Karen Okonkwo is a social entrepreneur who owns various businesses in the party planning and online business sector. Her expertise includes marketing and business development. Joshua Kissi is a photographer and creative who cofounded the popular creative agency, Street Etiquette, which is based out of New York. Together, they recently launched a diverse stock photography business called TONL that solves the absence/misrepresentation of imagery of people from different ethnic backgrounds.
How do you define tech?
Tech is the interactive, scientific space connected through phones, computers and other technical devices.
What is your digital space claim to fame?
TONL, our diverse stock photography business, is our digital space claim to fame. It has become a digital-media savior for those looking to incorporate imagery of people from different ethnic backgrounds doing ordinary things.
The revolution will not be televised. It goes live on which social media/digital platform—and why?
Twitter. There is nothing like it! You have the ability to connect directly with so many people with a few characters that resonate. Pop culture can be made or broken through a tweet that goes viral—because that’s the power of Twitter. Thoughtful discussions and in-your-face news and realness are always at your fingertips.
Is the digital landscape the new civil rights frontier?
Absolutely! Words and images are powerful. They carry a weight like none other, especially considering that nearly a third of the world is on Facebook alone. That means that your shared words and images can go the distance. Now, we can hear about racial injustice from Portland, Oregon to Mobile, Alabama. Now we can stream a march or rally demanding justice. In this digital age, we are holding people accountable for their racism and discrimination.
From memes to gifs, why is imagery so powerful on our digital landscape?
Even before the digital landscape, images have held power. They’re a stamp and sign of the times. We used to only see them in physical newspapers and magazines, but now they’re posted on millions of different platforms where they are put on display, viewed and shared by billions. From blogs to online news publications, to every day company sites, and of course, social media channels, images are constantly circulating and therefore constantly inciting dialogue. With billions of people online, that dialogue is amplified—and that is where the real change occurs.