LeVar Burton Brings ‘Reading Rainbow’ Brand Into 21st-Century

Actor talks iPad app, entrepreneurship and education

On Social Media Swag

Although Burton has been on Twitter for five years, the early adopters’ introduction to the platform was through a fake account. After notifying Twitter about the fake account, they returned the handle to Burton who then created an account. Today, Burton’s verified account has amassed 1.7 million followers who actively engage. Unlike other notables, the actor has decided not to monetize off his engagement.  “I made a conscious decision not to monetize my Twitter feed. I use it for research and for empirical data,” said Burton.

On 100 Year Starship Program with NASA

Burton’s involvement with the 100 Year Starship (100YSS) program, a joint project between the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA to extend space travel, came through his connection to the first woman of color to travel in space, Mae Jemison. The goal of the project is to be to work toward achieving space travel within the next 100 years. Burton, who serves on the advisory committee for 100YSS, is happy to be on board, telling Jemison, “Mae, they’ve given you the job of creating the Federation.” (A reference to the United Federation of Plants, which was heavily featured and discussed in Star Trek.)

On What It Takes to Be An Entrepreneur

Make your passion your business, Burton advised. “If what you’re working on is not the thing that causes you to get out of bed, then do something else,” said the digital entrepreneur. “It is hard. This is the hardest thing I have ever done in 36 years of being an adult, and it is the most fun I have ever had.”

“You have to believe unequivocally in your passion. I’m lucky because I’m able to make a business out of what I love.” –Mary Pryor and Mike Street

Follow BlackEnterprise.com’s coverage of 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) at blackenterprise.com/technology.

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