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GREENWOOD Dist.–Black Tech Street’s ambitious goal to create 1,000 Black cyber employees in the city of Tulsa by 2030 moves closer to reality as Microsoft joins the organization to create a “digital transformation” for Black Wall Street.

A packed crowd filled the atrium of the Greenwood Cultural Center on Monday as Tyrance Billingsley II, founder of Black Tech Street and a son of Greenwood, made the historic announcement.

“I’m here today to announce the first of many such alliances,” Billingsley said. What began as a partnership on a minor training initiative with Microsoft has morphed into a long-term alliance to make Tulsa a national tech hub and to restore generational wealth to a community ransacked by white supremacy since 1921.

Tyrance Billingsley II, founder of Black Tech Street, announces an historic partnership with Microsoft inside Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood Cultural Center on Monday, July 31, 2023. (Photo by Mike Creef)

“The goal is to raise the capacity of the Tulsa ecosystem as it relates to producing, attracting and retaining Black cyber talent,” Billingsley said.

He founded Black Tech Street to rebirth Black Wall Street as a hub for cyber and technology. Now, the organization is the Microsoft TechSpark Fellow for the state of Oklahoma.

Black Tech Street taps Microsoft for transformational partnership

In recent years, the tech industry has emerged as the fastest way to build generational wealth. The national average salary for a cybersecurity employee is more than double the median household income of a Black Tulsan.

A report from InTulsa shows only six percent of Tulsa’s tech workforce is Black, while the national average is 14%. To bring Tulsa in parity with the rest of the nation, InTulsa found it would require creating 1,000 new Black tech employees by the year 2030.

In a city that has massacred, redlined, and gentrified Historic Greenwood District, home to the original Black Wall Street, Billingsley’s Black Tech Street seeks to reimagine innovative ways to rebuild generational wealth in the new tech ecosystem.


“Without his vision, work, persistence, none of us would be standing here,” Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Security Business Development Ann Johnson said at Monday’s press conference.

Growing up in Utah, Johnson said she never learned about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in school. As an adult at one of the largest tech companies in the world, Johnson had hope that racial justice would prevail during the multicultural, mass uprisings after the police lynching of George Floyd.

Yet her older sister, who lived through the civil rights era of the 1960s, warned her that what would come next would be another racial backlash.

“And that’s where we’re at right now,” Johnson said. “We have work to do as a community, and that is why Microsoft is always proud to support these efforts.” 

Black Tech Street puts Tulsa on the map

Tulsa is currently experiencing a boom in tech entrepreneurs moving to the city, especially Black founders like Don Ward of Laundris. The company recently moved its headquarters from Austin, TX to Tulsa, and many more are joining it.

microsoft black tech street
Don Ward is CEO of Laundris, a B2B software platform that streamlines inventory management using a patented artificial intelligence system. (Don Ward / Laundris)

For his part, Tyrance Billingsley hasn’t been asleep at the wheel. Igniting the engine of opportunity, the Greenwood native’s ambitious journey has caught the attention of the White House.

The Biden-Harris administration tapped Black Tech Street to join them for a national testing of AI technology to ensure equitability in the industry. Def Con 31 takes place August 10-13 in Las Vegas.

Furthermore, Black Tech Street has created a strategic tool known as the Innovative Ambition Matrix (IAM) to streamline “community efforts and tech-focused investments in a balanced ratio that leads to greater returns and “systematized innovation.”

Before the historic partnership with Microsoft, District 1 City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper remembers the moment three years ago when Billingsley walked into her office with a proposal to reimagine the future of Black Wall Street.

“I saw a young Black man with a passion. He has done so much. I’m so proud of him to see his dream come true. It’s a blessing,” Hall-Harper said during Monday’s press conference.

Tulsa Deputy Mayor Cassia Carr also gave Billingsley his flowers and pledged to remain a partner.

“On behalf of the city, we are completely in step with you. We want to do whatever we can do to make this work,” Deputy Mayor Carr said.

With his parents and girlfriend in the front row watching the historic announcement of the Microsoft partnership, Billingsley committed to moving at the pace of the community.

“We commit to doing this work with Greenwood, not for Greenwood,” he said, “to show the nation that Black Wall Street will be just as powerful of an economic leader for the next century as it was for the last.”

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

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