'Innovate Your Cool:' Tech diversity program joins Art of Cool Festival

DURHAM, N.C. — The second Art of Cool Festival in Durham is expanding this year to include a program about how to achieve more diversity in technology. Called “Innovate Your Cool,” the agenda includes a keynote from Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Raleigh native Wayne Sutton.

The event is co-sponsored by Paradoxos, the effort launched by The Startup co-founder Chris Heivly two years ago to create a Triangle arts and technology festival. The American Underground also is a co-sponsor as is MMI Marketing. “Innovate Your Cool” will be part of the Art of Cool Festival, which is set for the weekend of April 24.

“AOCFEST,” as it is called, drew more than 30 performers, some 40 bands and a crowd of 3,500 people last year with a program of jazz and soul music.

Sutton, a general partner in the venture capital firm Buildup VC, has emerged as a leading spokesperson for diversity in technology. He has made Business Insider’s “The Silicon Valley 100: The Coolest People In Tech Right Now,” “52 Hottest New Stars In Silicon Valley,” “46 Most Important African-Americans In Technology” lists, and Eelan Media’s “Top 100 Most Influential Black People On Digital/Social Media” list

Innovate Your Cool program will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the American Underground @ Main location in downtown Durham.

Other highlights include:

A discussion on musical innovation and the legacy of neo-soul pioneer Roy Ayers, led by Mark Anthony-Neal, professor of African & African American studies at Duke University (Among the panelists is Grammy-winning record producer 9th Wonder)
A music hackathon for high school students
A problem-solving and brainstorming event where science and music collide led by Dr. Chris Emdin, an Associate Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and co-creator of the #HipHopEd social movement
A rooftop patio performance by Kendra Foster, acclaimed vocalist and co-writer of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah
And more:

Role of Innovation on Black Wall Street – Kimberly Moore, North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company
Designing and Developing Startup Communities – Wanona Satcher, Durham Urban Innovation Center
Hacking HIV Stigma with Game Apps – Nkechinyere “NC” Nwoko, Caktus Group, and Kate Muessig, UNC Gillings School of Public Health
Building the Fort: A Metaphor for Starting Anything – Chris Heivly, The Startup Factory
Shooting for Mars: My goal to set foot on the Red Planet – Laurel Kaye, Mars One candidate
The Innovate Your Cool schedule:

10 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Keynote address with Wayne Sutton, pop-up shops open
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Artist demos
11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m. – A discussion about Roy Ayers Legacy on Hip-hop/Jazz/Soul Music with 9th Wonder & Mark Anthony-Neal
1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – science and music hackathon with Dr. Emdin
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Lightning talks (eight 30-minute concurrent talks) sponsored by the Durham Chamber fof Commerce
3 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Live music on rooftop patio with Kendra Foster, digital musician

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