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CALL & RESPONSE: Black Tech & Innovation

Guests include Van Lathan, Morgan DeBaun & Baratunde Thurston.

Today’s discussion will cover Black Tech & Innovation. With special guests Baratunde Thurston (Writer, Activist, Comedian, and Commentator), Van Lathan (Reporter & Podcast Host “Higher Learning” on The Ringer), and Morgan DeBaun (CEO & Founder Blavity Inc.). Hosted by Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle.


  • Los Angeles Unified School District voted down getting rid of police in schools (Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle)
  • Today would have been Tamir Rice’s 18th birthday (Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle)
  • Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle discuss the issues with two-party political system
  • Baratunde Thurston talks about growing up in a Black family with a computer and how access to a computer made him a huge teach resource in the Black community, gave him more access to information, but didn’t help his dating life
  • The current need for us to apply technology to things that affect Black livelihood (public transportation, healthcare, etc) (Baratunde Thurston)
  • How protestors used a database to find out individual police offers complaints & announced those violations at a protest
  • How COVID-19 is forcing people to use social media for information vs. aesthetics & how the pandemic has brought us to the collective realization that work/life balance is impossible unless we innovate (Baratunde Thurston)
  • How Baratunde Thurston’s sister, Belinda Thurston, runs Just B Yoga, a donation-based Yoga Studio in Michigan that has made yoga affordable, accessible, and more body positive
  • Why calling out “Karen” and #LivingWhileBlack videos are a sign of progress (Baratunde Thurston)
  • Baratunde Thurston’s new podcast, “We’re Having A Moment” which focuses and documenting how COVID and George Floyd’s murder is impacting and changing America
  • The censorship and misinformation within American History, how cell phone videos are unbiasedly documenting present-day injustices
  • The power of the people vs. our current democracy (Baratunde Thurston)
  • Van Lathn opens up about how quarantine initially drove him to a nervous breakdown & how not starting his day with technology, talking walks, and making a point to consume positive content helped him
  • Why Van Lathan examines praises “The Wire” in his podcast “The Red Pill” for its honest examination of systems, gangster capitalism, exploitation of the poor & the dwindling of the middle class
  • The problems Van Lathan encountered while working at TMZ
  • How defunding the police would free up taxpayer money to better our communities (Van Lathan)
  • CEO & Fonder of Blavity Inc. Morgan DeBaun explains how the company is leveraging the power capitalism to empower the Black community and Black initiatives
  • How forming “the Black lunch table” as school made Morgan DeBaun feel more grounded and connected to other Black classmates and how that echos in how Blavity Inc. is connecting, empowering & enriching the Black community
  • How Morgan DeBaun’s experience in Silicon Valley motivated the origins of Blavity (“Black Gravity”) and , the importance of carving out space for Black ownership in the tech industry
  • The AfroTech Conference & how it is connecting Black people in the tech industry (Morgan DeBaun’s)
  • The future of Blavity and how young the advice that she passes down to younger people (Morgan DeBaun)
  • How business scale is possible without folding to corporate greed and changing the company’s initiative (Morgan DeBaun)



Baratunde Thurston explains why #Karen and #LivingWhileBlack videos are a sign of progress

Why Van Lathan examines “The Wire” in his podcast and the problems he saw while working at TMZ

Morgan DeBaun explains why scale is possible without corporate greed


Baratunde Thurston ? Writer, Activist, Comedian & Commentator

Instagram: @baratunde

Twitter: @baratunde

Facebook: @baratunde

Van Lathan ? Reporter & Podcast Host “Higher Learning” on The Ringer

Instagram: @vanlathan

Twitter: @VanLathan

Morgan DeBaun ? CEO & Founder Blavity Inc.

Instagram: @morgandebaun

Twitter: @MorganDeBaun


Call & Response is a new show designed to respond to the changes and activism of our time. Each day, Baron and Mike will invite their favorite Black creators — activists, comedians, musicians, actors, visual artists, and more — to riff on current events, discuss the present momentum, and speak about their work and struggles.