Top Twenty 2019 African American Keynote Speakers for Black History Month | PDA Speakers


February 1st marks the very first day of Black History Month, a month dedicated to the recognition of the many achievements African-American’s have contributed to society. In honor of this month, here is a top twenty list of some of our most highly recommended African-American keynote speakers!

Selma Program
Civil rights & voting rights activist, author, humanitarian & the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal From President Barack Obama.
These are only a few words to describe a woman of humble beginnings who has become an inspiration to the world. Sheyann Webb-Christburg, a native of Selma, Alabama has been a voice of justice, equality, courage, commitment and character since the tender age of eight. Nationally known as the co-author of the book “Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days”, which was later made into an NAACP Image Award nominated Disney Movie. Sheyann is currently at work on her second book, “Didn’t Let Nobody Turn Me Around” Sheyann, has appeared on nationally televised shows including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, CNN, The Tom Joyner Show, and numerous other major media radio and television shows as well as being featured in the PBS documentary, “Eyes on the Prize”, and most recently being portrayed in the award winning 2014 film, “Selma”.Sheyann Webb-Christburg, named the “Smallest Freedom Fighter” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began her lifelong journey to fight for civil rights by participating in the now infamous “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma and taking part in numerous mass meetings held at the historical Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church.

Lecrae Moore
Grammy Award Winning Hip-Hop artist and author of the autobiography, Unashamed
Lecrae is a two-time Grammy Award winning hip-hop artist whose 2014 album, Anomaly, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. During his presentation, Lecrae will reveal how he has overcome the challenges in his life and how he is impacting an entire generation to build their community one person at a time. Lecrae will speak about this generation’s tendency to glorify misogyny and violence for the sake of entertainment, thereby perpetuating villainous ideas as heroic. He will also explore the art form of Hip-hop as one of our generations biggest perpetrators, but also, as the one that can turn the ship around. Lecrae’s lecture will be followed by a Q&A and a brief performance.

An Evening With David Banner
Activist, Rapper, Record Producer & Actor
David Banner was born in Jackson, Miss. as Lavell William Crump, Banner is a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., and pursued a master’s degree in education at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He started his music career as a member of the rap duo Crooked Lettaz before going solo in 2000 with his release titled Them Firewater Boyz, Vol 1. Since 2000, Banner has released several successful titles including the 2003 album Mississippi: The Album. In 2006, the Mississippi native made his first film appearance in Black Snake Moan, starring Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson.

Grammy Award-Winning Hip Hop Artist, Actor & Author
In 2006, the Grammy Award-winning artist Common made his big screen debut as a musical performer in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. In January 2007, he made his acting debut co-starring opposite Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys, and Ryan Reynolds in Smokin’ Aces for Universal Pictures. Since then he’s co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott; in David Ayer’s Street Kings, starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker; in Wanted, opposite Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman; and in Terminator Salvation, directed by McG and starring Christian Bale. His latest movie, out April 2010, is Date Night, which stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey and is directed by Shawn Levy. Common wrapped his first lead role in Just Wright, starring opposite Queen Latifah for FOX Searchlight.

Jesse Williams
Actor, Best Known for ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Activist
Jesse Williams, who plays Dr. Jackson Avery in ABC’s hit series “Grey’s Anatomy,” served as senior producer and correspondent for EPIX docuseries “America Divided” and executive-produced the documentary “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement,” which premiered the summer of 2016.

An Evening With Langston Hughes Project & Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Cosby Show)
The Langston Hughes Project is a multimedia concert performance of Langston Hughes’ kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite that features Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Cosby Show) and the Ron McCurdy Quartet. Ask Your Mama is Hughes’ homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. It is a twelve-part epic poem which Hughes scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixi.

An Evening With MC Lyte
Renowned hip-hop artist and actress
MC Lyte is a legendary rap artist. MC Lyte is the first rap artist ever to perform at Carnegie Hall and the first female rapper to ever receive a gold single, which sold over 500 thousand copies. MC Lyte’s inspiring 1993 anthem, the classic Ruffneck was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Single, making MC Lyte the first female solo rapper ever nominated for a Grammy. Her newest project Undaground Heat vol.1, Hosted by Jamie Foxx, has garnered this rap legend her 2nd Career Grammy nomination, 10 years later, for Best Solo Female Rap Performance, for her single “Ride Wit Me”, produced by MAAD PHUNK!, on her own label SGI/CMM/BMG. Lyte was also a familiar face in film and television. Her film career included roles in the recent Playa’s Ball and in a Trimark/Lions Gate feature release Civil Brand. Lyte has also landed roles in feature films including Extreme Pictures’ Train Ride, Cinergi Pictures’ Burn Hollywood Burn, Warner Brothers’ Fly By Night, and the independent features, Luv Tails and Short Handed.

Bakari Sellers
CNN Political Analyst, Lawyer & Activist
Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014 Sellers won the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor and is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and leading voice for his generation.Sellers earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to public service while championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity. In addition to his impressive list of early accomplishments, Sellers served on President Barack Obama’s South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election. That coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010 as well as 2014’s “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. Sellers has been a much sought after public speaker and has provided political and social commentary and analysis on many major national news outlets.

Montel Williams
Emmy-Winning TV Host, MS and Health Advocate, Wellness Entrepreneur, Decorated Naval Officer
Montel Williams earned his media celebrity status as an inspirational Emmy Award winning television personality whom Americans invited into their homes for more than 17 years. He is a decorated former naval officer, inspirational speaker, author, entrepreneur and advocate for patients worldwide.

Jemele Hill
Commentator, ESPN, National Columnist
Jemele Hill is the co-host SC6 with Michael & Jemele, alongside Michael Smith, at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.Previously, Hill and Smith co-hosted ESPN2’s His & Hers, a daily sports discussion program. His & Hers debuted in 2014 following the success of Hill and Smith’s podcast of the same name.In July 2016, Hill participated in The President and the People: A National Conversation, a town-hall event with President Barack Obama concerning race relations, justice, policing and equality.
Hill joined ESPN in November 2006 as a national columnist for, and she gradually began making appearances on television, including SportsCenter, First Take, Around the Horn, The Sports Reporters and Outside the Lines.

Tamika D. Mallory
An Esteemed Social Justice Leader, Advocate and Activist
A New York City native, this fiery, outspoken advocate for human rights and liberty has remained a consistent fixture in the civil rights movement throughout the  years. The 36 yr old has been applauded as an advocate for civil rights issues, equal rights for women, health care, gun violence, and police misconduct. Tamika has been applauded as “a leader of tomorrow” by Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, Valerie B. Jarrett and was selected to serve on the transition committee of New York City Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio. Her astounding, integrity driven leadership and campaign for equality and judicial reform has deemed Tamika a significant force amongst government officers, policy makers and other community advocates. From her position as the former Executive Director of the National Action Network to her instrumental role in creating New York City’s Crisis Management System, an official gun violence prevention program that awards nearly $27 million to violence prevention organizations annually; Tamika is stitched into the fabric of the new revolution for civil rights. But, it was when Ms. Mallory stepped onto the public stage as one of four co-chairs for the Women’s March on Washington that she became internationally recognized as an integral voice for civil rights, social justice and the new wave of feminism.

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