Black History Month Speakers

Common

Actor and Multi-Grammy Award Winning Music Artist

Common         With his Multi-Grammy Award winning music career and his continued work in film, Common has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought after leading men. He has been seen on the silver screen in films such as SMOKIN ACES, AMERICAN GANGSTER, WANTED, TERMINATOR SALVATION and in DATE NIGHT and JUST WRIGHT. Prior to acting, COMMON rose to prominence as one of hip-hops most poetic and respected lyricists having recorded over e...


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Hill Harper          Hill is an award winning actor, bestselling author and philanthropist. Hill is the author of three New York Times bestsellers: Letters to a Young Brother, Letters to a Young Sister, and The Conversation. Letters to a Young Brother was named “Best Book for Young Adults” by the American Library Association in 2007.Hill currently stars on the hit television drama CSI:NY as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes. CSI is the most successfu...


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Judy A. Smith         Judy is the Founder and President of Smith & Co, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Over the last 25 years, Ms. Smith has brought her unique combination of communication skills, media savvy, legal and political acumen to clients facing a wide array of issues and challenges throughout the United States and abroad. Ms. Smith honed her skills through he...


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Daymond John

Founder of the Iconic Brand “For Us By Us” (FUBU) & Co-Star of the Hit Show, Shark Tank

Daymond John          A young entrepreneur, industry pioneer, highly regarded marketing expert and a man who has surpassed new heights of commercial and financial success are just a few ways people have described Daymond John. Over the last 20 years, Daymond John (The Shark) has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation to a highly sought after branding expert, author, consultant, and as a speaker in busin...


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Roland S. Martin          Roland is a nationally award-winning and multifaceted journalist.   A nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate  and the author of Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith, and Speak, Brother! A Black Man’s View of America. He also serves as executive editor of the Chicago Defender, the nation’s largest Black daily newspaper.   Mr. Martin is a commentator for TV One Cable Netwo...


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Judge Karen Mills-Francis         Since the fall of 2008, Judge Karen has graced the airwaves as one of TVs most recognizable court show judges. She has a colorful and engaging style that is as distinctive as her velvet robe, vintage brooches , and her bright blonde hair. As quick to aid the helpless as she is to dismiss the fool hardy, Judge Karen confidently dishes out justice to a national television audience in her show, “Supreme Ju...


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Dr. Boyce Watkins         Dr. Boyce is one of the most highly sought after African-American scholars in the world. Specializing in financial psychology, educational motivation, and black social commentary, Dr. Watkins has presented his message to millions, making regular appearances on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, ABC News, BET, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Black Enterprise Magazine and many more national media outlets. Brilliant, arti...


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Donna Brazile         Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee, and former interim National Chair of the Democratic National Committee as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute.Aside from working for the full recovery of her be...


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Ryan Mack

Financial Guru and Founder of Optimum Capital Management, LLC

Ryan Mack         PresidentThe Optimum Capital Management, Inc.Mr. Mack has a life mission to build and develop a durable financial empire geared towards educating his community and beyond.Ryan Mack is graduated from the University of Michigan Business School (ranked number one in the country) with a concentration in Finance. His career in equity markets began in Detroit, Michigan as a stock trader and later as a trader for the largest ...


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John Marshall

John Marshall, son of Thurgood Marshall, our nation’s first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, specializes in motivational speeches dealing with his father’s role in our nation’s civil rights movement and his place in American History.

John W. Marshall         John is the younger of two sons of Thurgood Marshall, the lead attorney in Brown v Board of Education, and our nation’s first African-American Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. John specializes in motivational speeches dealing with his father’s role in our nation’s civil rights movement and his place in American history. He has also been the featured speaker for numerous law enforcement and f...


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Sophia A. Nelson         Sophia is "redefining" the rules for 21st Century living and success. The award-winning author, journalist, political commentator and former House of Representatives committee counsel is working to change the game for a new generation of Americans in academia, the workplace, interpersonal relationships, and overall persona development.     Prior to becoming a freelance journalist and former White House correspon...


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Lynn Whitfield         Growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lynn Whitfield first watched the likes of Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Bette Davis in “All About Eve” from her grandmother’s lap. She loved classic movies and with child-like confidence, she could see no reason she could not become an actress and some day play those same types of roles. Over the course of nearly three decades, the talent of the little girl wh...


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Terrence Jenkins         Terrence J is a young man with a master plan. From apprenticing with NASCAR® to working on radio and throwing some of the best social gatherings around, Terrence J has been preparing himself for superstardom and making sure that his life is the American Dream, blasted out of the box. Now, he’s using his hosting spot on BET®’s 106 and Park, the hottest music program in the world (airing in the US, Japan and the U...


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Tai Beauchamp

Sought after Media Veteran, Social Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Spelman Alumnus who lives her life for others.

Tai Beauchamp         A media industry veteran and social entrepreneur, Tai has a rare and innate ability to connect with audiences across demographics. It was as a magazine editor that Ms. Beauchamp learned the profound power of media and how to use it to motivate and inspire millions around the world. Becoming a humanitarian taught her the most valuable lesson: “young women and the world-at-large want to be inspired and that inspirati...


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Ed Gordon          Hard hitting, inspiring, intelligent, honest, and direct: these are some of the words used to describe the style and approach of Emmy-award winning broadcaster, Ed Gordon.         Known for his stellar interaction with newsmakers from the worlds of politics, entertainment, and sports, his name is synonymous with the “big” interview. Gordon’s knack for landing exclusives and his no-nonsense style make him one of the t...


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Dr. George Fraser

Networking Guru

Dr. George C. Fraser         George is Chairman and CEO of FraserNet, Inc., a company he founded some 20 years ago with the vision to lead a global networking movement that brings together diverse human resources to increase opportunities for people of African descent. He is considered by many to be a new voice for African Americans and one of the foremost authorities on economic development, networking and building effective relationsh...


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Ilyasah Shabazz

Daughter of Malcolm X and Author of Growing Up X

Ilyasah shabazz         ILYASAH is an activist, author, and motivational speaker. As a world traveler, she has explored religious and historical sites in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As a citizen of the world, ILYASAH connects and activates networks and resources to create measurably positive outcomes. ILYASAH has participated in interfaith dialogue study programs under Rabbi Nancy Kreimer and Dr. Aziza Al Hibri. She served as ...


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Wendy Raquel Robinson

Actress, Producer, Director, and Entrepreneur.

Wendy Raquel Robinson         Audiences know Wendy as the sexy and feisty sports manager ‘Tasha Mack’ on BET’s #1 rated scripted series, The Game. This groundbreaking role has earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination for “Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series” and three nominations for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.” With another record-breaking premiere and continued rating success, “The Game” has shown its stay...


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Dr. Julianne Malveaux         Recognized for her provocative, progressive and insightful observations, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist, author and commentator, is the President and CEO of Last Word Productions, Inc, a multimedia production company. Described by Dr. Cornel West as “the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country”, Dr. Malveaux’s contributions to the public dialogue on issues such as race, culture, gender, and their ec...


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Dr. Marc Lamont Hill         Dr. Marc is one of the leading hip-hop generation intellectuals in the country. His work, which covers topics such as hip-hop culture, politics, sexuality, education and religion, has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, books, and anthologies. Dr. Hill has lectured widely and provides regular commentary for media outlets like NPR, Washington Post, Essence Magazine, and New York Times and has been a reg...


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Nikki Giovanni

World-renowned poet and thought leader on black social commentary

Nikki Giovanni         Nikki is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. Over the past thirty years, her outspokenness, in her writing and in lectures, has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely-read American poets, she prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.”Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil righ...


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Sheryl Lee Ralph

TONY Award Nominee • Independent Spirit Award Winner • Honored AIDS Activist • American Heart/Stroke Association Ambassador • Amazon Best-Selling Author

Sheryl Lee Ralph         Original DREAMGIRL, Sheryl Lee Ralph is a multifaceted jewel of a woman who sparkles in every area of her life. An acclaimed show business “pro”, her award winning body of work in film, television and the Broadway stage includes originating and creating the role of Deena Jones on Broadway in the landmark musical Dreamgirls, which earned her a Tony Award Nomination and a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Actre...


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Al Duncan         Al is an award-winning youth advocate, publisher, and internationally recognized authority on soft skills who travels the world "Equipping Young Minds For Exceptional Performance.™" As the leading motivational speaker for at-risk youth and troubled young people, Al has delivered Duncan Nuggets®, live and in-person, to over 1 million young people around the world.    He is the owner of three successful business and he...


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Jordan Coleman

2011 Global Teen Leader, actor, author and education activist impacting youth one story and one community at a time.

Jordan Coleman         Jordan is a young man on a mission. At 17-years-old, he's a filmmaker, actor, author, education activist, honor roll student and athlete. He was recently named one the 25 Most Influential People in Our Children's Lives by Children's Health magazine. Jordan won the 2011 Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival HBO Best Feature Film competition with his film Payin’ The Price, a cautionary tale about teen dat...


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