassionate travelers, who have followed the lives of these noble people though my stories. Not only did I want my friends to bear witness to what I experienced,I want my Haitian friends, the LGBT community and at risk young girls to know I did not forget. I want to check on them and see how they are doing . I want to hear their stories and get their updates. Most importantly, I want to let them know that they are not alone and they are loved.
I had the pleasure of watching Richard Lawson's new production of No Place to be Somebody, which received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The award was significant in that writer Charles Gordone became the first African American playwright to receive a Pulitzer. The new version was beautifully acted and directed. It was also eerily familiar. The issues that Gordone's characters faced were so similar to today's issues that the play could have been written in 2019. It made me think that, although we have come a long way in some respects, we still are subject to the same psychological traps of the 70s. Congratulations to Richard Lawson for producing a great play that makes us all think.
As the celebration of black history month comes to an end, I continue to be in awe of our culture, and its everlasting impact in the world. We are ALL influenced by black excellence. Thank you to everyone who attended my special screening of the new documentary “A Fresh Guide to Florence with Fab 5 Freddy,” in celebration of Black History / Black Passover. The film features beloved hip hop pioneer and artist Fab 5 Freddy; his colorful commentary and swag turned the event out!!! People were blown away by his deep research examining race and culture in 15th and 16th century Italy, particularly the extraordinary and ground-breaking representations of Africans in Renaissance art. Fab upends assumptions about the Renaissance era and brings a sharp-edged social critique to a time and place when some of the most fabulous art in history was being made, and before the “science of race” had constructed its poisonous ideology of racial hierarchy. I am grateful for Fab's knowledge; it’s a reminder that we are experiencing a new renaissance fueled by creatives, thinkers, activists and philanthropists. I’m grateful to play a small role in this movement.
I spent a great day in LA with my brother Shaka Senghor who is the Executive Director of the ARC (Anti Recidivism Coalition). I could not be more proud of his dedication and life’s work. ARC’s mission is to help formerly incarcerated women and men reestablish themselves in society. They provide housing to their members, which we visited, they offer career training, mental health treatment and do groundbreaking policy work in California. It’s a mission that’s in alignment with my passion and life’s work of helping people live their best lives. It’s an honor to support the work of ARC through a partnership that I believe will make the world a better place, make communities safer and give dignity to the members who just want a second chance at life. The greatest gift we can give ourselves and others is the gift of being present!
”Time is free, but its priceless You can't own it, but you can use it You can't keep it, but you can spend it, Once you've lost it, you can never get it back.” In the end, Time is our most valuable commodity. Thank you for all for taking the time to acknowledge my birthday. I feel truly blessed to have so many beautiful people in my life. I have friends I consider family and family members who are my best friends. ***Side note: Many of you liked my dress.I purchased it several years ago at the Livermore outlet it cost 98 dollars!!! ⏰🙏🏽🖤👠💰😜
Yesterday, I received the most wonderful birthday gift: my friend Alice Johnson and her lovely sisters Dolores and Patricia came to my home for an extended visit. She was recently pardoned by President Trump after being sentenced to life in prison. She served 22 years of that -- missing every birthday, every Christmas, and every moment with her family who adores her. But prison did not break Alice’s spirit, it enhanced it. Spending time with her was like being freed myself. I am so grateful.
53 doing the Nitty-gritty having dinner in New York City listening to my favorite song called the Do Wa Diddy. Life is good and good is life. Sometimes it's rough, but the good is good enough.
Every February I have the pleasure of hosting a Black History Month celebration. I model it after the Jewish holiday of Passover, a time where people remember their past and share stories about how they became free. This is our Passover, this is our Seder. And this year, we have a very special film by Fab 5 Freddy that will take us back to the Renaissance, before race became a dramatic dividing line to where black people appeared in the greatest works of art in history. They were not slaves, but land owners, kings and nobles. Who were they? Why were they in those paintings? What did they do to pave the way for us? My dear friend Fab 5 Freddy will reveal that in this amazing film and anything that he doesn't reveal, he will answer afterwards as he has graciously come out to help us understand this important history. 🙌🏾 Thank you all for coming. Happy Black History! Happy Pesach! Glide SF 330 Ellis Street Sunday, February 24th 1:30 to 3:30 #glidesf
I had the honor of judging the East Palo Alto Boys and Girls Club college scholarship contest: Youth of the Year. We had to pick a winner, but this group of brilliant courageous young people are all winners. I look forward to following their stories as they change the world for the better. #boysandgirlsclub Hair @charlieloveshair Makeup @neek__on__fleek
We had a great time hosting the Essence team in Silicon Valley to plan the future. We up to something . . . Ever since I was a little girl, Essence was special to me, because it gave me a voice. That’s why I am so excited that after a decade of purgatory in Time Inc., Essence is once again independent and black owned. Even more exciting, under the leadership of Richelieu Dennis and Michelle Ebanks they are helping the new generations of all women find their voice.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where I woke up Christmas morning and saw toys. I know that's not the case with all children. I love being a part of making sure kids experience that joy. Big up to all the volunteers who show up and shower love to a community of families who otherwise would only know The Grinch.
25 years ago on Christmas Day, I had visions of sugar plum fairies, but I had an angel instead. 😇
”Me and Tanya go back like The Grimace, and Mickey D shakes, and we go black like February and TD Jakes.” #gucci Happy Birthday Dear Friend @itstanyatime 🎉
Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.~Robert Frost #gucci
”A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.” ~ Winnie The Pooh Last night I had the privilege of honoring my dear friend Stephanie Burrell Hammer for her outstanding work as a Philanthropist and ordained minister, at the Glide Holiday Gala 2018🎉 We enjoyed the incredible performances of Chloe Arnold’s, Syncopated Ladies, India Arie, Lisa Fischer, The Glide ensemble featuring Vernon Bush. Happy Holidays to you all, may all the blessing that this season brings will shower your hearts with much love, peace, joy, laughter, and happiness. 🖤 Thank you Stacey Bendet alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet for my Keith Harring outfit 🌷🌷🌷🌷
“In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” ~ Abraham Lincoln Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours! @dapperdanharlem
“My wildest dreams are when I’m wide awake.” ~Kevin Durant Go Warriors!!! #warriors #gucci Thank you @grisel_roman for the fresh beat 💄
”According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy.” — Jerry Seinfeld *For the first time in a while, I was happy delivering the eulogy. 😃 Thank you, Ben Horowitz, for your encouragement 🙏🏾
Fabrics, color, and the design is a form of self-expression — you give people small insights about who you are in what you wear. Thank you, Dapper Dan and Fab 5 Freddie for your bold movements in propelling the culture. 🖤 @dapperdanharlem @jelaniday @fab5freddy @bhorowitz0 @gucci #gucci
The rumors are true!!!! The Beyonce JayZ concert was an epic blockbuster movie produced in real time. Both Beyonce and Jay were on top of their game. They completely blew the minds of a standing room only crowd at Levi Stadium which holds over 75k people. What an incredible experience! Thank you Steve Stoute and Steve Pamon for your kindness and generosity. And the pre-party was a lot of fun too!🎉🎉🎉
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer Happy Birthday my dear friend Liz! Thank you for your friendship🖤
“The message is going to be the same. It’s very simple.We’re either going to turn to each other or on each other.” ~Van Jones What an incredible evening celebrating my dear friend, Van Jones and his beautiful twin sister 50th birthday last night.
"Happiness isn't what you find at the end of the road. It's right here. Right now." Thank you @shantanunikhil for my funky fresh fly flava! Thank you @tamaramellon my kicks are on fleek! Thank you @hair_kritic_trenee and @capristylist ”my life isn't perfect but my hair is” Thank you @grisel_roman for the Awesome Beat Face 🖤🖤🖤 #jaswannamarryyou Ultimate Indian Wedding 2018 🙌🏾
Congratulations Sujay and Eleni!!! You have brought so much happiness to the world, I am so thrilled for you! #jaswannamarryyou
We have two September birthdays in my family, Nana and Jules. They are both such incredible blessings to us. Although their actual birthdays are not until mid-September, we started celebrating Jules’ and Nana’s September FIRST. 🙌🏾 Personally, I just think Virgos are very special people.🖤🖤🖤
“Nobody likes hard times, but it’s the unpleasant experiences that are often the catalysts to build the character required for our destiny” ~Bishop T.D Jakes It was an honor to meet Bishop Jakes at lunch today. His wisdom is inspiring. Bishop T.D Jakes Ministries
“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start.” ~Anthony Bourdain
Kris is one of my favorite entrepreneurs. She owns and operates a very successful daycare and co-owns and operates this awesome restaurant, KC’s BBQ in Berekely Ca. She is our modern, local Madame CJ Walker.