African-American history is rich with inspirational accounts of countless individuals that have left their mark on the world. Black History Month highlights the achievements, challenges, and diverse experiences of African Americans, and celebrates their pivotal roles in our nation’s history and its future.
With Black History Month just a few months away, it’s essential to start planning to secure the right speaker for your upcoming campus celebration. We have assembled a great list of highly-accomplished speakers, activists, authors, and leaders for you to consider bringing to your next event or meeting stage.
Angela Davis: Feminist & Writer
Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. Her work as an educator—both at the university level and in the larger public sphere—has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.
Metro Boomin: Producer & Go-To Collaborator for Rap Stars like Future, Wiz Khalifa and Migos
Metro Boomin has been one of the most in-demand producers in hip-hop since he was 19 years old. Working with the likes of Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Future, Migos, Young Thug, and more, there is nobody more trusted by the hip-hop elite. But it doesn’t stop there. Metro wants to share his story and message of his life beyond the beat. As CEO of his own label and creator of his own clothing line, Metro can speak with students about his rise as an entrepreneur.
Evelyn from the Internets: YouTube Star
YouTube personality who is known for her Evelyn From The Internets channel. She has earned massive popularity there for her personal vlogging, including lifestyle entries, haircare and beauty tutorials, and travelogues.
Jouelzy: Writer, Author, Influencer
With over 10 million views, Jouelzy curates weekly discussions to encourage women of color as they define their own success stories, emboldening them to push back against harmful social norms. Jouelzy provide a safe space for women of color to address complex cultural issues faced on a daily basis.
Jamira Burley: Director of Social Impact North America for Adidas and founder of IAMHERETO
Jamira Burley is the Director of Social Impact North America for Adidas and founder of IAMHERETO, working at the intersection of community, impact investments, and philanthropy
Daymond John: Keynote Speaker: “Shark Tank” Investor; Founder & CEO of FUBU; Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship
An entrepreneur in every sense of the word, Daymond John has come a long way from taking out a $100,000 mortgage on his mother’s house and moving his operation into the basement. John is CEO and Founder of FUBU, a much-celebrated global lifestyle brand, and a pioneer in the fashion industry with over $6 billion in product sales.
Mikki Kendall: Diversity Speaker, Writer, Consultant and Feminist
Mikki Kendall is a writer, diversity consultant, and occasional feminist who talks a lot about intersectionality, policing, gender, sexual assault, and other current events. Her essays can be found at TIME, the New York Times, The Guardian, the Washington Post, Ebony, Essence, Salon, The Boston Globe, NBC, Bustle, Islamic Monthly, and a host of other sites. Her media appearances include BBC, NPR, the Daily Show, PBS, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, WVON, WBEZ, and Showtime. She has discussed race, feminism, education, food politics, police violence, tech, and pop culture at institutions and universities across the country.
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: Public Intellectual & Best-Selling Author
Named one of the 150 most powerful African Americans by Ebony magazine, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, an American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner, “is reshaping what it means to be a public intellectual by becoming the most visible black academic of his time.”
Killer Mike: Keynote Speaker: Hip-Hop Artist & Activist Focused on Social Inequality, Police Brutality and Systemic Racism
Michael Render aka Killer Mike – a nickname he received for ‘killing the microphone’ – is a Grammy award-winning rapper and actor who is making waves in the political arena for his gripping commentary on ongoing social issues confronting America. Media outlets such as CNN, Huffington Post, FOX Business News, and Pitchfork are catching on to his ability to connect with audiences through his intelligent, thoughtful discussion.
Gene Demby: Co-host/Correspondent, NPR’s Code Switch
Gene Demby is the co-host and correspondent for NPR’s Code Switch team. Before coming to NPR, he served as the managing editor for Huffington Post’s BlackVoices following its launch. He later covered politics. Prior to that role he spent six years in various positions at The New York Times where he started PostBourgie, a blog about race, culture, politics and media.
John Imah: Entrepreneur, Tech Advisor, Gaming & Brand Strategy Expert
John Imah is the Head of Brand & Games Partnerships at Snap Inc. John has led massive teams at scale and has been employed at some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, Amazon, and Twitch, where he worked with top brands, agencies, celebrities, and influencers. John currently serves as an executive at Snapchat, leading overseeing Snapchat’s Gaming and Brand strategy, partnerships, and business development. He is also a tech advisor for start-ups and many of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities, such as Kevin Hart, Martin Lawrence, The Boondocks’ creator Aaron McGruder, and many more.
Ruth E. Carter: African-American Academy Award-Winning Costume Designer
Ruth E. Carter’s unparalleled ability to develop an authentic story through costume and character has made her one of the most sought-after and renowned costume designers today.
Dr. François Clemmon: Singer, Actor, Playwright & Lecturer; Best Known as Officer Clemmons on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”
François Clemmons is well known for his twenty-five-year career on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but that is just part of his rich and varied life as an artist.
Mike Africa Jr.: Hip Hop Artist, Writer, Member of MOVE who was born in prison
Mike Africa, Jr. is a member of The MOVE Organization. He is a conscious hip hop artist and a motivational resilience speaker. He pushes his revolutionary message with his dynamic stage performances mixing music with speeches.
Aisha Harris: Co-Host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour
Aisha is a co-host and reporter for the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. She previously covered the arts as a critic, editor, and podcaster for The New York Times and Slate Magazine. Her subjects have included film and TV criticism, artist interviews, and cultural reporting/essays, and she has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs as a cultural commentator. She earned her bachelor’s degree in theatre from Northwestern University and her master’s degree in cinema studies from New York University.
Dr. Jon Paul Higgins: Writer & Social Justice Educator Focused on Gender, Race & Media
Dr. Jonathan P. Higgins (DoctorJonPaul) is an educator, national speaker, freelance journalist, thought leader, and media critic who focuses on examining the intersections of identity, gender, and race in entertainment. Named Business Equality Magazine’s “Top 40 LGBTQ People Under 40”, their work has been featured on media outlets including Essence, Ebony, Complex, MTV NEWS, Out Magazine, BET & Paper Magazine. Dr. Higgins is a Culture Strike 2021 Disruptor, a 2021 IHeartRadio NextUp Fellow, and has been part of cohorts at Lambda Literary, Hillman Grad Productions, Maynard Institute and the Poynter Foundation. Dr. Higgins is a trailblazer who is sharing the stories their ancestors didn’t get to tell.
Charity Blackwell: TED Speaker, Host, Emcee, Poetry Specialist
Charity Blackwell is a spoken word artist, host, emcee, and poetry specialist who has spent several years contributing to the arts scene in DC and across national platforms. She is a Trinity University graduate, where she received her B.A and M.A, for Communications. She is the Director of Creative Arts and Education at the arts and sports nonprofit DC SCORES and the D.O.P.E (Director of Poetry Events) at the well renowned DC arts cultural hub, Busboys and Poets.
April Ryan: White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Author of The Presidency in Black and White and Under Fire
White House Correspondent April Ryan has a unique vantage point as the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House – a position she has held since the Clinton era.
Lauren Ridloff: Keynote Speaker: Actress & First Deaf Superhero on Marvel’s “The Eternals”
Lauren Ridloff stars as Marvel’s first deaf superhero opposite Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjani and Salma Hayek in the upcoming Eternals. She’s also going into her second season as a series regular on one of TV’s most popular shows, The Walking Dead.
LaTosha Brown: Cofounder of Black Voters Matter Fund, jazz singer, and Senior Practice Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
LaTosha is a contributor to The New York Times op-ed page and a Senior Practice Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. As co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund organization, LaTosha is dedicated to increasing the political power of Black people.