Artist and celebrated businessman 50 Cent, is a multi-platinum rapper and actor. 50 Cent's business dealings and trading are followed by the press while he transitions into acting. He has starred in more than a dozen movie roles to date and has earned $100 million in a single deal with Vitamin water.
Akon is a multi-platinum R&B singer and producer. After his debut album, Trouble, was released in 2004, Akon worked with some of the leading personalities in music including Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and Leona L. He enjoys 6 Grammy Awards nominations and is credited with more than 300 guest appearances and 45 Billboard Hot 100 songs. Connecting with his Senegalese roots, Akon created his own charity for underprivileged children in Senegal called Konfidence Foundation.
Alfre Woodard is an American film, stage, and television actress. She has been nominated once for an Academy Award and Grammy Awards, 12 times for Emmy Awards (winning four), and has also won a Golden Globe and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. She is known for her role in films such as Cross Creek, Miss Firecracker, Grand Canyon, Passion Fish, Primal Fear, Star Trek: First Contact, Miss Evers' Boys, K-PAX, Radio, Take the Lead and The Family That Preys. Off stage, Woodard champions various humanitarian causes, including raising awareness for global poverty and HIV/AIDS, and co-founding Artists for a New South Africa, a non-profit organization devoted to advancing democracy and equality in that country.
Alicia Keys is a Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum R&B artist. In December 2009, Keys was ranked as the top R&B artist on Billboard magazine's artist of the decade and is an accomplished song writer. Keys is the co-founder and Global Ambassador of Keep a Child Alive, a non-profit organization that provides medicine to families with HIV and AIDS in Africa.
Alonzo Mourning Charities
Former American professional basketball player, Alonso Mourning has changed the face of sports by bringing particular social causes to light. In 2003 he founded the Overtown Youth Center for underprivileged kids, located in Miami, Florida. The program aims to inspire, empower, and enrich these children while teaching them to become positive contributing citizens. Mourning’s efforts to improve lives have gained him notoriety throughout the athletics industry.
Alphonse Fletcher, Jr.
Fletcher Asset Management
Alphonse "Buddy" Fletcher, Jr. first became notable when he sued Kidder, Peabody & Co. for racial discrimination and $3 million in back pay. He eventually won an arbitration award of $1.3 million. In 1993, following the death of friend and advisor Reginald Lewis, Fletcher donated $1 million to the Reginald F. Lewis Memorial Endowment. The endowment had been created by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after Lewis instructed his wife to bequeath $2 million to the organization.
Ambassador Susan Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Susan Elizabeth Rice is an American foreign policy advisor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Rice served on the staff of the National Security Council and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during President Bill Clinton's second term. In 2009, Rice was confirmed as UN Ambassador by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent. A Washington, D.C. native, Rice is a Rhodes Scholar and attended attended New College, Oxford where she received a Master of Philosophy in 1988 and Doctor of Philosophy in 1990.
Bank of America
Amy Ellis-Simon is head of Middle Market and Multi-Product Sales at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She is a co-founder of the GBAM Women’s Leadership Council and is a member of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Council. Ms. Simon is founder and chairperson of The Three Sisters Scholarship Foundation, an organization that provides assistance to college-bound African American students and is also a board member and vice-chairperson of the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) Program which develops leaders in communities of color through college preparatory programs and internships on Wall Street.
André 3000 is a rapper, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor. An advocate for civic engagement, André 3000 participated in “Declare Yourself”, a campaign encouraging voter registration among youth. In addition to his music, André 3000 is an entrepreneur and has launched a clothing line and a doll line.
Fashionista and trendsetter Angela Simmons is setting the standard for pop culture and urban trends. She is currently handling her own magazine, Angela's Rundown, and also has a new executive title under Word Up! Angela and her elder sister, Vanessa Simmons, co-created Pastry, which features ‘fun fresh fashion sneakers [for] junior girls.”
SIRIUS Radio, Shade 45
Angela Yee started her career in radio thanks to a combination of good timing and great relationships. There are few females who have their own morning show in radio period, and even fewer who have the dedication and following of Angela Yee. Her straight to the point questions sometimes startle people, but her affable demeanor quickly puts them at ease. Her success in radio led to Angela branching into other areas, like host of “The Angela Yee Rumor Report” on Flow TV and on demand, and host of the “Online Hip Hop Awards” for sohh.com which aired on MTV Jams and online.
President, Southern Division
Starting her career as a cashier, Ann-Marie Campbell manages a team of more than 100,000 associates in 15 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas for Home Depot. Prior to her position as President of Home Depot’s Southern Division, Campbell served in a variety of positions during her 20-plus year career at the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer, including store manager, district manager and regional vice president.
Antonio L.A. Reid
Hitco Music Publishing
Antonio Reid, better known as L.A. Reid, is a three-time Grammy Award-winning American record executive, songwriter, and record producer. He is responsible for signing and helping bring Mariah Carey, Pink, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kanye West, Avril Lavigne, Toni Braxton, TLC, Usher, Ciara, OutKast, and Dido to multi-platinum album sales. He is the President and CEO of Hitco Music Publishing, based in Atlanta, and was the Chairman and CEO of Island Def Jam Music Group until 2011.
Arlene Holt Baker
Executive Vice President
Arlene Holt Baker is executive vice president by the AFL-CIO Executive Council, becoming the first African American to be elected to one of the federation’s three highest offices and the highest-ranking African American woman in the union movement.
City Counselor at Large
City of Boston
In 2009, Ayanna Pressley became the first woman of color to serve on the Boston City Council. Pressley formed and is chairing the Committee on Women & Healthy Communities and also serves as the Chair of the Arts, Film, Humanities & Tourism Committees. In addition to her work as a public servant Pressley serves on the Boards of several Boston and statewide organizations, including the UMass Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Young Black Women's Society.
The President of the United States
Our Commander-in-Chief, President Barak Obama is a supporter of the Clean Energy Economy. May 2009, President Obama announced the first ever joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks. In May 2010, President Obama created the first-ever efficiency and emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty cars and trucks. In addition to his work changing America’s energy future his administration has taken the lead in climate change.
Barion L. Grant
Barion Grant is a co-founder and director of sales for NBC’s theGrio.com. He is also the producer of the documentary, “Meeting David Wilson,” which chronicled an African-American journalist’s journey through his past to meet his namesake on the plantation where his ancestors were enslaved. Barion’s career in film and television production started at MTV Networks most notably as the associate producer and researcher of the Oscar Nominated documentary “Tupac: Resurrection.”
Benjamin T. Jealous
President & CEO
Benjamin Todd Jealous is the current president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He is the youngest national leader of the organization and is an Oxford University Rhodes Scholar. Jealous began his career as an organizer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund working on issues of healthcare access. In addition to his work with the NAACP, Jealous is a member of the Asia Society as well as a board member of Northern California Grantmakers and the California Council for the Humanities.
Beverly Wright, Ph.D
Dillard University Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
Environmental scholar, Beverly Wright founded the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice to insure that the federal government recognizes that the post-Katrina toxic pollution that continue to threaten the lives of many families in New Orleans. In early 2006, she initiated the “A Safe Way Back Home” project, a two-year cleanup effort in New Orleans that involved collaboration with the United Steel Workers Union and with volunteer, faith-based, and neighborhood organizations. In result tainted soil was safely removed from the yards of residents and was replaced with new earth.
Recording artist, actress and fashion designer, Beyoncé is an American trendsetter and businesswoman. She was recognized by the as the top certified artist of the decade. To date, she has sold 75 million records worldwide making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In addition to her work topping the charts, Knowles reaches out to the global community. In January 2010, Knowles participated in the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief.
Registered pit bull breeder and one-half of Outkast, Big Boi has established himself as a commanding voice in hip-hop culture. He has produced six studio albums, and worked alongside artists such as: Killer Mike, Missy Elliott, Trick Daddy, Fantasia, and Yelawolf. Big Boi’s debut solo album Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty was released in 2010.
Sean Michael Leonard Anderson, better known as Big Sean, is an artist as well as style trendsetter. He was featured in The Source and headlined the "Style" section of the magazine and has gone on record as a fan of Billionaire Boys Club, and Bape.
Big Tigger Morning Show
Darian "Big Tigger" Morgan, also known as Big Tigg; is an American television and radio personality best known as the host of BET's Rap City and 106 & Park. While attending the University of Maryland, College Park, he interned at Washington D.C. radio station WPGC 95.5 FM. At WPGC, Morgan worked alongside popular host Albie Dee and was promptly recognized for his ambition and charisma. Soon Morgan, with his innovative freestyles, gained popularity on night radio and now is Host to his own morning show.
Bishop G.O. Glenn
New Deliverance Evangelistic Church
Bishop Glenn is the senior pastor and founding visionary of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church and the New Deliverance Christian Academy in Richmond, Virginia. He also serves as Bishop of the New Deliverance Fellowship Conference of Churches and President of the New Deliverance Foundation. When he is not commanding the pulpit he is Editor-in-Chief of the Deliverance in Focus Magazine, an is active community leader. Glenn served as Co-President of Richmonders Involved in Strengthening our Communities (RISC), an ecumenical organization of clergy and congregations. Recently, he was appointed as co-chair of the Governor's statewide Task Force on Preventing Crime in Minority Communities.
Bishop T. D. Jakes
The Potter's House
T.D. Jakes serves as senior pastor of one of the fastest growing mega-churches in the country, The Potter's House. His congregation consists serves of more than 15,000 members. The Potter's House is currently developing a 232-acre "City of Refuge", which will include housing for senior citizens, a safe house for abused women, rehabilitation for drug users, and an AIDS support center.
Bishop Tom Benjamin Jr.
Light of the Word
As Pastor of the historic Light of the World Christian Church, Tom Benjamin was selected as one of the recipients of the Morehouse College Distinguished Preacher’s Award as well as being a past National President of the Black Disciples Ministers’ Fellowship. Dr. Benjamin’s passion is children, and he has authored four books: Boys to Men, The Home Alone Syndrome, Mama’s Boy, and his most recent book, It’s All In Your Mind.
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie
African Methodist Episcopal Church
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie serves as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She instituted an ambitious agenda: “Strength to Climb.” This included strengthening the District’s infra-structure, by instituting computer labs in two AME high schools, creating seven entrepreneurial business projects, 37 new church starts, facilitating two USA-African teacher workshops and summits. She has also expanded services to 75 children orphaned or affected by the HIV/Aids pandemic in a day program in Botswana.
Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) is a hip-hop artist who is the lead MC of the Philadelphia-based hip-hop group The Roots and occasional actor. Black Thought, who co-founded The Roots with drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson), is widely lauded for his complex and politically aware lyrical content, and his sharply honed live performances. In 2000, the Roots won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "You Got Me" and In 2008,Peta2.com nominated Black Thought as among the "World's Sexiest Vegetarians”.
Bun B, is a rapper and was one half of the southern hip hop duo UGK (UnderGround Kingz). He is also a guest lecturer at Rice University located in Houston, Texas.
Carmelo Anthony is an NBA player for the New York Knicks. After the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, Anthony donated $35,000 to relief efforts. He donated $1,000 per point scored against San Antonio and Houston on January 8 and 9, 2005 respectively For charitable contributions totaling $4,282,000, Anthony was listed as number eight in "The Giving Back 30 List of Largest Charitable Donations by Celebrities in 2006".
Catherine L. Hughes
Founder and Chairperson
Radio One Inc.
Daughter of an accountant and a musician, Cathy Hughes is the the owner and CEO of Radio One Inc., the largest African-American radio broadcasting company in the United States. She also takes to the airwaves to dispense wisdom and humor, provide consolation, and stir activism. "With African American ownership and management of black radio stations on a steady decline,” Hughes explains in Essence, "It is critical for us to tell our story from our perspective...When the company is Black-owned, you have black decision makers, a Black perspective and Black employees."
Cathy D. Ross
Executive Vice President and CFO
Cathy D. Ross is Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Federal Express Corporation. Ross served in variety of other positions at FedEx, including Vice President for Express Financial Planning. She currently serves as board member of the Women's Foundation of Greater Memphis and was on the Board Of Directors for the Memphis Food Bank.
A Princeton University professor, Rouse is is the Theodore A. Wells '29 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs. In addition to her work in academics, Rouse is a former member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors under the Obama Administration, where her primary research focused on labor economics and the economics of education. She has also been a senior editor of The Future of Children and the Journal of Labor Economics. Prior to serving in the Obama Administration, Rouse served in the National Economic Council under President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 1999.
Charles B. Rangel (D - NY)
U.S. Representative for New York's 15th Congressional District
Harlem native, Charles Rangel has been the U.S. Representative for New York’s 15th congressional district since 1971. His resume includes earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, being a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and working as a private lawyer. Rangel’s ability to fearlessly speak his mind for his beliefs serves as an example for other public servants to follow.
Che 'Rhymefest' Smith
City of Chicago
Che 'Rhymefest' Smith co-wrote Kanye West's "Jesus Walks", which won a Grammy at the 47th Grammy Awards. In October, 2010, Rhymefest announced his candidacy for Chicago's 20th ward alderman. He placed second in the February 22nd, 2011 election, and was narrowly defeated by incumbent Willie Cochran in the April 5th, 2011 runoff election.
CEO & Founder
Chris Lightly is CEO of Violator Records. Forbes magazine named him as "one of the industry's most influential talent managers.” He played an integral part in the success of rap superstars such as Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, Foxy Brown, LL Cool J, the Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, Missy Elliott and most recently Sean "Diddy" Combs, 50 Cent and G-Unit.
Comedian / Actor / Producer
World renown comedian Chris Rock has found lasting success as a stand-up comic. His documentary, “Good Hair”, started a nationwide conversation about African-Americans and the hair industry. Rock's edgy, brilliant material often dared to take on the African-American establishment, but his critiques of broader American culture and politics proved to have universal appeal.
OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network
Formerly a MTV President, Christina Norman is Chief Executive Officer of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. She serves on the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center Advisory Board and the BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn Board. Ms. Norman has been regularly included in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100 Women in Entertainment.” In 2006, she was named one of Multichannel News’ “Wonder Women,” and has been profiled in Advertising Age’s “Media Mavens” issue.
A. Philip Randolph Institute
Dedicated to securing civil rights in education, health care and labor, Clayola Brown is the president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Ms. Brown is a Vice President and a member of the General Executive Board of Workers United since its formation in March 2009. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Amalgamated Bank since February 1991 and has served on the Audit Committee of the Board from February 1993 to August 1997 and serves on the Trust Committee of the Board since February 2008.
Common is a hip hop artist and actor. He used to maintain a vegan diet and is a supporter of animal rights and PETA. Common recently appeared in a print advertisement for PETA titled "Think Before You Eat” and is also part of the "Knowing Is Beautiful" movement, which supports HIV/AIDS awareness.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D - DC)
Washington, D.C., Delegate to Congress
Now in her eleventh term as the Delegate for the District of Columbia, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. Prior to her congressional service, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to serve as the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
CEO & Founder
Cortez Bryant is the founder of Bryant Entertainment and former CEO of Young Money Entertainment. Bryant’s elite clients, which include Wayne and rapper Drake, have become some of the biggest successes in the past decade, selling millions of records in a time of industry uncertainty and continuing to produce music that resonates with countless fans worldwide.
Cory A. Booker
The City of Newark
The 36th mayor of Newark, Cory Booker is known for his work fighting his city's crime. Under his purview Booker has decreased Newark's murder rate more than 42 percent. In addition to lowering crime, Booker has both doubled the amount of affordable housing under development, and quadrupled the amount under predevelopment. Booker has slashed the city budget deficit from $180 million to $73 million. A hands on leader, Booker lived in a motor home parked on the worst drug corners in the city, inspiring residents and businesses to fight against drug dealing and crime. For this, TIME magazine called him "The Savior of Newark”.
Director of Governance & Policy
National Education Association
For more than 15 years, Cynthia Swann has led the fight for quality education for every American at the National Education Association (NEA) as the Director of Governance & Policy. The NEA believes that every student , regardless of family income or place of residence, deserves a quality education. In pursuing this mission, NEA focuses the energy and resources of its 3.2 million members on improving the quality of teaching, increasing student achievement and making schools safer, better places to learn.
Daisy W. Lynum
National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials
Commissioner Daisy Williams Lynum was elected to the Orlando City Council in 1998. Her community and civic leadership includes representation on several boards and committees including, Vice Chair of the Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF), and President of National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. Her primary focus is improving quality of life through sustainable neighborhoods for residents in District 5 and the City of Orlando.
Davy D's Hip Hop Corner
Davey D is a nationally recognized journalist, adjunct professor, Hip Hop historian, syndicated talk show host, radio programmer, producer, deejay, media and community activist. He is the co-founder and host of “Davy D’s Hip Hop Corner” one of the most cited Hip Hop radio and online news journalism projects to date.
Born in Jackson, Mississippi Lavell Crump, also known David Banner started his music career as a member of the rap duo, Crooked Lettaz before going solo in 2000. A powerful activist, Banner was awarded a Visionary Award by the National Black Caucus of the State Legislature in recognition of his work after Hurricane Katrina. Later in 2007, Banner testified in front of Congress at a hearing about African-American media stereotypes, which was aired nationally on C-SPAN2.
In 2002, David C. Drummond was initially hired as Google’s Vice President of Corporate Development. He served as Google’s first outside counsel and worked with CEO Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin to incorporate the company and secure its initial rounds of financing. Today, as their Senior Vice president and Chief Legal Officer, Drummond leads Google’s global teams for legal, government relations, corporate development and new business development.
Chairman and CEO
BET Holdings Inc.
Debra L. Lee is the President and Chief Executive Officer of BET Holdings, Inc., the parent company for Black Entertainment Television. Lee has sat on the board of directors for a number of companies/organizations, including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Ad Council, and the National Cable Television Association.
Chief Consumer Officer
Debra A. Sandler serves as Worldwide President of McNeil Nutritionals Llc. She serves as a Director at The Philadelphia Orchestra Association and has been recognized by Advertising Age as part of the "Power 50 Marketers Award for Excellence in Marketing,” by Ebony magazine as one of the "Top 15 African American Female Executives in Corporate America", by The Network Journal as one of the "Top 25 Influential Black Women in Business.”
CEO and Founder
An impassioned leader, Decker Ngongang is the creator of activist website, Mobilize.org. Ngongang develops programs like Democracy 2.0 that provide tech-savy Millennials a forum to develop online solutions for topics ranging from financial literacy to aiding the environment - effectively preparing them to civically engage in their own communities.
Derrick Watkins "aka Fonzworth Bentley"
Derrick Watkins is an Atlanta native who has made a name for himself as a musician and author. Watkins has done work as a producer and has authored an etiquette book, Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence and Style to Get Ahead. Derrick Watkins has contributed to the KnowHow2Go campaign which encourages low-income and first-generation students to take the steps necessary to go to college.
DJ Beverly Bond
Black Girls Rock!
A true music connoisseur, Beverly Bond's passion for music and uncanny ability to read the crowd has solidified her as one of the premier DJs in the world. With two turntables and a cause, Bond created BGR! as a outlet for teenage girls of color. With such diverse talents combined with an unparalleled and passionate devotion to music, it's little wonder that Bond has emerged as a force in the DJ world and a powerful and respected voice in the music community.
DJ Drama is a hip-hop artist and the official DJ for Grand Hustle/Atlantic recording artist T.I.. He is best known for producing mixtapes, including the successful "Gangsta Grillz" series and Dedication 2, which the New York Times called one of the "10 best recordings of 2006".
Building Responsible Intelligent Creative Kids
As a result of growing increasingly frustrated at how far behind his students were in reading and other subjects, Dominique Lee founded Building Responsible Intelligent Creative Kids (BRICK), an education management nonprofit. His passion has ensured that children living in low-income communities enter the global economy fully prepared as engaged, productive citizens—equipped with mutual respect and cross-cultural understanding.
Don Cheadle is a film actor and producer. He also campaigns for the end of genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and co-authored a book concerning the issue titled Not On Our Watch: The Mission To End Genocide In Darfur And Beyond. In 2010, Cheadle was named U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador.
Veteran political strategist Donna Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, and political commentator. In 2000, she worked as Al Gore’s presidential campaign manager, making her the first African-American to spearhead a political campaign. Hailing from Louisiana, Brazile has been working for the full recovery of her beloved New Orleans, and is also encouraging young people to become more politically involved.
Donna Byrd is Publisher of TheRoot.com, a daily online magazine that provides thought-provoking commentary on today's news from a variety of black perspectives. As publisher, Byrd leverages her expertise in marketing, strategic business planning and digital innovation to lead one of the top African American-focused daily magazines on the Web.
U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress
The Honorable Donna M. Christensen is serving her eighth term as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is the first female physician in the history of the U.S. Congress, the first woman to represent an offshore Territory, and the first woman Delegate from the United States Virgin Islands. She serves as an Assistant Minority Whip in the Democratic Caucus.
Donna M. Boles
SVP, Human Resources
After being hired as a secretary, Donna M. Boles rose through the ranks and is currently Becton Dickinson & Co.’s Senior Vice president of Human Resources. She is responsible for human resources for BD Medical, the company’s largest segment. Boles has found great pride in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s groundbreaking initiatives.
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is the ninth president of Spelman College. In addition to being an accomplished administrator, Dr. Tatum is widely recognized as a scholar, and race relations expert in higher education. Appointed by President Obama, she is a member of the Advisory Board for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore Sr.
Progressive National Baptist Convention
Extending his ministry all over the world, Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore Sr. is the President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Incorporated (PNBC). He is a leader in education, church planting, missions, evangelism, economic empowerment and human rights. Dr. Baltimore has planted over 30 churches and trained Pastors in Africa, Philippines, India, South Korea and Jamaica to serve. Dr. Baltimore has traveled to over 40 countries and has personally led over 64 international crusades.
Dr. Cindy Trimm
Cindy Trimm International
Best known as an empowerment specialist, bestselling author, life coach, and Ambassador of Hope. Dr. Cindy Trimm has partnered with heads of state, business moguls, politicians, church, civic and world leaders for more than 30 years. As one of the leading voices of our time, she founded Cindy Trimm International (CTI), to bring practical solutions to spiritual and social ills; effecting change within our communities while transforming the course of our global destiny. Her track record as a revolutionary thinker and prolific communicator, has established her as one of the most respected and sought-after leaders in the world today.
Dr. Claude R. Alexander, Jr.
University Park Baptist Church
Since 1990, Pastor Claude R. Alexander, Jr. has served as the Senior Pastor of University Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Being an insightful speaker with a narrative style, he was inducted to the Morehouse Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers, and also was a guest speaker for crusades in Kenya and Brazil. Alexander recently was ranked among the 75 most influential persons in Charlotte by Charlotte Magazine.
Dr. Cornel West
Dr. Cornel West is currently the Professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. He appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span as well as on his dear Brother, Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV Show. West garners a long list of television and film appearances including his film debut in the Matrix. In addition to his work with Princeton, West has taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris. An accomplished author, West is best known for his classic Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his new memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.
Earth Day Pledge:
"Enjoy the sunshine and fight for justice!"
Dr. E. Faye Williams
National Congress for Black Women
Spirited teacher, speaker, and author, Dr. E. Faye Williams is the National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women. She has written several books on political and foreign affairs, in addition to serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Council for the National Interest and Partners for Peace. Williams’ active stance on civil and human rights issues domestically and abroad makes her one of the most influential women in America.
Earth Day Pledge:
On Earth Day, and everyday thereafter, I plan to walk anyplace I am going that is no more than one mile from my home or office. I got a head start on doing that today by walking from the DC Court to the 'We Are One' rally (18 blocks) in support of working people and in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!
Dr. Julianne Malveaux
Bennett College for Women
Dr. Julianne Malveaux is the 15th President of Bennett College for Women. Recognized for her progressive and insightful observations, she is also an economist, author and commentator. Dr. Malveaux's contributions to the public dialogue on issues such as race, culture, gender, and their economic impacts, are shaping public opinion in 21st century America.
Dr. Kevin Fenton, M.D.
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., FFPH, is the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP). He has directed and established a number of research programs and forums related to HIV/AIDS and sexual health. He has also served on the boards of a number of charitable organizations and government committees related to HIV and STD prevention and sexual health research.
Dr. Kevin R. Johnson
Bright Hope Baptist Church
A Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College, Dr. Kevin R. Johnson often addresses national and international socio-political issues such as police brutality and education reform. In New York City he was arrested at One Police Plaza for protesting the unjust NYPD killing of African immigrant, Amadou Diallo, and led a march in Harlem to investigate school academic performance. Dr. Johnson is committed to continuing the prophetic social gospel through his ministry.
Dr. Michael Beckwith
Founder, Spiritual Director
Agape International Spiritual Center
Spiritual and ancient wisdom teacher, Dr. Michael Beckwith has been manifesting his vision of one human family united on a foundation of peace. Agape's outreach programs feed the homeless, serve incarcerated individuals and their families, advocate the preservation of the planet's environmental resources, and globally build and support orphanages whose children have survived the ravages of war and AIDS.
Dr. Michael Dorsey
Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Program
With his role at the prestigious Dartmouth College, Dr. Michael Dorsey provides advice to governments, foundations, and others, on a variety of global environmental governance matters, including climate change and biodiversity policy, to better engage ongoing multilateral negotiations and processes. Currently he is writing a volume examining bio-commerce in Ecuador’s Upper Amazon basin.
Dr. Orlando B. Yates
Union Baptist Church of Cincinnati
Dr. Orlando B. Yates is the pastor of the Union Baptist Church of Cincinnati, one of the oldest African-American churches in the United States. Pastor Yates has been the recipient of numerous awards, honors, resolutions and special recognition for his outstanding religious and community service.
Dr. Reuben P. Anderson, Sr.
Tower of Faith
Dr. Reuben P. Anderson, Sr. is the Senior Pastor and Founder of the Tower of Faith Evangelistic Church in Compton, California. In 1997, he established through the Tower of Faith, the Economic Development Corporation a legal, accredited, non-profit organization with the mission and purpose to provide Community Outreach Resources (COR) to the City of Compton and surrounding areas. Anderson’s mission is to assist with the revitalization of the City of Compton, renew the hopes of its citizens and reawaken the dreams of a better future by empowering the members of the community to become self-sufficient.
Dr. Roger Mitchell
Assistant Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences
Dr. Roger Mitchell serves as the Assistant Deputy Chief Medical Examiner for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences – Houston, TX where he oversees Medicolegal Death Investigations as well as performs forensic autopsies determining cause and manner of death. Dr. Mitchell is at the forefront of National Violence Prevention and Homeland Security issues. In effort to bring policy makers’ attention to police brutality in the context of public health, Dr. Mitchell is one of the first to describe Law Enforcement Force as a health issue and is currently researching Police Custody Deaths in Houston and New York City.
Dr. Ruth Simmons, Ph.D.
Dr. Ruth Simmons received her Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University and has written on the works of David Diop and Aime Cesaire. As an academic leader, she believes in the power of education to transform lives. A popular figure on campus, Dr. Simmons received a 80% approval rating among Brown undergraduates in 2009. She has spent her career advocating for a leadership role for higher education in the arena of national and global affairs. in result, President Obama appointed Dr. Simmons to the President's Commission on White House Fellowships.
Dr. Sacoby Wilson
Research Assistant Professor
University of South Carolina
A professor at the University of South Carolina and environmental health scientist, Dr. Sacoby Wilson is conducting a range of research which studies how the built environment impacts vulnerable populations disproportionately; his work utilizes action-oriented, Community Based Participatory, and a Community-Driven Research Approach, which has been beneficial to many academic, government, and community-based organizations (CBOs) in studying and addressing public health issues. Dr. Wilson currently has over ten publications in journals including Atmospheric Environment, Environmental Justice, Environmental Health Perspectives and Progress in Community Health Partnerships.
Dr.Kathie-Ann Joseph, M.D
Columbia University Medical Center
Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph is the first African-American woman to be appointed to the faculty of the Department of Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. She has made significant contributions to breast cancer research and treatment. Dr. Joseph has studied how race affects health and has worked to improve access to health care for those in need and African-American women, who face greater breast cancer mortality.
Earl Stevens better known by his stage name E-40, is a rapper and entrepreneur. Starting in 1998, he worked with rappers outside the Bay Area and rose to even higher mainstream popularity in 2006 with his single "Tell Me When to Go" which was produced by Lil Jon.
Eddie Glaude, Ph.D
Inspired by the courage and devotion of Martin Luther King Jr., Eddie S. Glaude Jr. brings to his scholarship a sense of passion and vocation shaped by the tradition of African American struggle. Glaude is currently the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. He is celebrated for seeking to encourage and to embolden fellow citizens to rise to the profound challenges of our day.
Earth Day Pledge:
This year on Earth Day, I hope to participate in a community effort to clean up our neighborhood. But I also want to change something in my personal life. We’ve already changed the light bulbs in our homes and stopped leaving the cell phone chargers in the wall. We now need to give up those dreaded plastic grocery bags. Paper from now on.
Eddie Murphy has established himself as a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, singer, and musician. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) was the film that made Murphy a box-office superstar and most notably made him a celebrity worldwide, and it remains one of the all-time biggest domestic blockbusters in motion-picture history. Murphy rebounded with occasional hits and misses but has long proven himself as a skilled comedic actor with applaudable range pertaining to characterizations and mannerisms.
Michael Eric Dyson is a professor of sociology at Georgetown University. In addition to his work in sociology, Dyson is an ordained Baptist minister. Prior to his tenure at Georgetown, Dyson taught at several top-tier colleges and universities, including: DePaul University, Chicago Theological Seminary, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Columbia University, Brown University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a commentator on National Public Radio, CNN, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
The City of Compton
A former police officer for the City of Compton, Eric Perrodin has risen to the rank and was elected as Compton’s Mayor. His commitment to public service and enriching the lives of residents, has moved him improve education, build neighborhoods, and offer more programs to constituents. Preordain also is widely known for holding the longest seat as the Mayor of Compton.
Progress 2050 (CAP)
Striving for an creative society, Erica Williams works as the Deputy Director of Progress 2050, a project that develops new ideas for an increasingly diverse America. Progress 2050 seeks to build a progressive agenda that reflects the rich ethnic makeup of the nation by: promoting innovative policy ideas, facilitating honest dialogue about race and policy, analyzing demographics, and developing new leaders. Williams’ leadership for change will surely better our future.
In his 25-year career at The Post, Eugene Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, and foreign editor. He also has been an assistant managing editor in charge of the paper’s award-winning Style section. Robinson’s groundbreaking, fearless work has gained him many accolades in the industry.
Faye Alexander Nelson
Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
After serving as a Corporate Attorney and Director for Government Affairs for Kmart, Faye Nelson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Inc. She also serves on the board of several community, civic and economic development organizations, including the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, University of Detroit Mercy and TechTown. Ms. Nelson’s considerable leadership, development and management skills enables her to bring a unique and valuable perspective to her community.
Felicia J. Fields
Group Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Services
Ford Motor Co.
Felicia J. Fields, leads the global human resources and corporate services functions for Ford Motor Company. She also gives back by working with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), the Governance Committee, and the Women’s Health Advisory Council at Oakwood Hospital.
CEO & President, Mid-America Region
Felicia Norwood is President of the Mid-America Region for Aetna, Inc. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her leadership and service. 2010, she was named to Black Enterprise’s list of the “75 Most Powerful Women in Business”; in 2009 to Black Enterprise’s list of the “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America”; one of the "25 Influential Black Women in Business" by The Network Journal in March, 2008.
Forest Steven Whitaker is an actor, producer, and director. Whitaker, who is a vegetarian, recorded a public service announcement with his daughter promoting vegetarianism on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). He is also a supporter and public advocate for Hope North, a boarding school and vocational training center in northern Uganda for escaped child soldiers, orphans, and other young victims of the country's civil war.
President and COO
American Association of Blacks in Energy
Working to provide a pathway for people to learn more about the energy industry, Frank M. Stewart serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE). The areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy have been Mr. Stewart’s professional focuses for nearly thirty years. He currently helps energy professionals, executives, entrepreneurs, and students to be more energy efficient through education, mentoring, community service and business networking.
Earth Day Pledge:
This year Earth Day falls on Good Friday, the day chosen to focus on the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. I expect to spend at least a portion of that day in church reflecting on the debt that we all owe to our Creator. For me, much of my involvement with environmental issues has been based in my understanding of our individual and collective responsibility to be good stewards of His bounty which nurtures and sustains us all. At this remarkable time each year, we are presented with compelling lessons about man's relationship to his maker. This Earth Day should be particularly meaningful.
Since launching Media TakeOut in 2006, Fred Mwangaguhunga has created the leading urban gossip site thats ranks in the top 400 of all U.S. sites. Mwangaguhunga now boasts as many as 6 million unique users is worth more than $2.8 million, generating almost 6 million daily page views and over 270,000 unique daily visitors. The site also boasts over 650,000 registered users, many of whom regularly share their opinions.
Freda Lewis-Hall M.D.
SVP & Chief Medical Officer
Freda is Pfizer's Chief Medical Officer and a member of the company's Executive Leadership team. As the company's senior physician, she leads Pfizer Medical, the division encompassing Worldwide Regulatory Strategy. A well-regarded expert on the effects of mental illness on families and communities, and on issues of health care disparities, she is a Board Member of the American Psychiatric Foundation, a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and a member of the Board of Governors of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).
Freeman Hrabowski III, Ph.D.
University of Maryland Baltimore County
President of UMBC, Freeman Hrabowski III has been named one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents by Time Magazine. With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering, and advancing minorities in these fields. His research on science an math education, specially for minorities, helps to create innovation within the green movement.
Born Aston George Taylor Jr., Funkmaster Flex is a hip-hop DJ, rapper, musician and producer on New York City's Hot 97radio station. In addition to his radio career Funkmaster Flex also enjoys a lengthy television resume and is the host of the hit MTV show Funk Flex Full Throttle.
The Gayle King Show
Gayle King was born in Chevy Chase, Maryland. In 1991, King briefly co-hosted an NBC daytime talk show with Robin Wagner called Cover to Cover. Later King joined O, The Oprah Magazine as an editor in 1999 and also worked as a correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America. In 2011 King will be the host of The Gayle King Show, on the OWN network.
President and CEO
Harlem Children’s Zone Charter School
Social Activist and educator, Geoffrey Canada is the president and CEO of the Children’s Zone in Harlem. The organization’s goal is to increase high school and college graduation rates among students. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation, a nonprofit organization which describes its aim as to expand educational opportunities for all students.
Georges C. Benjamin
American Public Health Association
Dr. Georges C. Benjamin is well known in the world of public health as a leader, practitioner and administrator. He was executive director of the American Public Health Association and secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he played a key role developing Maryland's bioterrorism plan. A native of Gaithersburg, Md. Dr. Benjamin is an accomplished author and orator.
With more than 20 years of journalism experience, Award-winning producer Geraldine Moriba has been named executive producer of CNN's "In America" unit, the network's newly created division. She has won five Emmy Awards, including most recently in September 2009 for Outstanding Coverage for a Breaking News Story Long Form, NBC News Decision 2008 Election Night. Her work continues to inspire, and inform the public about deep rooted pressing issues of today.
Executive Vice President
Gerry Hudson is the Executive Vice President of SEIU leading the union's political program. Hudson was recently honored by Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations for his extraordinary leadership, and continues to spearhead SEIU's efforts to win quality, affordable healthcare for all, immigration reform, and other major initiatives by strengthening the union's partnerships and alliances with community groups.
Leonard 'GLC' is a rapper signed with G.O.O.D. Music label, and was featured on the song "Spaceship”. He released his debut album entitled Love, Life, and Loyalty on October 12, 2010.
Actress and Activist
An accomplished actress and social activist, over the past twenty years Gloria Reuben has amassed impressive credentials in television, film, theater and music. As of January 2011 Gloria is a special advisor on climate change for the Alliance for Climate Protection, former Vice President Al Gore's environmental organization. She is on the Board for the National Wildlife Federation, along with being on the Leadership Council for the Natural Resources Defense Council and Waterkeeper Alliance. Her resourcefulness has made her a leader in the green movement.
Earth Day Pledge:
On this Earth Day, as on every day, I will do my best to recognize and respect the beauty, power and gifts that come from Mother Nature, as well as continue to raise awareness on the urgent issue of climate change.
Gov. William D. Euille
The City of Alexandria, VA
In 2003, William D. "Bill" Euille was elected as the first African-American Mayor of Alexandria City and was later re-elected 2006. Prior to his work as Mayor Euille was elected three times to the Alexandria City and served on the Alexandria School Board from 1974-1984. A community philanthropist, Euille founded the William D. Euille Foundation 1994 and contributes more than $50,000 a year to dozens of local organizations.
“Grouchy" Greg Watkins is co-founder and co-CEO of AllHipHop.com. He has received numerous tributes, including the Lifetime Achievement honor at the 2005 Mixtape Awards.
From beauty queen to academy award winning actress, Halle Berry has won more than two-dozen awards for her tireless contribution to the film arts. Now a mother, Berry has gone green in her personal life and has created an organic and eco-friendly nursery.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Educator, author, editor Henry Louis Gates Jr. finished his doctorate degree in 1979, making him the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in England and is now the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research. Recently, Gates has been involved in a number of interesting educational projects for television. He wrote and produced several documentaries including a documentary special on the heritage of talk show host Oprah Winfrey and a sequel to African American Lives.
Actor / Artist
Ice Cube, is a successful rapper, actor, screenwriter, film director, and producer. He began his career as a member of C.I.A. and later joined the rap group N.W.A.. After leaving N.W.A in January 1990, he built a successful solo career in music, and also as a writer, director, actor and producer in cinema. Additionally, he has served as one of the producers of the Showtime television series Barbershop and the TBS series Are We There Yet?, both of which are based upon films in which he portrayed the lead character.
J. Cole, rapper and producer who, is best known for being the first artist to be signed to Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation. He has appeared on the cover of The Source and Beyond Race magazines, and is one of XXL’s 2010 Freshmen. Cole appeared on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 and Wale’s debut album, Attention Deficit. Most recently, he was touring with Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, and Trey Songz on The Blueprint 3 tour.
J. David Reeves
Blacks In Government (BIG)
A native of Columbus, Ohio, J. David Reeves is a member of the Senior Executive Service at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Throughout his career he has remained committed to serving under privileged communities. Prior to his current appointment, Reeves has served as the Director of the HUD Washington DC, Acting Director of Public Housing and the Acting Field Office Director for the HUD Los Angeles Field Office. In addition to his work with HUD Reeves is a life member and president of Blacks In Government (GIB) an advocacy organization representing more that 3.5 million African-American civilian and military employees at the Federal, State and local government levels nationwide.
J. Prince is the CEO of Houston-based Rap-A-Lot Records. Prince, who for 20 years has worked to promote Houston's rap scene and rap artists, is now working to promote underprivileged neighborhoods and communities. He recently broke ground on a community center he is building in his old 5th Ward neighborhood that will help young children, teens and adults to excel more in their lives.
Jacqueline Gray and Kevin Gray
Woman 2 Woman Breast Cancer Foundation
In 2007, alongside her husband, breast cancer survivor Jacqueline R. “Jackie” Gray founded the Woman2Woman Breast Cancer. The organization provides illuminating information and communal support, to facilitate crucial preventative care and clinical treatment, and provide the necessary nurturing to women of all socio-economic backgrounds and insurance coverage levels. Recently named one of Ebony magazine’s Power 100 (January, 2011) as an emerging leader in health, Jacqueline has provided assistance to thousands of individuals whose lives are affected by breast cancer.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Actor, Artist, Film and TV Producer
Jada Pinkett -Smith is an American actress, producer, director, author, singer-songwriter and businesswoman. Along with her husband Will, she founded the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, a charity organization which focuses on urban inner city youth and family support. The foundation has worked with non-profit organizations, such as YouthBuild and the Lupus Foundation of America.
Son of former #1 overall pick Jimmy Walker, Jalen Rose has a long list of athletic accomplishments. Currently retired, he was a member of the University of Michigan Wolverines’ “Fab Five.” In addition to his work on the court, Rose is also known for his philanthropic efforts. He contributes to inner city youth by helping to build reading centers. He has also given Dikembe Mutombo a check for $100,000 to help with the construction of an operating room for the hospital Mutumbo built in the Congo. Now, Rose has become a community activist and a contributing editor of the Huffington Post.
Actor / Singer / Comedian
Jamie Foxx, is an American actor, singer-songwriter, stand-up comedian, and talk radio host. As an actor, his work in the film Ray earned him the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Actor as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a musical/comedy. He is also a Grammy Award winning musician, producing three albums which have charted highly on the Billboard 200: Unpredictable, which topped the chart, Best Night of My Life and Intuition.
Janelle Monáe, singer, songwriter, dancer, and performer, is currently signed to and Bad Boy/Atlantic Records. She is the founder of the Wondaland Arts Society and received the Vanguard Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers at the Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in 2010.
Jasiri X is President of LYRICS Inc. and successfully navigates communication with youth and adults showing the pros and cons of this growing phenomenon called Hip-Hop. He recently became the first Hip-Hop artist to receive the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Fellowship. Jasiri released his debut album AMERICAN HISTORY X in 2009, which featured an all-star lineup of international producers and made several best of 2009 lists and was named Album of the Year at the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards.
Earth Day Pledge:
For Earth Day, I plan to continue to raise awareness about the need to turn much of the abandoned land in our communities into the hands of its residents. I envision a community that can begin to turn these abandoned lands into vibrant community gardens or hoop houses that can improve the quality of the soil, provide much needed fresh vegetation to communities that are far to often food deserts, and positively effect the economy of the neighborhood by beautifying it and producing businesses. I will continue to be an advocate for our community, especially for our youth, working to ensure that they have access to the many opportunities the environmental movement can provide.
Jason Few is President of Reliant Energy and Senior Vice President of Retail NRG. He is responsible for leading all factors of Reliant's retail business. Few's successful track record running and launching new businesses, leading large global teams and bringing new technologies to market is ideal for leading NRG's retail business. He serves on the board of directors of Syniverse Holdings, Inc. and the board of trustees of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago.
Using an innovative blend of Biblical text, hip-hop, poetry, and pop culture, Reverend Jawanza Karriem Lightfoot Colvin is a pastor of the 21st century. Within the past year, Colvin's modern appeal has brought 600 new members to the Cleveland's Olivet Institutional Baptist Church and has expanded the reach of the parish's community service efforts, with more than 50 spiritually-based programs in the greater Cleveland region.
Jay Electronica is a rapper and an official member of Jay-Z's Roc Nation. He built his reputation via the Internet and word of mouth, without so much as a single commercial release to his credit. He has yet to release a full-length album, but he has released two official singles to date, "Exhibit A" and "Exhibit C," which won a Sucker Free Summit Award for Instant Classic.
Shawn Corey Carter, better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $450 million as of 2010. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving thirteen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. Jay-Z recently launched a new website Lifeandtimes.com.
Jeff’s Nation, LLC
Jeff Johnson is a Washington DC, journalist, social activist and political commentator. A regular on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, Johnson has served as Senior Advisor for Media and Youth Outreach for People for the American Way (YP4), National Director of the Youth & College division of the NAACP and Vice President of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN). In September 2009, Jeff released his first book Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am.
Singer / Actress
Underdog Jennifer Hudson, rose to fame through her strong soulful vocals, landing her a leading role in the movie, Dreamgirls. Hudson made the role her own delivering the same heart-breaking, gut-wrenching one-two punch that made Holliday the toast of Broadway in 1981. She copped awards from the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics, Phoenix Film Critics Society, Golden Satellite, Golden Globe, the British Film and the coveted Oscar.
Before continuing his artistic career, Jermaine Dupri opened a small bodega, "Rap Corna Guuds". He later formed the teen duo Kris Kross (Chris Kelly and Chris Smith) after meeting the boys at a local mall in 1991. Later Dupri established his own record label called So So Def Recordings in 1993. Shortly after he discovered female R&B group Xscape at a festival in Atlanta and signed them to the newly minted label. Dupri later switched to Arista Records. Jermaine worked on Mariah Carey's recent Christmas album, Merry Christmas II You, as well as with Weezer and Lil Wayne on the song "Can't Stop Partying."
Senior Executive for Global Strategies
Dedicated to fighting for environmental justice, Jerome C. Ringo, the former President of Apollo Alliance, stands with organized business, labor, and civil rights leaders to free the U.S. From foreign oil. He is constantly lobbying for clean energy alternatives, and ways to create green jobs. Ringo believes that environmentalists and corporate interests need to be united as equals to create a better society.
John Boyd Jr
National Black Farmers Association
After being denied a loan based on his race, John Boyd Jr., a fourth generation farmer from Virginia, stood up for his rights and filed a discrimination complaint with the USDA. In result he uncovered an enormous backlog of unresolved discrimination cases. With no existing organization to turn to, John formed his own, National Black Farmers Association and remains a tireless advocate for farmers.
John Hope Bryant
Founder, Chairman and CEO
John Hope Bryant is a financial literacy and poverty eradication activist, and "silver rights" entrepreneur. Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of nonprofit Operation HOPE, member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability and co-founder of Global Dignity. He is a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders for the World Economic Forum, and a place on the Forum’s Global Agenda Council. He served as the vice chair on the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and as the chairman of the Committee on the Underserved.
John Legend is the recipient of nine Grammy Awards, and in 2007, received the special Starlight award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. With a long list of philanthropic endeavors, Legend most reecently gave AIDS Service Center NYC permission to remix his song "If You're Out There" to create a music video promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and testing.
Management Leadership for Tomorrow
John Rice is the founder of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a national non-profit organization that equips under-represented minorities with the skills, career roadmap, coaching and door-opening relationships that are required to become high-impact leaders. MLT serves 2,000 students and professionals nationwide and is the #1 source of minority talent at the nation’s top MBA programs and at many of its blue-chip partner companies including Goldman Sachs, Google, PepsiCo, McKinsey, and Target.
President and CEO
President and CEO of TV One, Johnathan Rodgers is able to showcase a broad range of real-life and entertainment programming designed to enlighten, entertain, inform and inspire a diverse audience of adult African American viewers. In 2009, Rodgers has been named to the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and honored with a Trumpet Award, created to celebrate and honor African-American achievers in diverse fields including law, medicine, business, politics and entertainment.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
President and CEO
Thurgood Marshall College Fund / Education
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. travels the world extensively as a business leadership speaker and human resource thought leader and has made appearances on The Today Show, CNBC, Reuters, HR Magazine, CBS Evening News, Time, Fortune, and The Wall Street Journal. Taylor serves as the President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the only national organization to provide merit scholarships, programmatic and capacity building support to our country’s 47 Public Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 6 Historically Black Law Schools and their 235,000 students.
Kaiama Glover, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of French and Africana Studies Program
Barnard College, Columbia University
Kaiama L. Glover is an Assistant Professor in the French Department and the Africana Studies Program at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her essay on the novels of the Haitian Spiralists appeared in the fall of 2005 in a volume of collected essays titled Haiti: Writing under Siege, and her article on the "usefulness" of the Haitian zombie as literary metaphor was recently published in the Journal of Haitian Studies.
State of California
Affectionally called "female Barack Obama," Kamala Devi Harris is the first female, African-American, and Asian-American attorney general in California and the first Indian-American attorney general in the United States. Harris attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and received her Juris Doctor (JD) from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1989. Now as attorney general of California, Harris has made headlines in addressing policy surrounding the death penalty, hate crimes and civil rights.
American icon Kanye West, was born in Atlanta, Georgia and later moved to Chicago, Illinois. Before being launched into superstardom, West attended art classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and also enrolled at Chicago State University. In 2003, West started the "Kanye West Foundation" in Chicago and is regularly engaged with philanthropic events including: community work for Hurricane Katrina relief, the Millions More Movement, 100 Black Men of America, a Live Earth concert benefit, World Water Day rally and march, Nike runs, and a MTV special helping young Iraq War veterans who struggle through debt and PTSD.
La Verde Garden Coaliltion
Karen Washington, a community activist since 1985, is a member of the New York Botanical Garden's Board and president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. She works with neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens and speaks out for garden protection and preservation. In aim of helping New Yorkers grow more food and build healthier neighborhoods she launched a Farmers Market, bringing garden grown and farm fresh vegetables to her inner-city residents.
Campus Campaign Coordinator
Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative
Kari Fulton works to support and mobilize diverse youth organizations by building awareness of the connection between environmental and social justice issues. Fulton was a member of the planning committee for Power Shift 2007 and Power Shift 2009. Currently, Fulton acts as a spokesperson for the Energy Action Coalition and is a senior fellow with Young People for the American Way (YP4).
Earth Day Pledge:
"In my world everyday is Earth Day, but if I had to say I would do anything special it would be signing up for an emergency prep course. The path to climate justice starts by being prepared for the impacts of climate change. It is expected to be a heavy hurricane season this year so now would be a great time to get ready. Checktheweather.tv"
Karol Watson, M.D.
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Karol E. Watson, MD, PhD, is board certified in the fields of internal medicine and cardiology. She currently practices as a cardiologist at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Watson received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, magna cum laude, and her PhD in physiology from UCLA.
SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer
Kathleen Wilson-Thompson is the Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Vice President at Walgreen Co. and Director of Vulcan Materials Company. She is responsible for the strategy and delivery of all human resources related activities at the nation's largest drugstore chain.
Kathy N. Waller
VP & Controller
Kathy Waller is currently VP and Controller for The Coca-Cola Company and is a member of the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She is a member of the Catalyst Board of Advisors, the Board of Trustees of the University of Rochester and the Board of Trustees of Spelman College. She is the current president of the University of Rochester Alumni National Council and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta.
Merck and Co., Inc.
Ken Frazier currently leads Merck's three major divisions: Global Human Health, Manufacturing, and Research Laboratories. A major business leader, Frazier sits on the boards of Exxon Mobil Corporation, The Pennsylvania State University and Cornerstone Christian Academy in Philadelphia, PA. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Council of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association.
Kenneth I. Chenault
Kenneth I. Chenault has been the CEO and Chairman of American Express since 2001. He is the third African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He is currently co-chair of the Business Roundtable, a director at IBM, and a member at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1995, Ebony listed him as one of 50 "living pioneers" in the African-American community. Chenault was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2008, he gave the commencement address at Howard University.
Known for her starring role in Ray, Kerry Washington is an actress that has been featured in critically acclaimed independent films Our Song and The Dead Girl. Washington has also spent time volunteering through the Adopt-a-Classroom program in New York as well as with Co-Op America, now known as Green America. She stated in an Ebony interview, "Whether it's buying recycled toothbrushes or shopping at a local organic fruit market or changing the light bulbs. Taking tiny steps can help in a huge way."
Music Executive and Author
Committed to youth, Kevin Liles is the lead for two foundations: The Make It Happen Foundation and The Kevin Liles For A Better Baltimore Foundation. An accomplished author, Liles speaks often to his professional journey from “an unpaid intern to president.” Former Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group, Liles currently serves as board member/ advisor to Ogilvy & Mather diversity board, New Yorkers For Children, Junior Achievement of New York, The Executive Leadership Council, The SEED School of Maryland, Harbor Bank, and HealthCorps.
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, aka Kid Cudi is a rapper and actor who first gained attention after the release of his debut mixtape “A Kid Named Cudi. The mixtape features a guest appearance from Wale and caught the attention of Kanye West which spawned his signing to the GOOD Music Label. Kid Cudi was featured in XXL magazine, Complex magazine, The Source magazine, and Rolling Stone magazine.
SVP, President, Snacks Unlimited
Kim Nelson is senior vice president of External Relations, a role she assumed in 2010. Nelson previously was president of the General Mills Snacks Unlimited division, where she was responsible for the profitable growth of some of America’s favorite snack brands, including Nature Valley granola bars, Betty Crocker fruit snacks and Chex Mix. Nelson is an active member of the General Mills community and was a founding member of both the Black Champions Network and the Women in Marketing Network. Those organizations focus on enhancing the experiences of African-Americans and women within General Mills.
President and CEO
National Black MBA Association
Kimberly Corbin currently serves as the President and CEO of the National Black MBA Association. In addition to her tenure with the NBMBAA she held executive-level positions at American Capital, LTD, General Electric Commercial Finance, Inc., Fieldstone Private Capital Group, and Bankers Trust Company. Corbin received her MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and an undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University.
CEO & Founder
KWK Enterprise, Inc.
Kittie Weston-Knauer is President and Executive Director of KWK Enterprise, Inc., an educational consulting firm specializing in the development of student-centered educational programs, providing guidance in the development of holistic professional development programs, assisting with the development of policies and procedures that support educational programs, and facilitating the development and implementation of charter schools.
L. Londell McMillan
The NorthStar Group
Cornell graduate, L. Londell McMillan is a partner and co-head of the Media and Entertainment Global Industry Sector Group at the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf. He is also owner and Group Publisher of The NorthStar Group, which publishes Jones Magazine and The Source Magazine. McMillan also serves on the board of the Jazz Foundation of America, helping blues and jazz musicians find performance opportunities.
NBA Player, Founder
Miami Heat, Lebron James Family Foundation
Currently playing on the Miami Heat, Lebron James is a professional basketball player that has made great efforts to give back to his community. He established the LeBron James Family Foundation in 2004 with his mother Gloria to help out children and single-parent families in need. Among its many programs, the organization builds playgrounds in economically disadvantaged areas and hosts an annual bikeathon.
Leslie G. Fields, Esq
National Environmental Justice Director
A leader in energy change, Leslie G. Fields, Esq., National Environmental Justice Director for the Sierra Club, is also an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law, co-teaching international environmental law and co-coordinator of the Environmental Law Clinical Externship. She formerly served as International Director of Friends of the Earth-U.S., and has worked with community groups, nonprofits, the private sector and all levels of government. She focuses on the intersection of international environmental justice, democracy, corporate and civic governance and globalization.
President & CEO
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
Lezli Baskerville is the fifth President and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO),the national membership and advocacy association for the nation’s 120 historically and predominately black colleges and universities. She is a seasoned lawyer, government relations and equity professional, and association senior executive who is a recognized expert on equal employment opportunity, education access, affirmative action and diversity issues.
Exuberant, loud-mouthed, and regularly adorned with a
jeweled chalice in hand, Lil Jon was the charismatic figurehead of the Dirty
South CRUNK movement that arose from the Atlanta area during the turn of the
century. Born Jonathan Smith on January 27, 1971 rapper now producer Lil Jon began
his rap industry ascension as part of Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label, for
which he worked from 1993 to 2000. Lil Jon’s creativity has led him to
appearing in five videos games, and 10 film/TV appearances including The Celebrity Apprentice.
Lil Wayne is a multi-platinum rap artist tired to uplifting his community. In 2008, Lil Wayne introduced his nonprofit the One Family Foundation. Set with a mission to “empower urban youth,” the One Family Foundation works with educators to cultivate young peoples' talents and skills.
The City of Harrisburg, PA
In 2010, Linda D. Thompson became Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s first African American woman mayor. An alumna of Howard University, Thompson was elected to serve on the Harrisburg City Council in 2001 and was re-elected and appointed President of City Council in 2005. A robust and growing city, Harrisburg is home for almost 50 thousand residents and more than 7,000 business including Tyco Electronics, EDS, IBM, Hershey Foods, Harsco Corporation, and the Rite Aid Corporation.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Lisa P. Jackson leads EPA’s efforts to protect the health and environment for all Americans. As the first African-American to serve as the EPA administrator, she has pledged to focus on core issues of protecting air and water quality, preventing exposure to toxic contamination in our communities, and reducing greenhouse gases. Jackson has made it a priority to focus on vulnerable groups including children, the elderly, and low-income communities that are particularly susceptible to environmental and health threats.
Lisa Leslie is a retired WNBA and USA Olympic team basketball player. She is the first woman to slam-dunk in a professional game and the first team sport athlete to win four consecutive Olympic Gold Medals and was also first WNBA player to win the regular season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP in the same season. In 2001, she led the Los Angeles Sparks to their first WNBA victory.
EVP & COO
The RLJ Cos.
Ms. Pickrum is the Director of DeVry and is the Executive Vice President and CEO of The RLJ Companies, she served as the primary RLJ fundraiser for a $610 million money management fund while managing a hotel development project in West Africa. Her experience as a senior business executive in private equity, gives her an important perspective on financial and regulatory matters.
CEO & Founder
Since Lisa Price opened Carol's Daughter in 1999, an ever-growing number of celebrities have flocked to the boutique for its all-natural, hand crafted body-care products. Now, with the release of her courageous, tell-all memoir, "Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion," Price tells her roadmap in achieving success via following her passion.
WYZ GIRL Entertainment Consulting, LLC
Lita Rosario is currently the President/CEO of WYZ GIRL Entertainment Consulting, LLC, Rosario began her entertainment career as founder of University Music Group, Inc., and has represented multi-platinum recording artists including Dru Hill, Sisqo and MYA. An advocate for protecting music artists, Rosario has lobbied Congress on copyright law issues. Prior to her work in entertainment, Rosario, served as an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s Department of Mass Media Visual and Performing Arts.
American rapper and actor Ludacris has had a long, successful career, and has used his fame to give back. The Ludacris Foundation, started by him and Disturbing tha Peace CEO Chaka Zulu, is an organization that helps middle and high school students motivate themselves in creative arts. Ludacris’ enthusiasm for children and their artistic development will help us to have innovative leadership in the future.
Born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, Lupe Fiasco is a rapper, artist, producer and CEO of “1st and 15th Entertainment”. He rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his critically acclaimed debut album, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor. Fiasco has pursued other business ventures, including fashion. He runs two clothing lines, "Righteous Kung-Fu" and "Trilly & Truly"; he has also designed sneakers for Reebok. In addition to making money he gives. Throughout his career, Lupe Fiasco has participated charitable events, including the Summit on the Summit expedition while recording a benefit single for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Fomer NBA Player, CEO
Magic Johnson Enterprises
Rated as one of the greatest point guards of all time, retired basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. spends his time serving as a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. In addition to owning Magic Johnson Enterprises, a company with a net worth of $700 million, he has been an activist for helping all people to understand the effects of HIV/AIDS.
Malik Yusef is a spoken word artist, poet, musician, and film producer. A community leader in Chicago, Yusef has created several initiatives ncluding ‘For Yourself Foundation,’ a program designed to help combat illiteracy, ‘Girl Power’ a non-profit aimed towards uplifting and empowering young females and the ‘Drop Squad,’ consisting of a team who work to clean trash and debris off neighborhood streets.
Mara Brock Akil
Writer / Producer
An LA native, Akil graduated Northwestern University, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She began her writing career on Fox's critically acclaimed South Central and later moved on to writing for Moesha, where she earned her Producer title after four seasons. Akil later served as Supervising Producer on the series The Jamie Foxx Show before her claim to fame as the creator of Girlfriends (2000), in which she and Kelsey Grammer executive produced.
CEO & Founder
Self taught entrepreneur, Marc Barnes started his career operating a courier business from the ages of 19-28. He entered the entertainment industry as a manager of famous D.C. social-spot, Republic Gardens only to later purchase the club and continue promoting the Gardens as a trendy dance club. Seizing opportunity Barnes ventured into a distressed Northeast Washington neighborhood to purchase a dilapidated warehouse to create his "Dream" nightclub. After investing more than $8 million in rennovations, Dream Nightclub boasts nightly traffic of 5,000 guests, the location hosts events ranging from DNC fundraisers to celebrity birthday bashes.
President and CEO
National Urban League
As both politician and leader of the National Urban League, Marc H. Morial has dedicated himself to helping others by serving two terms as mayor of New Orleans. He put in place a series of anti-crime measures, reformed the police department, and captured federal funding for other programs, Morial and his administration have set in motion a precipitous drop in violent crime in urban areas.
Marcus Samuelsson, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Aquavit, furthers his commitment to children by acting as the official spokesperson U.S. Fund for UNICEF. As an ambassador for the cause, he will help provide support for tuberculosis initiatives in developing countries—an issue close to his heart, and the very disease that robbed him of his birth parents. Most recently, Samuelsson conceived and spearheaded the first annual “Gourmet/UNICEF Trick-or-Treat” program, which brought on board restaurants across the country to donate $1.00 per diner to UNICEF on Halloween.
Food and Drug Administration
Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., is currently the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. She is the second woman to be nominated the position. Prior to her work with the FDA, Dr. Hamburg's accomplishments included her position as New York's top public health official where she improved services for women and children, implemented needle-exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV, and the created the first public health bio-terrorism defense program in the nation.
Margot J. Copeland
The Links, Inc.
Understanding that business and community prosperity go hand in hand, Margot James Copeland serves as the Executive Vice President - Director, Corporate Diversity & Philanthropy and an Executive Council member at KeyCorp; one of the nation's largest bank-based multiline financial services companies. Copeland leads Key's commitment to transforming and sustaining communities, guiding the company's strategic philanthropic investment, financial education and workforce development programs that encourage people to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Mario Van Peebles
Actor / Director
Son of filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, Mario Van Peebles is famous actor and director who has made his impact through a number of Hollywood films. He believes in helping minorities to improve their overall health. In a Washington Post interview, Peebles stated, "The people who tend to get hit first and worst are often African-American, Hispanic and lower-income white folks. They're in the areas where the cell phone towers are, where the toxic dumps are, where the levees tend to break, where there are low tax bases and a disproportionate amount of per capita pollution.”
Take A Break
Marion Jones is a former world champion track and field athlete. Now a player for the WNBA, Jones sought to take her experiences and encourage others to learn from them. She is actively speaking to teens and other groups and spreading her "Take a Break" message through which she advices young people to stop, take a break, think and seek proper advice from people you trust and who have your best interests at heart before making critical decisions that will have a profound impact on their lives. In short, Marion encourages young and older people alike to stay on track and just do what's right.
Mark Kelly Tyler
Clark Atlanta graduate, Dr. Mark Tyler currently is an Itinerant Elder in the AMEC. He serves as the 52nd pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church on the corner of 6th and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia, the oldest continuously owned property by African-Americans. Dr. Tyler is also an adjunct faculty member for Payne Theological Seminary, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Methodist Theological School in Ohio.
Marv Frazier is CCO of Moguldom Media Group, the parent company of Bossip.com, MadameNoire.com, BossipTwitter.com, HipHopWired.com and The Atlanta Post. The innovative company targets diverse segments of the black audience while developing new media outlets and marketing strategies for advertisers.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige is a singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. A recipient of ten Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards, Blige has recorded eight multi-platinum albums. Blige has received the World Music Legends Award for combining hip hop and soul in the early 1990s. As of 2010, Blige has sold over 50 million albums and 15 million singles.
An accomplished entertainment executive, attorney, author, conference organizer and television and film producer, Max Siegel is one of the most sought after persons in the entertainment industry. He served on the executive team that produced top gospel and pop artists including: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Sapp, John P. Kee, Vikki Winans, Kelly Price and more. With more than 15 years of brokering deals and project management, Siegel is known for his sharp and savvy business expertise.
Having played an important role in the development of neo-soul, Maxwell is a R&B artist who has defined an entire genre. Heavily inspired by the sound of classic soul music, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite did not catch on with audiences until the release of its second single, "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)," which became a hit. Recently, Maxwell received six nominations for the 2010 Grammy Awards, including "Best R&B Album" for BLACKsummers'night and "Best Male R&B Vocal Performance" for "Pretty Wings".
Mayor Dana Redd
City of Camden, NJ
Former Vice Chairman of Camden City Council Dana L. Redd, serves as liaison to the Finance Committees and is a member of the Public Works and Administration Committees. Ms. Redd is very passionate about empowering the lives of others. In suit she has served as a member of the New Jersey Redistricting Commission and has volunteered her time and talents for a number of organizations throughout the New Jersey including the American Red Cross Camden County, Chapter Good Neighbor Awards Dinner Committee, the Camden County Board of Social Services, the Camden Eye Center, Virtua Health Foundation Board of Trustees, and Fairview Main Street Board of Directors.
Mayor Dwight Jones
The City of Richmond, VA
Is an American politician and a Baptist minister. Rev. Dr. Jones, has lived in Richmond ever since attending Virginia Union University. He is currently senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of South Richmond. He became the Mayor of Richmond, Virginia in 2009. Prior to his position as Mayor, he was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 70th District 1994–2008.
Mayor Frank Jackson
The City of Cleveland
Vietnam Veteran, Mayor Frank G. Jackson, is the second sitting member of Cleveland City Council to ever become mayor. Prior to his tenure as Mayor, Jackson served as an Assistant City Prosecutor and was active in the community. He fought for the redevelopment of Arbor Park Place, and worked with the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. Now, as Mayor, Jackson is leading the way on ensuring that every child in the city has access to high quality educational opportunities, improving public safety, and revitalizing the city’s neighborhoods.
Mayor Mark Mallory
The City of Cincinnati
In step with his father, William L. Mallory Sr., who served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for more than 30 years; Mark Mallory is currently serving as the Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio. During his tenure, Mallory has pushed a diverse agenda and lists public safety, youth employment, and economic development as some of his top priorities. Mayor Mallory is active in the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is a member of the National Conference of Black Mayors. Mallory funds and encourages the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence program and has helped reduce homicides and group-related violence in Cincinnati.
Mayor Melvin "Kip" Holden
The City of Baton Rouge
Melvin L. "Kip" Holden is the first African American Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish. He is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition and has worked in politics for more than 20 years. Starting as an EBR Parish Metro-Councilman in 1984, Holden’s leadership now focuses on public safety and has completed 13 projects aimed at improving transportation.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray
The District of Columbia
Mayor Vincent C. Gray is currently the sixth elected Mayor of the District of Columbia. A native Washingtonian, Vince Gray has tirelessly advocated for the residents of D.C. for more than thirty years. His dedication to children and their families has been the hallmark of his service in both city government and the non-profit sector. His lifetime of public service to the District can be best summed up by a singular governing philosophy—that the District of Columbia works best as "One City."
Executive Director & CEO
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Melanie L. Campbell is the president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable Intergenerational Public Policy Network. Ms. Campbell has served in the civil rights, social justice, youth and women’s rights movement for more than 20 years. As a is a civil rights leader, Campbell give focus to social and economic justice movement and is known for her powerful ability to build diverse coalitions that bring people together for the common good.
Melissa E. James
Melissa E. James runs the loan products group at Morgan Stanley. She has responsibility for managing the origination of more than $50 billion of loan commitments for the firm’s clients. James is also a member of Morgan Stanley’s capital commitment committee.
Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies
Melissa Harris-Perry is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of the award-winning book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought; and she is currently at work on a new book, Sister Citizen: A Text For Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn't Enough. This award-winning author and appears regularly on MSNBC and other media outlets.
Ariel Investments L.L.C.
Mellody Hobson serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust. Ms. Hobson has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. She regularly contributes on Good Morning America, Tom Joyner’s Money Mondays radio program and is a regular columnist for Black Enterprise. Ms. Hobson also serves on the boards of various civic organizations including the Chicago Public Library, The Field Museum, The Chicago Public Education Fund and the Sundance Institute.
Melvin P. Foote
Constituency for Africa
Mr. Melvin P. Foote is a pioneer in the field of African Affairs with more than 35 years of experience spanning over 30 African countries. He is recognized as a leading expert on issues related to African policies and programs. Mr. Foote founded the Constituency for Africa (CFA) to establish a network of organizations, groups and individuals committed to the progress and empowerment of Africa and African people worldwide.
Michael B. Coleman
The City of Columbus
Michael B. Coleman is the first African-American mayor of Columbus, Ohio. He is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." As a public leader Mayor Coleman, continues to look for new ways to severe Ohioans and was a member of the city council prior to his mayorship.
The Michael Baisden Show
In addition to being a radio host, Michael Baisden is also a renown author, motivational speaker, and television host. Taking social action, he passionately and skillfully spearheaded the famous Jena 6 March in Jena, Louisiana. This historic and momentous occasion garnered tens of thousands citizens of all races to peacefully marched in support of six young men who have been unfairly treated by the justice system. Baisden has used his career in media as a means to bring people together, and to improve others’ lives.
The White House
Michael Blake worked on the Obama for America campaign, first as Deputy Political Director and Constituency Outreach Director in Iowa and as Deputy Director and Political Director in Michigan. Prior to that, Blake was the Director of External Affairs for the Michigan House of Representatives. Blake is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism from Northwestern University. He is also an alumnus of the Yes We Can political training program in Washington, D.C. He started his political career as an assistant for Illinois State Senator Jeff Schoenberg.
Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D.
President & CEO
United Negro College Fund
Dr. Michael Lomax is the President and Chief Executive Officer of UNCF, the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and other educational support to minority and low-income students. Throughout his career, he has worked to provide educational opportunities for underrepresented Americans. Dr. Lomax oversees UNCF’s 400 scholarship programs, including the UNCF Gates Millennium Scholars Program, a 20-year, $1.6 billion program whose 14,000 low-income minority recipients have a 90 percent college graduation rate.
One out of eleven other siblings, Michael Oher, has fought through a hard personal struggle to become successful. Author Michael Lewis released a book titled “The Blind Side,” which detailed Oher’s life from foster child to college football star. In the 2009 NFL Draft, Michael Oher was selected 23rd overall by the Baltimore Ravens. He started all 16 games for the Ravens and helped the team reach the playoffs.
The United States of America
First Lady Michelle Obama recently launched the Let’s Move! campaign to bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in order to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity. She has also received attention by planting an organic garden and installing bee hives on the South Lawn of the White House, which will supply organic produce and honey to the First Family and for state dinners and other official gatherings.
Mirian M. Graddick-Weir
Executive Vice President
Dr. Mirian M. Graddick-Weir serves as Executive Vice President, Human Resources of Merck & Co., Inc. Prior to Merck & Co., she was Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Employee Communications at AT&T, and held several other senior Human Resources leadership positions at AT&T for more than 20 years.
Mo'Nique, an American comedienne and actress, has won numerous awards including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award. She is the sixteenth African American actress to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and the fourth to win. Overall, Mo'Nique is the twelfth individual African-American to win an Oscar for acting; and the seventh winner during the decade of the 2000s. She hosts The Mo'Nique Show, a late-night talk show that premiered in 2009 on BET.
Monique Harden is an attorney at Earth Justice, a Non-profit environmental law firm dedicated to protecting the natural environment. A compassionate activist, Harden coordinates community organizing among residents who live on the fenceline with toxic industries. She is a long-time resident of Louisiana who has been an active voice throughout the BP disaster. Her advocacy work has been featured in television, radio and print news, as well as books, magazines, and documentaries.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Morgan Freeman has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern U.S. cinema. He has received his fourth Oscar nomination and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Million Dollar Baby. He recently told Grist Magazine, "I think we should be developing every kind of alternative fuel that is available to us. That includes hydrogen to soybeans, from solar to wind.” His stance on alternative energy is an inspiration to all of those who want to change their environment.
Brooklyn native, Mos Def has defined a generation of conscious hip-hop through his lyrical abilities and social activism. Acclaimed for his screen work and his music, he has made it a point to speak on controversial political topics. His Filmography, includes more than two-dozen appearances earning him an Emmy in 2004.
Mwende Window Snyder
Chief Security Officer
Mwende Window Snyder is a security and privacy product manager at Apple Inc. Snyder's career path includes co-founding a security company and consultant work at “At Stake”, a private company later sold to Symantec for $49 million in 2004. She is co-author of Threat Modeling, a standard manual on application security.
Player/ Rhodes Scholar
The Myron L. Role Foundation
Bahamian-American football safety for the Tennessee Titans, Myron Rolle. After playing college football at Florida State. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and studied at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University for the 2009–10 academic year in order to earn an MSc in medical anthropology. Rolle was raised in Galloway, New Jersey where in 2009, December 10th was decreed "Myron Rolle Day".
San Francisco Bay Area native, Mystic started her career touring with Digital Underground. After earning a solo contract with Goodvibe Recordings in 2000 she released her debut album, Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom. In addition to her work in the underground hip-hop scene, Mystic’s work has been featured by ESPN and Bud Light.
Earth Day Pledge:
In celebration of Earth Day 2011, I will be helping facilitate arts and crafts, based on recyclables, at Earth Day South LA. Earth Day is celebrated around the world but it remains crucial that it be enjoyed, and used as a way of sharing information, in our Black and Brown communities. I can think of no better way to celebrate Earth Day than to be creative with children and dream about our future.
Son of a jazz and blues musician from Mississippi, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as “Nas”, is an active member of hip-hop politics and speaks about injustice in his music and community work. In result His opinion and commentary has been featured by Fox News, and The Colbert Report.
Off the beaten path of her first ambition to become a lawyer, Natasha Eubanks followed her passion and landed her self on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine for her gossip blog, Young Black and Fabulous. Eubanks is a Texas A&M University graduate and enjoys more than 15 million page views per month. In 2009, revenues for YBF were $1 million, 90 percent of which were generated from advertisers.
Seductive vocalist Ne-Yo got his start in the music industry as an inventive, chart-topping songwriter. Prior to his stardom he wrote lyrics for dozens of artists including: Rihanna, Beyonce Knowles, Mario Vazquez, Paula Deanna, and Leona Lewis. A strong performer, Ne-Yo’s has several movie credits including Save the Last Dance 2, Stomp the Yard, and Battle: Los Angeles.
Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ph.D.
Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History
Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ph.D. is an American astrophysicist, science communicator, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. Since 2006 he has hosted the educational science television show NOVA scienceNOW on PBS, and has been a frequent guest on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Jeopardy!
Nelly is a producer, rapper and an actor. He won Grammy Awards in 2003 and 2004 and had a supporting role in The Longest Yard. He has two clothing lines, Vokal and Apple Bottoms and is one of the best-selling male artists in American music history, with 21 million albums sold in the United States. On December 11, 2009, Billboard ranked Nelly the #3 Top Artist of the Decade.
Multi-talented star Nick Cannon was was introduced to the entertainment industry as a dancer on Soul Train and as a standup comedian in Los Angeles. Since then, he’s starred in many movies and television shows like, My Cousin Skeeter, Drumline, All That, and Love Don’t Cost A Thing. His work in television has entertained young people all around the country.
Latest female rap star, Nicki Minaj continues to set trends and inspire others. She is considering several acting roles which includes playing the lead character of Erica Payne in the film adaptation of the six time Essence’s best bestselling novel “Charge it to the Game” by author Michele A. Fletcher. The evolution of Nicki Minaj continues as she exploits her talents as a singer and explores her past.
Nicole Lee is the first female President of TransAfrica Forum, an organization which promotes justice and progress for the international African community. Ms Lee has testified before Congress on the issues of aid and food security for the continent of Africa. In addition, she regularly briefs policy makers on key issues facing the African world. She has appeared on ABC’s 20/20, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, National Public Radio, BBC television and radio, Democracy Now and numerous radio stations around the globe.
Kim Sharpton, better known as NYOIL has made headlines for his controversial rap lyrics and themes. Motivated by the history of the African American struggle, NYOIL continues to produce music that sparks political conversation.
Omar Epps is an actor, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Since 2004, he has starred as Dr. Eric Foreman on the Fox medical drama series House for which he received an NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series". A family man, Epps is often spotted at charitable events and is married to Keisha Spivey from the R&B group total.
Green Worker Cooperatives
Omar Freilla has been named one of "The New School members of Activists Most Likely to change New York City" by City Limits magazine. He is the founder and director of Green Worker Cooperatives (GWC), an organization dedicated to the creation of worker-owned and environmentally friendly businesses in the South Bronx. Through GWC, he is working to develop a building materials reuse cooperative and an eco-industrial park in the South Bronx that will create a new generation of "green collar" jobs and reduce the generation and export of waste.
OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network
Oprah Winfrey is an American television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, best known for the “Oprah Winfrey Show” A politically-minded leader, Oprah, shares her ideas and insights via her magazine, website, talk-show and network.
Ouiji "The Bearded Man" Thedore
Creative Director/ Founder
Founder of The Brooklyn Circus, Ouija Theodore has extended the definition of streetwear and urban fashion. In the past, he has consulted on campaigns for Hennessy, Toyota and Casio. He was also a presenter at the PSFK Conference, a trending summit in New York. Mr. Theodore’s sensibility and style crosses the lines of culture, class, race and generations.
Pastor A.R. Bernard
Founder and CEO
Christian Cultural Center
A.R. Bernard is founder and CEO of Christian Cultural Center and is also the President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York. He sits on the NYC Economic Development Corporation Board; NYC School Chancellor’s Advisory Cabinet and served on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2001 Transition Team. In 1993, Bernard founded Brooklyn Preparatory School, a premiere early childhood education institution. He continues to revitalize communities; recently he partnered with Common Ground to build and develop affordable housing in the East New York/Canarsie section of Brooklyn.
Pastor Marvin A. Moss
Cascade United Methodist Church
Marvin Moss, the Senior Paster of Cascade United Methodist Church has extended his hand in social work all around the globe. He has completed two mission trips to Africa: Malawi in 2007 and Ghana in July 2008. Pastor Moss is also involved in the greater Atlanta community including: the Grady Health System Board of Visitors, the Regional Council of Churches, the Board of the Andrew & Walter Young Family YMCA and the Georgia Department of Corrections Faith and Community-Based Advisory Board.
Global Cosmetics and Creative Design Director
Pat McGrath was born and raised in Northampton, England. One of the most creative make-up artists of her generation, she began her career in 1990 after completing an art foundation course at Northampton College, and "grew up living and breathing fashion in a compulsively creative family". In a Vogue article in 2007 she was named the most influential make-up artist in the world and has worked with celebrities as diverse as Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cate Blanchett and Oprah Winfrey.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Department of Justice- Environment and Natural Resources Division
Patrice Simms is one of four deputy assistant attorney generals for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) and leads land acquisition and environmental defense sections of the ENRD.
Executive Vice President of Global Design
Having worked with Giorgio Armani, Anne Klein, and Paco Rabanne, Patrick Robinson is an accomplished fashion designer who has influenced American culture. Robinson has been a member of the Council of Fashion Designers since 1994 and was named one of Vogue's 100 rising stars in 1996. He currently holds the title of Head Designer for Gap, Inc.
Payne D. Brown
Payne Brown is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, at Comcast, one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. His purview includes developing Comcast's comprehensive diversity strategy, programming content and target marketing, public affairs, and implementing community investment initiatives. Brown previously served as Vice President of Labor and Community Outreach where he was responsible for labor and employment issues and serves as an advisory board member to several nonprofit organizations, including the Honickman Learning Center, YMCA Achievers, Philadelphia Outward Bound, and the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board.
Peniel Joseph, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Dr. Peniel E. Joseph is Professor of History at Tufts University and an award-winning author. He is a frequent national commentator on issues of race, democracy, and civil rights. Dr. Joseph’s views and opinion regulary appears on C-SPAN’s Book TV, NPR , and PBS’s NewsHour.
Green for All
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the Chief Executive Officer of Green For All. Under her leadership, Green For All has become one of the country’s leading advocates for a clean-energy economy, and one of its most important voices on the intersection of economics and environment. Phaedra has led Green For All to several groundbreaking policy victories at the federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level, she led a successful effort to include two key provisions in the House’s climate and energy bill: securing funding for job training, and guaranteeing broad.
Partner / Artist
Voted by Esquire magazine as the "Best Dressed Man in the World" Pharrell Williams’ charisma and style is present in his music and beyond. A creative business man, Pharrell teamed up with Japanese record producer Nigo and founded the clothing brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear. In 2008, Williams co-designed a jewelry line is called Blason, a series of glasses and jewelry for Louis Vuitton and has also produced furniture with French manufacturers Galerie Emmanuel and Domeau & Pérès. Making moves in the design industry has not slowed down Pharrell in his music career. In 2010 he composed a soundtrack for Dispicable Me and will be featured on Gucci Mane's new album "The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted” on a track titled Haterade with Nicki Minaj.
Actor / Artist
Born Dana Owens, on March 18, 1970, New Jersey native, Queen Latifah is face of CoverGirl cosmetics and the epitome of today’s renaissance woman. Starting with her first album “All Hail the Queen” (1989) Queen Latifah is an American trendsetter for Women rappers all over the world. In addition to her history making music career, Queen Latifah a celebrated actress and has appeared in more than 30 films and garners a dozen television roles.
Born Ahmir Khalib Thompson, Questlove is an avid blogger via Twitter and is currently the drummer for the Grammy Award-winning band The Roots, which is now the in-house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. A native of Philadelphia, Questlove began performing on South Street. In addition to his accomplished music career, Questlove has worked with Nike to design the Questlove x Nike 1World Air Force 1 shoe.
R. Donahue Peebles
CEO and Founder
The Peebles Corporation
Real estate entrepreneur, author and political activist Roy Peebles is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Peebles Corp., the largest African American real estate development and ownership company in the U.S. Peebles and his firm have been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and he appears regularly as a guest host or commentator on CNBC, CNN and Fox to advise on real estate, economic and political issues. He also has been recognized as the first African American to truly diversify South Florida's all-white ranks of developers.
The son of renowned jazz musician Abdul Wadud, Raheem DeVaughn grew up in Maryland and quickly found his way to the top through music. He also leads the DMV Movement, an artistic union of D.C.-Maryland and Virginia artists, including Wale and Phil Ade. DeVaughn has taken a philanthropical stance by partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to produce a series of PSAs about HIV/AIDS prevention.
Ralph B. Everett
President and CEO
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Currently serving as President and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Ralph B. Everett is widely acknowledged as the nation’s leading think tank for policy analysis and research on issues of concern to African Americans. His visionary plan of action is centered on launching three new Institutes, designed to strengthen the effectiveness and visibility of the Joint Center’s work. They include Institutes on Media and Technology, Civic Engagement and Governance, as well as Education Policy and Opportunity.
Rani G. Whitfield, M.D.
Hip Hop Doc
Rani G. Whitfield, M.D. is currently at work on The Five Points of Health, a practical guide on how American youth can take care of themselves and live healthy. Founder of the Hip Hop Health Coalition, Dr. Whitfield is an Ambassador for the American Heart Association and a Board Member for the organization's Southern Affiliates. He is also an active member of the American Academy for Family Practice (AAFP) and East Rouge Parish Medical Society (EBRPMS).
Known for his standard “old school” R&B style, Raphael Saadiq is a successful singer, songwriter, and record producer. He’s produced songs of such artists as Joss Stone, D'Angelo, TLC, Mary J. Blige, and John Legend. Saadiq's latest critically acclaimed album, The Way I See It, released on September 16, 2008, featuring artists Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone and Jay-Z, received three Grammy Award Nominations and was voted Best Album on iTunes of 2008.
Rebecca Naomi Jones
Born in New York City, Rebecca Jones was born into a musical family, and has loved acting since she was young. As also a photographer and musician, she has reveled in being able to express herself through art. Jones is currently in a play called Passing Strange that was commissioned by the Public Theater of New York.
U.S. Surgeon General
Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA is the 18th Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service. She provides the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. She is Founder and Former CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Alabama, former Associate Dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, and Past Chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. She received the papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Benedict.
Chief Education Correspondent
Rehema Ellis is NBC News’s Chief Education Correspondent and was an integral part of NBC’s first annual Education Nation summit that focused on the strengths and weaknesses of America’s education system. She a won an Emmy for her reporting on the 2008 Presidential Election of Barack Obama and has traveled to Zaire to report on the mass killings that left an estimated one million people dead in Rwanda. In addition to her traditional reporting, Ellis is also a digital journalist. Ellis shoots, blogs, writes for NBC on-line.
Rep Chaka Fattah (D - PA)
U.S. representative for Pennsylvania's 2nd Congressional District
Chaka Fattah is the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district and is a Senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee. He is Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies which oversees close to $70 billion in discretionary spending. Fattah also chairs the Congressional Urban Caucus, a bipartisan group of 57 Members representing America's metropolitan center, who work collaboratively with other stakeholders to address the unique challenges facing America's urban communities.
Rep. Al Green (D - TX)
U.S. Representative from Texas' 9th Congressional District
House of Representatives
As a veteran civil rights advocate, U.S. Representative Al Green has dedicated his life to fighting for those in society whose voices, too often, are not heard. His chief legislative priorities for the 112th Congress are rebuilding the American economy and stabilizing our housing market. He also co-founded the Black and Brown Coalition with Judge Armando Rodriguez. This organization brings together Houston's African American and Hispanic communities to work on issues of common interest.
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D - Fl)
U.S. Representative for Florida's 23rd Congressional District
Alcee Hastings has distinguished himself as an attorney, civil rights activist, judge, and now Member of Congress. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, he became the first African-American Federal Judge in the State of Florida, and served in that position for 10 years.Throughout his lifetime, Congressman Hastings has championed the rights of minorities, women, the elderly, children, and immigrants.
Rep. André Carson (D - IN)
U.S. Representative for Indiana's 7th Congressional District
Rep. André D. Carson is the U.S. Representative for Indiana's 7th congressional district. He is the grandson of his predecessor, former U.S. Representative Julia Carson (1938–2007) and is one of two Muslims serving in the U.S. Congress. On June 26, 2009, Carson voted to pass H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which seeks to comprehensively address the effects of climate change by funding development of alternative energy technologies and implementing a cap and trade system.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D - CA)
U.S. Representative for California's 9th Congressional District
Rep. Barbara Lee currently represents California’s 9th Congressional and is dedicated to social and economic justice, international peace, and civil and human rights. Her accomplishments are many, including co-authoring legislation that created the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, and the position of Special Advisor for Orphans and Vulnerable Children. She has also secured millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS prevention, education, treatment and care service.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D - MS)
U.S. Representative for Mississippi's 2nd congressional district
Congressman Bennie G. Thompson is the U.S. Representative for Mississippi's 2nd congressional district, serving since 1993, and the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security since 2011. He is both the first Democrat and the first African American to chair the Homeland Security Committee in the House.
Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D - IL)
U.S. Representative for Illinois's 1st Congressional District
Rep. Bobby Lee Rush of Illinois’ 1st congressional district serves on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and is the lead Democrat on the Energy and Power Subcommittee where he serves as Ranking Member. Rush has focused on environmental and energy policies since his days as a member of the Illinois Black Panther Party and during the eight years he served on the Chicago City Council. Rush is a board member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and has a solid track record as a fighter for environmental justice. He works tirelessly to ensure that low-income families and communities do not bear the disproportionate burden of the environmental toxins that stem from landfills, garbage dumps, sewage treatment plants or other industrial waste that can harm human beings and their surrounding environment.
Earth Day Pledge
"Keep fighting to ensure that every child can breathe clean air.”
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D - LA)
U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District
Native of Eastern New Orleans, Rep. Cedric Richmond is a graduate of Morehouse College, Tulane School of Law and the Harvard University executive program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He now serves on the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Small Business. Having been first elected shortly after his 27th birthday, at the time he took office Richmond became one of the youngest legislators ever to serve in Louisiana. He served as the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary and a member of the Ways and Means, House Executive, and Legislative Audit Advisory committees.
Rep. Corrine Brown (D - FL)
U.S. Representative for Florida's 3rd Congressional District
Congresswoman Corrine Brown is a public servant who prides herself on delivering the goods and services of the federal government to her constituents. Rep. Brown received a bachelor of science from Florida A&M University while later earning an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, and has been on the faculty at the latter two schools and at Florida Community College at Jacksonville.
Rep. Danny K. Davis (D - IL)
U.S. Representative for Illinois's 7th Congressional District
In the 112th Congress, Representative Danny K. Davis serves on Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health Care. He has developed a unique and energetic style of communication and interaction with his constituents setting up dozens of advisory task forces to consider significant questions of public policy. He hosts several weekly television and radio shows which feature audience call in and produces regular written reports to every household in the district.
Rep. David Scott (D - GA)
U.S. Representative for Georgia's 13th Congressional District
Congressman David Scott is the U.S. Representative for the 13th District of Georgia. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives 1974 - 1982 and the Georgia Senate 1983 - 2002. As a State Senator, he authored the law giving breast cancer patients and their physicians the right to determine their length of stay in the hospital and their level of medical treatment. He also authored the law that keeps landfills from being developed in residential neighborhoods.
Rep. Donald M. Payne (D - NJ)
U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 10th Congressional District
Donald M. Payne is a twelve-term representative of the 10th District of New Jersey. A past Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, he is a member of the Democratic Whip Organization and has served as a member of the House Democratic Leadership Advisory Group.
Rep. Donna Edwards (D - MD)
U.S. Representative for Maryland's 4th Congressional District
Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 110th Congress in June 2008, and began her first full-term in the 111th Congress in 2009. A lawyer and long time community activist, Rep. Edwards is the first African American woman to represent Maryland in the United States Congress. Prior to her work as a public servant Rep. Edwards was the co-founder and executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence where she led the effort to pass The Violence against Women Act of 1994 that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D - TX)
U.S. Representative for Texas' 30th Congressional District
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is serving her 10th term representing the 30th Congressional District of Texas. In December 2010, Congresswoman Johnson was elected as the first African-American female Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. She is credited with originally authoring and co-authoring more than 150 bills that were passed by the House and Senate and signed into law.
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D - NY)
U.S. Representative for New York's 10th Congressional District
Better known as “Ed”, Rep. Edolphus Towns is serving his 15th term in the United States House of Representatives. Rep. Towns currently serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, a seat he has held since 1989. Towns is married to the former Gwendolyn Forbes and they reside in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn. They have two children, Darryl Towns (who serves in the New York State Assembly) and Deidra.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D - MS)
U.S. Representative for Missouri's 5th Congressional District
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II was the first African American mayor of Kansas City and is currently a United Methodist pastor and the U.S. Representative for Missouri's 5th congressional district. Cleaver was unanimously elected the 20th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of the 112th Congress and has received five honorary Doctoral Degrees augmented by a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M, of the University of Texas, and a Master’s from St. Paul Theology of Kansas City.
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D - FL)
U.S. Representative for Florida's 17th Congressional District
Rep. Frederica Wilson brings with her to congress more than a decade of service in the Florida State Legislature, as a State Representative and State Senator. She has worked with then-Governor Jeb Bush to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol, to start HIV/AIDS testing in prisons and to reform the implementation of the FCAT. She has also served the community as a teacher, principal and school board member.
Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D - NC)
U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 1st Congressional District
Army veteran, Rep. G. K. Butterfield is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, G.K. Butterfield advocated for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Butterfield supports "a market-based approach to capping carbon emissions" and wants to broaden America’s sources of energy. Butterfield is a member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church in Wilson, North Carolina, where he formerly served as Trustee and Chairman of the Finance Ministry.
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D - NY)
U.S. Representative for New York's 6th Congressional District
Rep. Gregory Weldon Meeks is the U.S. Representative for New York's 6th congressional district. His district is made up mainly of middle-class and upper middle-class African-American communities, but also includes a small part of Ozone Park and part of Howard Beach known as Old Howard Beach, both of which are mainly made up of middle-class Italian-Americans. He also represents much of Kew Gardens and northern Richmond Hill, middle-class white and South Asian neighborhoods.
Rep. Gwen Moore (D - WI)
U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 4th Congressional District
Wisconsin’s First Black Congressperson, Gwendolynne S. Moore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004. Moore went to Washington as a member of the 109th U.S. Congress, winning 70 percent of the vote in Wisconsin's 4th Congressional District. She currently serves on the Budget and Financial Services committees.
Rep. Hank Johnson (GA - 4)
U.S. Representative for Georgia's 4th Congressional District
Congressman Hank Johnson is entering his third term as U.S. Representative for Georgia's Fourth Congressional District. During the 111th Congress, Rep. Johnson chaired the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy and also served on the House Committees on Armed Services and Transportation and Infrastructure. After only one term in office, he was elected to serve as Southeast Regional Whip in 2009. In that capacity, he has played a key role in garnering support for legislation to reduce carbon emissions to slow climate change.
Rep. James E. Clyburn (D - SC)
U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 6th Congressional District
As Assistant Democratic Leader in the 112th Congress, James E. Clyburn is the leadership liaison to the Appropriations Committee and one of the Democratic Caucus' primary liaisons to the White House. He was instrumental in advancing into law measures to resolve historic discrimination issues, significantly reducing the statutory disparity in cocaine sentencing and compensating African and Native American farmers who suffered racial discrimination under the USDA loan program.
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D - IL)
U.S. Representative for Illinois's 2nd Congressional District
Jesse Louis Jackson, Jr. is the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 2nd congressional district. He served as a national co-chairman of the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign. Prior to elective politics Jackson was active in international civil rights activism. He participated in his father's presidential campaigns and then in the office of his Rainbow Coalition.
Rep. John Lewis (D - GA)
U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th Congressional District
Rep. John Lewis is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district. He was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), playing a key role in the struggle to end segregation. No afraid to stand up for global human rights, Rep. Lewis was arrested outside the Sudan embassy during a protest against genocide in Darfur.
Rep. Karen Bass (D - CA)
U.S. Representative for California's 33rd Congressional District
Congresswoman Karen Bass is the U.S. Representative for California's 33rd congressional district. She serves on the Steering and Policy Committee, of the Democratic Caucus. Former Speaker of the California State Assembly, Bass has proudly authored legislation that expands Healthy Families Insurance coverage to prevent children from going without health care and has championed bills to reform schools, and to improve services for Californian youth.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D - Minn)
U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District
Keith Ellison has represented the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives since, January 4, 2007. Serving as the first Muslim elected to congress, his philosophy is one of "generosity and inclusiveness.” His priorities in Congress are: promoting peace, prosperity for working families, environmental sustainability, and civil and human rights.
Rep. Laura Richardson (D - CA)
U.S. Representative for California's 37th Congressional District
Congresswoman Laura Richardson focuses her efforts on improving the movement of goods, enhancing the nation’s homeland security, expanding access to health care services, and investing in the nation’s infrastructure. Minority Leader Pelosi has referred to Representative Richardson as bright, energetic, intelligent, and an asset to the committee chairs, caucuses and her constituents. Representative Laura Richardson is the 26th African-American female and the 239th female to serve in the U.S. Congress.
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D - OH)
U.S. Representative for Ohio's 11th Congressional District
Ohio native Rep. Marcia L. Fudge is a graduate Ohio State University and has earned a law degree from Cleveland Marshall College of Law. Immediately after college, she worked as a law clerk and studied legal research. Now as a member on the Agriculture Committee, she makes a strong commitment to ending childhood obesity, stamping out hunger, and ensuring the safety of our food supply.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D - CA)
U.S. Representative for California's 35th Congressional District
Maxine Waters is the U.S. Representative for California's 35th congressional district. She is the most senior of the 12 African American women currently serving in the United States Congress, and is a member and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. An integral member of Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters serves as a Chief Deputy Whip and as a member of the Steering & Policy Committee.
Rep. Melvin L. Watt (D - NC)
U.S. House of Representative for North Carolina's 12th Congressional District
Rep. Melvin Luther (Mel) Watt is the United States House of Representatives for North Carolina's 12th congressional district and is one of only two African American members elected to Congress from North Carolina in the 20th century. A published member of the Yale Law Journal, Rep. Watt has been awarded honorary degrees from North Carolina A&T State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Bennett College and Fisk University.
Rep. Robert C. Scott (D - VA)
U.S. Representative for Virginia's 3rd Congressional District
Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott began serving his tenth term as a Member of Congress on January 5, 2011. Prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978 to 1983 and in the Senate of Virginia from 1983 to 1993. During his 18 years in Congress, Rep. Scott has become known as a champion of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, fighting to protect the rights and civil liberties of all Americans
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D - TX)
U.S. Representative for Texas's 18th Congressional District
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is serving her ninth term as a member of the United States House of Representatives. She represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, centered in Houston, which is the energy capital of the world. Before her election to Congress, Congresswoman Jackson Lee served two terms as one of the first African American women At-Large members of the Houston City Council, where she chaired the first Human Relations Committee, along with the Airport and Cable Committees.
Rep. Terri Sewell (D - AL)
U.S. Representative for Alabama's 7th Congressional District
Congresswoman Terri Sewell was recently a partner in the Birmingham law office of Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C. where she has distinguished herself as one of the only black public finance lawyers in the State of Alabama. She is a 1992 graduate of Harvard Law School where she served as editor of the Civil?Rights Civil Liberties Law Review. The first black valedictorian of Selma High School, Terri attended Princeton University, ?graduating cum laude.
Rep. William L. Clay, Jr. (D - MO)
U.S. Representative for Missouri's 1st Congressional District
William Lacy "Lacy" Clay, Jr. is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's 1st congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which his father was a founding member. Clay authored Missouri's Hate Crimes Law which included gender, sexual orientation and sexual identity in the criteria of what constitutes a hate crime.
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D - NY)
U.S. Representative for New York's 11th Congressional District
Rep. Yvette Clarke was first elected to Congress in November 2006 and represents the 11th Congressional District. Prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Clarke served on the New York City Council representing the 40th District in Brooklyn. Currently in the 112th Congress, Rep. Clarke sits on the Homeland Security and Small Business Committees.
Rev. Al Sharpton
President and Founder
National Action Network
Social and political activist, Al Sharpton, is known for his smart handling of the media, leading some to call him the master of the sound bite. A champion for human rights for the African American community Sharpton is the leader of the National Action Network. In addition to his political commentary, Rev. Sharpton often supports important causes, and events within the African American community, including rebuilding of New Orleans after the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina and Michael Jackson’s memorial service.
Rev. Bruce Wall
Global Ministries Christian Church
Rev. Bruce Wall is an ordained American Baptist Minister, as well as the President and Founder of his own para-church ministry, Bruce Wall Ministries, Inc. and the Senior Pastor of the Global Ministries Christian Church. Newsweek Magazine cited Bruce as an “unsung hero” his fight against illegal drugs through the nationally acclaimed Drop-A-Dime Report Crime Program. He also founded the “Yes, We Can Movement”, a voter education and registration drive.
Rev. Calvin O. Butts, III
The Abyssinian Baptist Church
Outreaching through a weekly radio show, Reverend Calvin Otis Butts III has been committed to the church's goal of creating a viable and dynamic community in central Harlem. Through his non-profit, the Abyssinian Development Corporation, $2.8 million was raised for the purchase and renovation of twenty-six apartment units for the homeless across the street from his church. By his passion and dedication to public service he exemplifies excellence within his community.
Rev. Dr. Henry L. Masters, Sr.
Holman United Methodist Church
Father of three children, Reverend Dr. Henry L. Masters, Sr. has a distinguished ministerial career. He has been a consultant with the Upper Room, does workshops on Spiritual Formation, and speaks on Urban Ministry topics throughout the United States. He also served on and provided leadership to many church, civic, and community boards and agencies. Urban Ministry and Spiritual Formation are significant passions for Dr. Masters, Sr.
Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley
Alfred Street Baptist
Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley was installed as the 8th pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church on September 28, 2008, Since taking the pulpit in 2008, over 2,000 have joined in fellowship with the Alfred Street Baptist Church family, bringing its membership to over 3,900. With a focus on lifting the sprits of brethren foreign and domestic Dr. Wesley sent a delegation to Haiti to begin the rebuilding of homes after the earthquake. Also during his tenure, Wesley led the congregation to purchase property adjacent to the church that kept affordable housing in historical Olde Town Alexandria. Dr. Wesley is a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University where he doubled majored in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering.
Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr.
The Riverside Church
The Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr. was installed as the fifth Senior Minister of Riverside and was the first African-American to serve as Senior Minister of this multicultural congregation. He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the Original United Holy Church of America.
Rev. Dr. John J. Hunter
First AME Church of Los Angeles
Serving as First African Methodist Episcopal’s Senior Minister, Rev. Dr. John J. Hunter has pastored congregations in Detroit, New Jersey, Wichita, KS, Kansas City, MO, and Seattle. He is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A.), The Boston University School of Law (J.D.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M. Div.) and the University of Missouri at Kansas City, School of Business (M.B.A.).
Rev. Dr. Wesley A. Roberts
Peoples Baptist of Boston
Born in Jamaica, Rev. Dr. Wesley A. Roberts has made leaps and strides with his ministry. He served on the faculty of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA as a Church Historian and Administrator for thirteen years. He is the author of numerous periodical articles and chapters in two books. In 2002, Westminster Theological Seminary, his alma mater, conferred on him the Doctor of Divinity degree for outstanding service to Church and community.
Rev. F. Delano R. Benson Jr.
Antioch Baptist Church of St. Louis
A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Rev. F. Delano R. Benson Jr., the ninth pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church of St. Louis. Ordained in 1986, Rev. Benson was called to be the senior pastor of Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. He previously served as senior pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church of Holts Summit, Missouri. A community leader, Rev. Benson follows his congregation’s mission to “serve humanity and care for the environment.”
Rev. James T. Meeks
Salem Baptist Church
Reverend Senator James T. Meeks currently serves as Illinois State Senator for the 15th Legislative District and is the founder and senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago. He is the first Independent legislator ever elected to the Illinois Senate. Rev. Senator Meeks considers this position and duties an extension of his ministry to those in need. He also serves as the joint chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.
Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell
Windsor Village United Methodist Church
One of George Bush’s influential spiritual advisors, Pastor Kirbyjon H. Caldwell manages a 14,000 person congregation at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Texas. His church established a Power Center which includes a medical center, school, low-cost office space, a bank, and an AIDS outreach center. The mission of Caldwell’s Power Center is to create jobs in the low-income neighborhood and to teach members of the neighborhood how to create wealth.
Rev. Otis Moss, III
Trinity United Church of Christ
Born in 1971, Rev. Otis Moss III served as assistant pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) from 2006-2008. During his ministerial career, Moss has worked as an adjunct professor at Voorhees College, and as a guest lecturer at Emory University, Presbyterian College, Paine College, Dillard University, Howard University, Yale University, Harvard University, and Morehouse College.
Rev. Ronald E. Braxton
Metropolitan A.M.E. Church
Rev. Ronald E. Braxton is the leader of one of the most celebrated African-American churches in the country. Built by free blacks and former slaves as a connectional church for the African Methodist Episcopal denomination, Metropolitan is an important landmark of American history. Frederick Douglass, whose funeral was held at Metropolitan, often worshiped at the church. The memorial service for Booker T. Washington and the Washington funeral services for Rosa Parks were also held there.
Reverend Dr. Alphonse Allen, Jr.
Allen Temple AME Church
Pennsylvania native Reverend Dr. Alphonse Allen, Jr. was recently appointed as the Senior Pastor of Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church, in November 2007. He has been active in communities by supporting schools’ athletic programs, serving as an adjunct professor at Wilberforce University, and working as an activist for the Lackawanna Prison Ministry.
Reverend Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr.
Metropolitan Baptist Church
The Reverend Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr., is the senior minister of the 6,000-member historic Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. During his 27-year pastorate, Metropolitan has developed one of the world’s foremost Christian congregations, distinguished by its fervent worship and dynamic preaching. The church’s various commercial and social service ventures have placed Metropolitan among the world’s most productive religious and civic institutions.
Reverend Dr. Jerry Lytle Cannon
CN Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church
In September 1992, Dr. Cannon was installed as Pastor/Head of Staff at C. N. Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Cannon continues to develop initiatives that uplift members of the community. The church has a partnership ministry that pairs with a variety of community programs that provide free classes for the community including a Women’s Shelter through the Presbyterian Women’s Organization; Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous Ministry; RAIN (HIV) Ministry; AARP Norwes Chapter; FINE ARTS Ministry which includes classes in Liturgical Dance, Visual Art, Public Speaking, Steel Drums, and Drama.
Reverend Gaston E. Smith
Friendship Missionary Baptist
The youngest of six children, Reverend Gaston E. Smith is the Senior Pastor / Teacher of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Miami, Florida. Pastor Smith is also currently serving as President of Friends of MLK, an Advocacy Group designed to enhance, revitalize, empower the community by addressing its urban ills. He was recently appointed to the Executive Board of Faith Partnerships, Inc., an organization with an International Research and Philanthropic Focus. Smith’s strong initiatives have been recognized by Congress, CNN, and the New York Times.
Reverend Richard D. Winn, Sr.
Ben Hill United Methodist Church
Reverend Richard D. Winn, Sr. stay in touch with his congregation’s youth by staying active as a member of the Executive Committee - Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America. In addition to being a scout leader. Rev, Winn is the Chairperson of C.A.S.C.A.D.E. (Community Drug Prevention and Education), a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and has served on year long search committee for Chaplain at Clark Atlanta University.
Reverend Robert E. Slade
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Georgetown
Born in rural Potecasi, North Carolina, Reverend Robert E. Slade received his B.S. degree in Social Science from Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina and his Master's Degree from Bowie State University in Maryland. As part of his theological preparation, he was awarded his Masters of Divinity degree from Howard University School of Divinity in May 1994. He held several positions with Prince George's County Public Schools before accepting his calling into the ministry. Today Rev. Slade leads on of the most historic African American churches located in our nation’s capitol.
Rhon Hayes is the co-founder of GREEN DMV, a non-profit organization seeking to promote clean energy and green jobs in low-income communities across America as a pathway out of poverty. Hayes focuses on educating small businesses in disadvantaged communities, providing environmental education in underserved school districts and working with other non-profits and community groups to engage the most vulnerable residents in low-income communities.
Rick Kittles, Ph.D.
University of Chicago Department of Medicine
Rick Kittles is well known for his research of prostate cancer and health disparities among African Americans. He has also been at the forefront of the development of ancestry-informative genetic markers and how genetic ancestry can be used to map genes for common traits and disease. Kittles’ lab has worked extensively on the use of genetic markers to estimate ancestry among African Americans.
Robert D. Bullard, Ph.D
Environmental Justice Resource Center, Clark Atlanta University
Known as the “Father of Environmental Justice”, Robert D. Bullard, has been on the crusade against environmental racism for over 25 years. His work inspired former President Bill Clinton to sign into action Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898. Bullard continues to bring awarenes to the environmental disparities of minority communities, by way of thorough research, speaking engagments, and his role as a Professor at Clark Atlanta University.
Los Angeles Lakers
One out of nine children, Ron Artest has established himself as a professional basketball player, and as an entrepreneur. He was often kind and generous, chatting with homeless people, giving encouraging talks to school groups, and impulsively making large donations of cash to others. Artest has become involved in advocacy relating to mental health issues.cIn 2010, he announced that he would donate some or all of his salary for the 2011–2012 NBA season toward mental health awareness charities.
Rovenia "Dr. Ro" Brock, Ph.D.
Dr. Rovenia Brock is one of America's most renowned African American Nutritionist, and author of the national best-seller, Dr. Ro’s Ten Secrets To Livin’ Healthy. Most widely known as the host of “Heart & Soul,” the first ever national health and fitness television show for African American women which previously aired on BET, Dr. Ro is also remembered for her expert reports as Medical Correspondent for “BET News”, Nutrition Contributor for ABC News’ “Lifetime Live,” and Contributing Nutrition Editor to Heart and Soul magazine.
Russ Parr Morning Show
Russ Parr is radio and television personality and host of the nationally syndicated Russ Parr Morning Show. Packed with humor and discussion, the Russ Parr Morning Show reaches out to more than 3.2 million listeners in 45 U.S. cities. In addition to his work in the studio, Parr is an accomplished movie producer and has directed five films to date.
CEO & Founder
Entrepreneur, philanthropist Russell Simmons is an ambitious entrepreneur and founder of Def Jam. His Rush Communications firm also includes and fashion line (Phat Farm clothing company), television shows, a artist management company, a magazine and an advertising agency. A strict vegan and yoga enthusiast, Simmons is also an active philanthropist. He founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, the Rush Philanthropic Organization and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. He actively supports PETA and was named a Goodwill Ambassador to fight war, poverty and HIV/AIDS.
Samuel L. Jackson
After gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever, Samuel Jackson appeared in Patriot Games, Amos & Andrew, True Romance, and Jurassic Park. Jackson's many roles have made him one of the highest grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and songs.
Sean "Diddy" Combs
Bad Boy Entertainmemt
Hip-hop mogul, Sean "Diddy" Combs, is a world famous music producer and businessman. His other business interests under the umbrella of Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide include Bad Boy Records; the clothing lines Sean John & Sean by Sean Combs; a movie production company; and two restaurants. In 2011 Forbes estimated Combs net worth at $475 million, making him the richest figure in hip hop.
Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks
Executive Director & CEO
National Black Justice Coalition
Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks has throughout her career brought vision, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, political savvy, and strategic thinking to every endeavor she has attempted. A nationally-recognized leader, Sharon thrives on challenges and seeks to develop and promote leadership in others. She became the Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
Shaun King is known as the “Facebook Pastor.” He is the founder of the Courageous Church in Atlanta, Georgia. His tweets for donations have provided 500 toys for children at Christmas, assistance for victims of the 2009 Atlanta flood and $1.2 million worth of tents for people displaced by the earthquake in Haiti. His newest endeavor is TwitChange, which is touted as the first-ever celebrity Tweet auction. Fans bid for the opportunity to be tweeted, followed or mentioned by their favorite celebrity.
Sheila Crump Johnson
Founder and CEO
Sheila Crump-Johnson is a Global Ambassador for CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. She serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York and funded the opening of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, combining classrooms, public program spaces and galleries. Ms. Crump-Johnson sits on the boards of VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, Americans for the Arts, and the Curry School of Education Foundation at the University of Virginia.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Sheila Foster is the Albert A. Walsh Professor of Law at Fordham University and Co-Director of the Stein Center for Law and Ethics. Her primary scholarship is dedicated to exploring the intersection of civil rights and environmental law. Her movement for environmental justice has called attention to the widespread inequitable distribution of a variety of environmental hazards (hazardous wastes, air pollution, lead, etc.) on low-income and minority communities.
Global Vice President, Brand Development
Mary Kay Inc.
Sheryl Adkins-Green joined cosmetics giant Mary Kay Inc. in 2009 as the Global Vice President of Brand Development. Prior to joining Mary Kay, Sheryl was the Vice President and General Manager of the Pro-Line International, a Division of Alberto-Culver.
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson absorbed her father's Principle. "Aim for the stars so that you can reach the treetops, and at least you'll get off the ground." His advice took hold and she became the first African American female to receive a doctorate in Theoretical Solid State physics from MIT and is now a life member of the MIT Corporation, the institution's board of trustees as well as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Greys Anatomy and Private Practice
The driving creative force behind one of the most successful television medical dramas, Shonda Rhimes was named one of Time magazine's "Time 100" people who help shape the world. On the silver screen, Rhimes' screenplay for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge earned actress Halle Berry her first Emmy. She is currently working on another medical drama series, Off the Map.
Shondrae Crawford, better known as Grammy award winning Bangladesh, or Mr. Bangladesh, is a record producer and DJ who was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. Best known for his work with Lil Wayne and Ludacris, the producer claims he chose the name Bangladesh because he describes his sample-free, keyboard centric production style as "Bangladesh. It's just Bangladesh. It's foreign to the ears."
Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D.
Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D., is the 16th President of Howard University and the sixth African American to serve as its Chief Executive Officer. Since taking office in August 2008, Dr. Ribeau has championed improving services to students through his Students First Campaign, strengthening research with emphasis in the STEM disciplines, enhancing the University’s international footprint and building upon a legacy of service.
Snoop Youth Football Leagues
Born Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., Snoop Dogg, is a world class artist as well as a community leader. In 2011, Snoop Dogg announced the Snoop Youth Football Leagues' 9th annual "Snoop Bowl" and continues to contribute to at-risk youth via sports and entertainment.
Soledad O’Brien is an anchor and special correspondent for CNN/U.S. O’Brien’s most recent documentaries include Almighty Debt, a Black in America special that explores the role of the black church in helping African Americans survive the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; Rescued, a look at Haiti’s remarkable children before, during and after the devastating earthquake; and Gary and Tony Have a Baby, the story of two gay men and their struggle to have a baby that has a biological and legal connection to both of them.
Filmmaker / Actor / Author
Recognized as a notable writer, director, producer, actor, and author, Spike Lee has revolutionized both the landscape of independent cinema and the role of black talent in film. His films: Girl 6, Get On the Bus, Do the Right Thing and Clockers, display his ability to showcase a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques that challenge cultural assumptions, not only about race, but class and gender identity as well. Widely regarded as a premiere African-American filmmaker, Lee is a forerunner in the ‘do it yourself’ school of filmmaking.
State Representative Calvin Smyre
National Black Caucus of State Legislators
Congressman Calvin Smyre was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1974 as its youngest member at 26 years of age. Also serving as the first African American leader of the House since Reconstruction, Smyre serves on the most important panels of the House . In addition to his work as a public servant, Smyre's career path includes serving as the director of the “War on Poverty” program in Columbus, Georgia; Executive Vice President, Synovus Trust Company; and President of the Synovus Foundation.
EVP, Entertainment and Music Programming
Named #1 on The Source magazine’s 2006 list of most influential executives in the music industry, Stephen Hill currently serves as executive vice president of Entertainment and Music programming for Black Entertainment Television (BET). Hill oversees the production of the network’s current music programs including 106 & Park, Rap City, and network specials SPRING BLING and RIP THE RUNWAY. Hill also serves as Executive Producer for the BET Awards. (2002-Present) and the BET Hip Hop Awards.
The Steve Harvey Morning Show
Steve Harvey is an American actor, comedian, television & radio personality and best-selling author. Currently, he is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Steve Harvey Morning Show. In addition to contributing to entertainment industry, Harvey is a philanthropist. He is the lead of the Steve Harvey Foundation armed with the mission to "share, teach and demonstrate the principles of manhood to young men, enabling them to achieve their dreams and become productive men who are balanced emotionally, politically and economically."
Steven A. Davis
Bob Evans Farms
Steven A. Davis is the current Chairman and CEO of Bob Evans Farms Inc. Prior to his work with Bob Evans, Davis, served in a variety of management and executive positions within Yum! Brands. During his tenure with Pizza Hut, Davis served as senior vice president of concept development where his team introduced the Wing Street concept.
Talib Kweli Greene first gained recognition through Black Star, collaboration with fellow MC Mos Def. He is a spokesperson and mentor for P'Tones Records a non-profit after school music program whose mission is "to create constructive opportunities for urban youth through no-cost music programs.”
Tamica Stubbs pushed her underprivileged Charlotte, N.C., students to embrace the sciences. A high school biology teacher, Stubbs recently received the Burroughs Wellcome Fund $175,000 five-year grant and a fellowship from the Society for Science and the Public. Stubbs is also pursuing a doctoral degree in Science Education, and her long-term goal is to open her own STEM school for underserved high school students.
A Texas native, Tamron Hall hosts MSNBC’s “NewsNation and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. She began her broadcasting career at KBTX in Bryan, Texas, as a general assignment reporter and was later a long-time resident of Chicago. Hall is also very involved in charitable organizations that help women fight abuse and work to end illiteracy.
Taraji P. Hensen
Taraji P. Henson career really took off when she was cast in a major supporting 2004's Hustle & Flow, in which she also showcased her vocal talents, singing on the track "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" for the movie's soundtrack, which took home the Best Song Oscar that year. She supports A Place Called Home and The Heart Truth charities, adopted a family after Katrina and has even posed nude for Peta’s long running campaign of people who’d rather go naked than wear fur.
Tavis Smiley Show
Talk show host, author, political commentator, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist, Smiley was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. After attending Indiana University, he worked during the late 1980s as an aide to Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles. Smiley became a radio commentator in 1991, and starting in 1996 he hosted the talk show BET Talk (later renamed BET Tonight) on BET. Smiley then began hosting The Tavis Smiley Show on NPR from 2002 to 2004 and currently hosts Tavis Smiley on PBS on the weekdays and "The Tavis Smiley Show" from PRI. Most recently, he and best friend Dr. Cornel West have joined forces for their own radio talk show, "Smiley & West".
CEO and Founder
CEO of South Florida’s #1 Independent label, Slip-N-Slide Records, Ted Lucas’s roster includes Rick Ross, Trina, and Jagged Edge. A hard worker with in a tough industry, Lucas’s company has old over 15 million records since 1993.
Teresa Bryce Bazemore
Radian Guaranty Inc.
Named one of the most 75 Most Powerful Women by Black Enterprise, Teresa A. Bryce Bazemore is President of Radian Guaranty Inc., Radian Group Inc.'s principal mortgage insurance subsidiary. She is currently responsible for all domestic and international mortgage insurance business operations. Bazemore’s strong financial leadership has earned her many accolades throughout the industry.
Ohio native, Terrence Howard has built a household name for himself in Hollywood. His career started after acting on television shows including, Living Single, NYPD Blue, and Sparks. After working in a lead role in Mr. Holland’s Opus, he gained notoriety for his craft, and it opened the door for him to participate in other films. Howard’s deep roles and emotional characters telling the African American experience has connected with audiences nationwide.
BET Networks, 106 and Park
After auditioning for BET in New York and not making a good impression, Terrence J. remained steadfast to his goals and auditioned in Atlanta, where he won over BET executives. Now the host of BET’s “106 & Park”, Terrence J. co-founder of Jenkins Entertainment Group, a company that specializes in hosting, consulting and implementing marketing plans.
Roosevelt H.S./ College Summit
Terry Houston has partnered with College Summit, a non-profit organization that allows his students to grasp the college application process, as well as the financial options including subsidized loans and scholarships, thus making higher education a reality for many inner-city students. In addition to promoting higher education for his students, Houston is also going to back to school to complete his doctorate in educational leadership.
CEO and Founder
Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men
American educator and non-profit leader, Tim King, is currently the founder and President of Urban Prep Academies network of all-male charter public high schools in Chicago. For his work with Urban Prep Academies, King is recognized as a national leader on education reform. He has taught courses on the subjects of urban education and philanthropy at Northwestern University, written for the Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post, and lectured to groups across the United States. He has been recognized by Ebony Magazine, Crain's Chicago Business, and The Grio.
Ohio native, Toccara Jones claim to fame was her appearance as a contestant on the third season of the UPN series America's Next Top Model. Since ANTM, Jones signed with Wilhelmina Models as a plus-size model. She has been on the covers of Be, The Next Level Magazine (November 2005), Black Men magazine, Black Hair magazine, Braids magazine, and King magazine (February/March 2006, March/April 2006, and April 2008). She appeared in the December 2008 issue of Ebony magazine.
Lets Raise a Million
Tony Anderson, a recent graduate of Morehouse College, is a protégé of Van Jones and a Fellow with the Compton Foundation. As a recipient of the Fellowship, Tony received a stipend for urban ecology research and later launched the “Let’s Raise a Million” project, a student-led policy-supported, multi-community, urban ecological project that conducts complete energy efficient “clean bulb” retrofits and energy audits, at no cost for residents.
SVP of Finance and CFO
Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.
Polo Ralph Lauren’s leading lady, Ms. Tracey Thomas Travis is the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation since 2005. From April 2002 to August 2004, Ms. Travis served as Senior Vice President, Finance of Limited Brands Inc. Ms. Travis also spent 10 years with Pepsi Bottling Group in increasingly responsible positions. She started her career as a Financial Analyst at General Motors working on new product ventures in Asia and Latin America.
Traci Lynn Blackwell
Vice President, Current Programs
The CW Network
Television executive Traci Lynn Blackwell, has been promoted to vice president of current programming at The CW network. Blackwell’s appointment comes on the heels of her success overseeing some of The CW’s highest-rated shows, including breakout hit drama 90210, One Tree Hill and Supernatural. Blackwell’s 10-year track record of success at the network also includes shepherding comedies Everybody Hates Chris and The Game.
President and COO
Our Stories Films
A 15-year veteran of the entertainment industry, Tracey Edmonds, has established herself as an award-winning producer, savvy business mogul and accomplished studio executive. Edmonds also serves as a Global Ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that works to fight global poverty. In her role as Ambassador, she is focused on improving global maternal health, with a specific focus on Sierra Leone.
Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs
Hudson Records, Inc./Hitz Committee/Jive
Randall is the Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at Hudson Records, Inc./Hitz Committee/Jive. Originally a recording artist for Y-neck/ Island Black Music, Randall began working to infuse his love for music and knowledge of contractual law and business practices into a company that could represent and nurture the wealth of talent that exists throughout the world. Today, his mission has been well accomplished as he aligned with one of the newest and most innovative music and film companies in the world. The company has substantial experience representing both international and national recording artists, as well as experience in all aspects of sports, music, television, films, live events and interactive media.
CEO & Founder
Tracy Reese Designs
Tracy Reese ranks as one of the fashion industry's most successful African-American women. Her lines, TR and Plenty, are sold at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, and other top retailers. A Detroit native, Reese’s company's sales topped $12 million while launching the Plenty-label home line and a footwear collection.
Actor / Director
The writer, actor, producer and director was born Emmitt Perry Jr. on September 13, 1969, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tyler Perry has forged his own way in the entertainment industry, building an empire that consists of successful films, plays, and even a best-selling book. By producing several box office hits including Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Why Did I Get Married, Perry showed Hollywood that there is a market for urban African American comedies.
Businesswoman and model Tyra Banks has established a strong presence as a leader in her community. The Tyra Banks TZONE Foundation has offered several useful resources to a number of community nonprofits. The members of the foundation are empowered to take control of their lives by engaging in several productive activities such as filmmaking, community activism, dance, sports, leadership, writing, and even entrepreneurship at an early age. It encouraged girls to resist social pressures through a self-esteem building adventure.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Ursula M. Burns serves as chairwoman and CEO of Xerox. She is the first African-American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. She is also the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company. In 2009, Forbes rated her the 14th most powerful woman in the world.
Defined by his smooth vocals and sensual ballads, Usher is a musician whose talents and community efforts puts him at a superstar status. His charity work included New Look Foundation, an organization he established to help educate youths from lower-class backgrounds about the business of entertainment management. The organization was also involved in the efforts to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
SVP, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager
Wellington Management Co. L.L.P.
Valerie Mosley is Senior Vice President, Partner and Portfolio Manager for Wellington Management Company, LLP, a $540 billion global money management firm. She personally manages billions of fixed income portfolios for corporate and public pension funds, endowments and mutual funds. Mosley is also a founding member of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders.
Attorney, Activist, Author
A globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights, Van Jones is the co-founder of three successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. His work within these organizations increases awareness about environmental policy and it also creates more opportunities with the green sector. Jones’ efforts enabled him to served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009.
A member of the close-knit Simmons family, Vanessa Simmons is an actress, model, reality television star and entrepreneur. In 2006, Simmons paired with her sister Angela Simmons to launch Pastry Footwear, a new line of footwear under the Run Athletics brand.
Singer / Actress
Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today. She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and she has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics and many others.
Maryland State Commission
Vernice Miller-Travis is Vice Chair of the Maryland State Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities, and Co-founder West Harlem Environmental Action. She has served as the director of the Environmental Justice Initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and served on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Miller-Travis also served on the EPA's All Appropriate Inquiry Federal Advisory Committee, which wrote the statutory language for the "Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Redevelopment Act" passed by Congress in 2002.
Vicki L. Fuller
Vicki Fuller is the CEO/President for VLF Development and is currently on the board of the Apollo in New York. Her hobbies and special interests are horseback riding, travel, reading and golf, and she is involved in such charities as, Prep for Prep, Mercy Center and TOIGO.
Wade Henderson, Esq.
President and CEO
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Since taking the helm of the LCCR , Mr. Henderson has worked diligently to address emerging policy issues of concern to the civil rights community and to strengthen the effectiveness of the coalition. Mr. Henderson is well known for his expertise on a wide range of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights issues.
Walter Kimbrough, Ph.D.
Philander Smith College
Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough is the 12th president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. Known as the Hip Hop president, he is one of the youngest college presidents in the nation. Dr. Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs and African American men in college, including the creation of the Black Male Initiative at Philander Smith College that has been a model for similar programs.
Earth Day Pledge:
Earth Day is my birthday. I’ll be 44 this year on April 22nd. Our local recycling trucks come each Thursday, so on Earth Day we will begin our weekly recycling of paper, boxes, and plastic bottles. Even my 5 and 2 year old children participate in recycling.
Warren Washington, Ph.D
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Warren Washington is an internationally recognized expert on atmospheric science and climate research. He specializes in computer modeling of the Earth's climate. Currently, he is the chief scientist of the DOE/UCAR Cooperative Agreement at National Center for Atmospheric Research. Over the years, Washington has published almost 200 papers in professional journals, garnered dozens of national and international awards, and has served as a science advisor to former presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D.
Howard University Cancer Center
born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Dr. Wayne Alix Ian Frederick a Executive member of the Committee of Young Surgeons. As the Chief of General Surgery at Howard University’s Cancer Center. Dr. Frederick is the principal investigator on a grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. His research interest focuses on the outcome disparities seen in African Americans and other underrepresented segments of our society.
The Wendy Williams Show
Long time media personality Wendy Williams, has garnered attention through her outspoken charm. After hosting The Wendy Williams Experiment on air, she as recently premiered her own television talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. Her strong character and breaking stories earned her and induction to the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Actress / TV Host
Born in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, Whoopi Goldberg has been known in her prosperous career as a unique and socially conscious talent with articulately liberal views. Whoopi Goldberg first came to prominence with her starring role in The Color Purple (1985). She received much critical acclaim, and an Oscar nomination for her role and became a major star as a result. Whoopi Goldberg is accredited as a truly unique and visible talent in Hollywood.
CEO & Founder
Retired basketball player William Edward Allen, discovered his passion through urban farming. After participating in the European Professional League, returned to the United States and created Farm City Links, a small organic farm that showed people how to make urban farming profitable. Later in his career, he merged with Growing Power and became the director for the organization.
Black Eyed Peas
William James Adams Jr., also known as will.i.am, is an avid political agent of change and continues to make progress in making Americans more aware of their civic duties. In support of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign of Barack Obama, will.i.am produced "Yes We Can". Now, in support of Americans facing foreclosure will.i.am created the i.am home fund to help those in jeopardy of losing their homes due to the economic crisis in the U.S.
Founder and President
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
William Lucy is one of the most prominent labor leaders in recent U.S. history. Prior to creating the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU, Lucy has served as secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for more than 57 years. As secretary-treasurer, Lucy held the second highest ranking position within AFSCME, making him the highest ranking African American in the labor movement.
Wise Intelligent is the front man for the critically acclaimed and legendary hip hop trio known to the world as the “Poor Righteous Teachers”. Throughout all of PRT’s albums, they have espoused the virtues of righteousness (without being self-righteous) as embodied in the struggle of poor people around the world. Blending a unique style of Jamaican chanting and rapid-fire poetry, Wise has always delivered an unparalleled vocal assault.
Chief Marketing Officer
In 2010 Wonya Lucas was appointed as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Discovery Channel and Science Channel. In result Lucas leads the strategy and operations for the networks and work across the functional departments to ensure growth for the business units. In addition to operations, her role has was expanded to include oversight of the networks' research and marketing departments. Lucas was named among the "75 Most Powerful Women in Business" by Black Enterprise magazine.
Wyclef Jean is a musician, record producer, and politician. He has been active in his support of his native country, Haiti, and created the foundation Yéle Haiti to provide humanitarian aid and assistance. He describes Yéle as a non-political organization intended to empower the people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora to rebuild their nation, saying, "The objective of Yéle Haiti is to restore pride and a reason to hope, and for the whole country to regain the deep spirit and strength that is part of our heritage".
Zandile Blay is Online Fashion Editor for Essence Magazine and a Style Columnist for the Huffington Post. She was formerly Fashion Market Editor for Paper Magazine. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine online, InStyle, Seventeen, Teen People, The New York Sun, The Daily News, and America Online, amongst others. In addition she launched the British Vogue recognized fashion news blog, The Blay Report, and the newly created Africa Style Daily.