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Meet Lauren deLisa Coleman: An It Girl On A Mission To Change The Tech Game

Ann Brown

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Photo courtesy Lauren deLisa Coleman

Lauren deLisa Coleman is a change maker and entrepreneur who has taken on a mammoth mission -- to innovate the tech world. Some may think innovation is what defines the tech world, but Silicon Valley has yet to innovate in the terms of diversity. Coleman is here to see that that is done.

She’s launched a mission that unites her passion for culture, future trends, and technology that has resulted in a next level approach to social impact. It’s called GameChange and it has its roots in the challenges and triumphs that occurred during which the Columbia University undergrad founded her first business, Punch Media Group.

With Punch, Coleman dove full force into the male-dominated hip-hop music industry as a public relations boss. It was not before long that she expanded the agency into an overall digital branding powerhouse. Part of that expansion included ground-breaking mobile marketing strategies that came to her while she learned to code a bit as an offshoot of being accepted into the Entrepreneurs Development Training Program at UCLA’s top-rated Anderson School of Business. She fast-developed a reputation for not only delivering results but creating innovative concepts, which led Coleman and her team to work on projects from top recording artists — from Snoop Dogg to Ice Cube to Eminem.

After running Punch Media successfully for 12 years, this MTV veteran began focusing on tracking and analyzing the intersection of emerging technology and pop culture trends and behavior which led to a second career including writing books, contributing to top media outlets from Forbes to CNBC.com to professional speaking and cable news appearances as a digi-cultural trend analyst.

But all this led to a great understanding of both challenging trends and great opportunities when it came to women of color, emerging technology, and mass media/pop culture. Knowing what’s at stake with most women of color encountering the same tough challenges and more, Coleman has now decided to do something that will not only make the path of others easier but in doing so, make for a more exciting industry overall. 

Coleman tells NewsBreak more about her push for diversity in tech and GameChange.

Q: Can you explain what GameChange does?

A: GameChange is an edgy, new initiative led by Black women for all women of color that expands the TimesUp conversation to finally include our biggest focus which is that of economic justice and media innovation inclusion.

Since Black women and women of color out-index in everything from media consumption to emerging tech adoption yet do not share nearly enough in equity of the Information Age; we decided to create GameChange as an unprecedented movement and 501c3 non-profit with campaigns and hip programming: social events, demos showcases, leadership educations series, advocacy, and relationship-building opportunities across genders and ethnic backgrounds so that women of color can fully participate as executive leaders and entrepreneurs in what we call the Pop Culture Innovation economy: the intersection of emerging tech (AI, 5G, digital currency) and mass media/entertainment --so that we can help control the flow of information, influence, and perspective in America and around the world.

Q: Why do you feel GameChange is still necessary for 2021?

A: It's still necessary because, as already mentioned: no equity. Women of color drive the revenues of media companies without obtaining senior exec roles nor startup investment from them. Look around, and we have owned no major mainstream media companies since 1619. It's time to change all that. It's massively essential now more than ever because new technologies will accelerate Future Media beyond what anyone can imagine. To create balance, we need all voices involved!

"Look around, and we have owned no major mainstream media companies since 1619. It's time to change all that." -- Lauren deLisa Coleman

Q: You have also launched VaporMedia is the first-ever AI-driven media company. Can you explain VaporMedia's mission?

A: It’s such an exciting endeavor. It will be the first-ever company that leverages proprietary AI algorithms and original video to create the next level of social connection first in the U.S. and then territories around the world.

I am currently cultivating advisors for VaporMedia (some of whom are soon-to-be-announced hip-hop artists and producers). I am also developing the BETA, informing early-interest investors, planning a gritty go-to-market street approach, and identifying users.

I have also gathered a working team, which consists of a former Universal Music Group exec and an AI whiz based in China. This is all I can say right now as we begin to talk with investors.

Q: Why do you feel it is still so hard for women of color to make significant inroads in the worlds of tech and innovation?

A: It's about advocacy. We all live in a world based on referrals, relationships, and trust. Those who have the majority of financial resources have different networks that begat such referrals and, thereby, trust. Women of color operate, often though not exclusively, in different worlds, and it would be the same thing if in reverse. So it is really about being able to develop more relationship-building scenarios. This is one of the reasons why I'm so excited to develop GameChange further. We have some very cool strategies that are complete departures from the standard non-profits out here that will help us to create a movement as much as a support to tip the scale at least 5% from consumption to leadership in the next five years. Just focusing more corporate support financially to develop them!

Q: Do you feel the outrage and protests following the police murder of George Floyd affected any chance in Silicon Valley and corporate America? Why/Why not?

A: It made for more talk. Whether action or not is another story. Numbers have actually slipped on investment. What many don't want to address is this issue is about power at its crux. The mistaken perspective is that if you get ahead and have a voice, then mine might be diminished. This, of course, is untrue. We need to start looking more at the true psycho-social issues around money and investment, not just the stats. We're working on a report now that touches on some of this with the Psychology Department at New York University. I also address this in a hot, forthcoming coming documentary called Fund Black Tech.

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Lauren deLisa Coleman on set being interviewed for upcoming documentary “Fund Black Tech.”(photo courtesy of Lauren deLisa Coleman)

Q: You have pivoted at several points in your career, from media relations in the Hip-Hop music sector to branding to trend forecasting. What would you say prompted your current mission?

A: They are not pivots as much as they are expansions upon a previous foundation. The throughline is always innovation, voice for the voiceless, media/popular culture. It's all just a higher generation of that, each time, and incorporates that which was previous.

Q: What is the next project for GameChange and Vapor Media?

A; Fundraising to carry out the plans, staff, vision, deepening our current partnerships with companies like Goldman Sachs and AT&T, and leveraging hip hop celebrity involvement.

You can sign up for updates as we prepare for our formal launch at www.gamechangeproject.org.

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Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York City, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cape Verde,” a Facebook community. Among the topics she writes about are: business, travel, entertainment, and lifestyles.

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