Black Magic: What Black Leaders Learned from Trauma and Triumph
Chad Sanders delivers an honest exploration of Black experiences when moving towards success in white environments. His first job in Silicon Valley quickly taught him that to gain success at work, he would need to code switch and play a certain social game to imitate whiteness.
After changing everything that connected him with his identity as a Black man, he was accepted in the business world, but did not feel like himself. When that weight became too heavy to bear, he changed back his clothes, behavior, speech, and more. Once he did, everything began to turn around for him. Sanders credits this change to what he calls Black Magic, the resilience, ingenuity, and stamina forged in his experience in America as a Black man.
In his talk, Sanders draws on powerful interviews with Black artists, activists, scientists, leaders, and champions, as well as his own story, to share the experience of imitating whiteness to gain success, and demonstrates how important it is to be your true self.
Chad Sanders is a writer based in New York City. Previously, Chad worked at Google, YouTube, and as a tech entrepreneur. Chad’s screenwriting career began when he wrote for ABC Freeform’s Grown-ish in 2018. He has since written and co-written TV series and feature films with collaborators Spike Lee, Morgan Freeman, and Will Packer, including Universal’s One and Done and Peacock’s How To Survive Inglewood. Chad’s op-ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, SLAM Magazine, and Teen Vogue. In addition to his writing, Chad is a director, actor, and musician. Before living in New York, Chad lived in Berlin, London, Oakland, and Atlanta. Chad earned his BA at Morehouse College in 2010. He was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland.