Oscar award winning Spike Lee is a Director, Writer, Actor, Producer, Author, and NYU Grad Film Tenured Professor whose body of work continues to grow over the last 3 decades. Recent projects include BLACKkKLANSMAN, based on a true story by Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer who infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan during the 1970s, which also premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and received the esteemed Prix de la Jeunesse Award. Lee’s filming of the play Pass Over, premiered at Sundance. He also directed all ten episodes of the hit Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It, which will be returning for a 2nd season. Spike has directed and produced over 30 films since his first feature film, the independently produced She’s Gotta Have It, which also premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 and received the esteemed Prix de la Jeunesse Award. Lee continues to produce Cinematic works of Art that display his skill and ability to showcase outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques that challenge cultural assumptions about Race, Class and Gender identity. His film Do the Right Thing, released in 1989, earned Lee an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and still remains relevant today. Lee has also produced several documentaries, including the Academy Award nominated 4 Little Girls and the Peabody and Emmy Award winning films When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, all with HBO. In addition, his Michael Jackson documentaries, BAD 25 and original ‘off the Wall’ were both critically acclaimed. In addition to his prolific film career, Lee has directed and produced numerous music videos and he began commercial work in 1988 with his Nike Air Jordan campaign. Ever moving into new areas, Lee combined his extensive creative experience into yet another venture with DDB Needham to create Spike/DDB, a full-service advertising agency. Lee has also authored several books, including Five For Five, a pictorial reflection of his first five features, Best Seat in the House, with Ralph Wiley, and two children’s books Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please, co-authored with Tonya Lewis Lee, his Wife. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Lee returned south to attend Morehouse College. After graduation, he returned to New York City to continue his education at NYU/Tisch, where he received his MFA in Film Production. After graduation, he founded 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, based in Brooklyn. He began teaching a course on filmmaking at Harvard in 1991, and in 1993 he joined the Faculty at NYU/Tisch in the Graduate Film Program, where he was appointed Artistic Director in 2002, a position which he still holds today.


Born in Atlanta, GA, Grammy-winning artist and songwriter Michael Render aka Killer Mike, is part of the popular hip-hop super duo, Run The Jewels. Alongside his partner, EL-P, he has released four studio albums. Their most recent, RTJ4, soared to the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 and was met with widespread critical acclaim, landing at #1 on NME‘s The Best 50 Albums of 2020 list. Named the 2020 Spin Magazine Artist of the Year, Run The Jewels have won eleven Libera Awards, including the 2021 A2IM Humanitarian Award, took home four Clio Awards, including two Gold-winning Music Marketing campaigns, and received a 2018 Grammy nomination for Best Rap Song.

Beyond his work with Run The Jewels, Killer Mike has been an active solo artist for over 20 years, releasing studio albums and mixtapes, while also collaborating on projects by some of the biggest names in hip-hop including Outkast, Jay-Z, Big Boi, T.I., Black Thought, and more. Killer Mike secured a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance Duo or Group for his collaboration with Outkast, “The Whole World,” and also featured on “Poppin’ Tags” off Jay-Z’s #1 and triple-Platinum album, The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse.

In addition to his success as a musician, Killer Mike has gained wide recognition beyond the industry. He acted in several films, including Baby Driver, Idlewild, and ATL. He also provided voiceover for the 2021 Netflix film America: The Motion Picture and is the host of multiple series including PBS’ Love & Respect with Killer Mike, Facebook’s Roll’N with Killer Mike, and Netflix’s Trigger Warning with Killer Mike.

Killer Mike is an advocate for the disenfranchised, a business owner, and a frequent public speaker on politics, race, and inequality in many communities. In 2020, his extensive work as a social justice activist earned him the first-ever Billboard Change Maker Award.


4X NBA Champion, Sports Analyst, DJ, Philanthropist, and Investor 

Born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 6, 1972, Shaquille O’Neal is considered to be one of the most dominant basketball players in NBA history.  At 7 ft 1 in tall and weighing 325 pounds, Shaq’s larger-than-life personality and powerful athleticism have resulted in worldwide adulation and one of the most passionate fan bases in sports and entertainment.

Shaquille O’Neal’s off-court accolades rival his athletic accomplishments, having found success in acting, music, television, gaming and as an entrepreneur. Currently, Shaq is an analyst on Inside The NBA, on the board of Papa John’s Pizza in addition to being partner and investor in numerous other businesses.

Philanthropically, Shaquille’s relationship with the Boys & Girls Club of America dates back to his youth in New Jersey. As a national spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, he has been participating in campaigns with the non-profit company for the past 15 years.


Tracee Ellis Ross is an award-winning actress, producer and CEO. She recently starred in ABC’s “black-ish,” which ran for eight seasons on ABC.  Ross won a Golden Globe Award for her role on the series and garnered five Emmy nominations. Previously, Ross starred in “Girlfriends” for eight seasons.  Ross has won nine NAACP Image Awards for “black-ish,” “Girlfriends,” and BET’s “Reed Between The Lines,” which she starred in and produced. Recently, Ross starred in the feature film “The High Note,” for which she recorded five original songs.

Ross has a multi-year overall deal with ABC Signature under her production company, Joy Mill Entertainment. The company is committed to amplifying multilayered stories that reframe assumptions about how people see themselves and each other. 

The production company’s debut project, “THE HAIR TALES,” is a docuseries about Black women, beauty and identity through the distinctive lens of Black hair. Ross will serve as executive producer, along with Michaela angela Davis and Oprah Winfrey, and as the series narrator. The docuseries will premiere October 22, 2022 on OWN and Hulu in the US, on Star+ in Latin America, and on Disney+ internationally.

Additionally, Ross will serve as executive producer alongside “Insecure” executive producer Grace Edwards on MTV Entertainment Studios’ adult animated film, “Jodie.” “Jodie” is a spinoff of MTV’s iconic “Daria” franchise in which Ross will voice the title character, Jodie.

To add to her many endeavors, Ross will be producing a 10-episode podcast, “I Am America,” alongside Dear Media. Each episode of the podcast will highlight a person of color and their contributions to their community. Dear Media is known for highlighting the stories of women in entertainment. The podcast will debut in 2023. 

Ross is CEO and Founder of PATTERN Beauty—the award-winning haircare brand she created in 2019. It is the #1 Black-owned brand and #2 curl brand at ULTA Beauty and is also sold at Target in the US, at Sephora throughout the US and Canada, at Boots throughout the United Kingdom, and on Amazon, Thirteen Lune, and Cult Beauty. PATTERN serves as an active space for the celebration of Black beauty and supports organizations and programs that empower women and people of color.

Ross advocates for joy, self-acceptance, inclusivity, and equity. In 2018, she became the first Black woman to open the TED Conference. Ross was recently awarded “Changemaker of the Year” at the Women’s Wear Daily Beauty Inc. Awards for her work as ULTA Beauty’s DE&I Advisor and her thought leadership in the space and was also named the 2022 Racial Justice Trailblazer by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Ross utilizes her platform and reach to create an ecosystem that allows Black women to feel seen and celebrated.  Ross’ larger mission is to create fundamental change that allows safety, equity, and freedom for everyone, with a particular emphasis on supporting and uplifting Black women and girls, and to dispel the myth that Black haircare is a niche market. 

Ross received an honorary Doctorate degree from her alma mater, Brown University, in 2015.


With 7 Grand Slam titles, 5 Wimbledon championships and 4 Olympic gold medals, tennis champion Venus Williams is arguably one of the most accomplished and inspiring women in the history of sports.

Beginning her rise to the top at the age of 14, Williams quickly took the world of tennis by storm rising to the top-ranked position, breaking countless records, and winning numerous championships.

Encouraged by her mother at an early age to explore her creative side, Williams enrolled in fashion school where she was instantly drawn into the world of fashion and interior design. True to her bold spirit, Williams parlayed her fine-tuned business acumen with her healthy competitive spirit into two successful design ventures.

In 2002, after obtaining an Interior Decorator certification, Williams founded V Starr, a full-service commercial and residential design firm. Continuing with her love for design, Williams obtained an Associate of Science in Fashion Design and in 2012 she launched the fashion-forward activewear brand, EleVen by Venus Williams. In May 2020, Venus partnered with Credo Beauty to debut an award-winning line of clean, mineral-based SPF products under the EleVen by Venus umbrella. Her entrepreneurship in the health, wellness and beauty space also includes her role as Chief Brand Officer to Asutra and in December 2020, Williams launched her plant-based protein company, Happy Viking.

Sticking to her entrepreneurial spirit, in 2009 Williams along with her sister, Serena became the first female African Americans to have a stake in an NFL franchise after joining the ownership group of the Miami Dolphins. The following year, Venus published her motivational book, “Come to Win” which reached No. 5 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Most recently, Venus served as Executive Producer on the Academy Award-winning Warner Brothers biopic King Richard, which detailed the influence her father and coach, Richard Williams, had on her childhood and careers as she became a tennis icon and changed the sport for generations to come.

Throughout her career, Williams has been a steadfast advocate for equality. In 2006, UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural organization, titled her as the first “Promoter of Gender Equality.’ In 2007 it was her unwavering fight, which led Wimbledon to award women players the same pay as their male counterparts and most recently, she launched an awareness initiative called the #PrivilegeTax in conjunction with EleVen to bring attention to the wage inequality and unveiled a platform of resources for young women to get inspired and address the issue on a grassroots level.

Williams’ achievements throughout her legendary career have merited her a plethora of additional accolades, including being honored as Variety’s “Power of Women”, Glamour Magazine’s ‘Woman of the Year,’ CARE Impact Award for Gender Equality, ESPN’s ‘WTA Player of the Year,’ and Forbes’ ‘Celebrity 100’ among others. In September 2009, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Williams with the Americanism Award for publicly speaking up for Israeli player Shahar Pe’er who was barred from the Dubai tennis tournament.

Williams holds Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Indiana University East and an Associate of Science in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.


Tiki Barber is a successful entrepreneur, co-founding Julius, Inc., and Thuzio, Inc. – both now a part of Triller Entertainment Co. Julius is a SaaS solution for influencer search and procurement. Thuzio, a networking and content company, produces live events around sports and entertainment.

Tiki has had an extensive media career, working for Fox News and NBC’s The Today Show, among others, and currently serves as co-host of WFAN’s (New York) Midday Show, Tiki & Tierney.

Philanthropically, he is a board member of Kulture City, an autism acceptance and inclusion organization based in Birmingham, AL. He also contributes his time to United for A.L.I.C.E. (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed), a United Way of Northern New Jersey program focused on helping a growing number of families face the often-hidden world of financial struggle.

Tiki is a 1997 graduate of the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce (Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society), with a concentration in Management Information Systems.

After graduating, Tiki spent 10 years playing professional football for the New York Football Giants. He retired in 2007 as the team’s all time leading rusher, and in 2011 was an inaugural member of the Giants Ring of Honor.

He has also co-authored, with his twin brother, Ronde, three successful children’s books and nine young-adult novels.


Earl G. Graves Jr. (Butch) is Chief Executive Officer of BLACK ENTERPRISE. He joined the company in 1988 after earning his M.B.A. from Harvard University. During his tenure at BLACK ENTERPRISE he has served in many positions, including VP of Advertising & Marketing, and Chief Operating Officer. In 2006 he was promoted to his current position.

Under Butch’s guidance BLACK ENTERPRISE has grown from a single-title publication into a robust multimedia company. Today, the company delivers content across five platforms, including magazine publishing; two nationally syndicated television shows; professional development events; digital and social media.

In 2000, he co-founded the Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Fund – A unique private equity firm seeking to finance the growth of established minority-owned or – managed businesses across various industries. Mr. Graves is also an active Partner in S & C Robinson, LLC – an Airport Concessions Enterprise formed in 2016.

Butch received his B.A. in economics from Yale University in 1984, distinguishing himself both academically and athletically. As a four-year starter and Captain of the Yale basketball team, he graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer and the second leading scorer in Ivy League history. He was drafted in the third round by the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers in 1984, and enjoyed a brief professional basketball career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

In 2002 Butch was inducted into the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Hall of Achievement. In 2006 he was awarded the Jack Avrett Volunteer Spirit Award from the Boy Scouts of America, and in 2009 he was honored with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.

Butch serves on the board of directors of AutoZone, Bermuda Tourism Authority, and is a Trustee for The Committee For Economic Development. In addition to serving on numerous non-profit Boards, Mr. Graves is a strong national advocate for the importance of education and athletics, and served as an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) head basketball coach for more than 15 years.


Brian Lamb is a Managing Director and Segment Head for Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries (MMBSI) covering the Northeast (Delaware, New England, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. He is responsible for leading the region’s commercial banking teams who deliver the firm’s global capabilities to local clients including credit and financing, digital payments, treasury services and international banking and growing the MMBSI business.

Starting May 1, 2022, Brian has assumed this role, leading a key region for a critical part of the MMBSI business and bringing his passion and talent to another leadership position at the firm.

Previously serving for two years as the firm’s global head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, he collaborated across lines of business to build a world-class, business-led DEI organization at JPMorgan Chase. He also has been instrumental in propelling the firm’s $30 billion commitment to racial equity, including work related to our Global Supplier Diversity Strategy and establishing the new DEI Centers of Excellence.

Brian brings extensive business experience gained during 13-years with Fifth Third Bank including national roles leading Wealth & Asset Management, Retail Banking and Securities, Middle Market and Business Banking. He was also responsible for the comprehensive strategic framework of the Bank’s civic commitments, including Corporate Communications, Ethics, and Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility.

Brian serves as Chair of the Florida State University System Board of Governors and after serving as a Board Trustee, is now Chair of the National Urban League’s Audit Committee.

Notably, Business Insider named him as a DEI Trailblazer in 2021. He’s also been recognized as a 2020 Person of Vision by Preserve Vision Florida, a 2019 Man of Honor in Cincinnati, Savoy Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America in 2018, and he was named to the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame in 2016.

Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, an MBA from the University of South Florida and is also a graduate of the Stonier Graduate Banking School at the University of Pennsylvania.

He lives in New York with his wife Paulette and three children. 


For 21 years, Dr. Anderson has researched social inequality and stratification, race and migration, education and social mobility, and health. Prior to founding Mirror Group, Mindelyn served as the Program Director of the Masters of Science in Measurement and Evaluation at American University, Honors Faculty in Residence and Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northeastern University, and Marilyn Yarbrough Fellow at Kenyon College. Her scholarship has been supported by sponsors including the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Institutes of Health. Dr. Anderson has also held fellowships at American Institutes for Research and Mathematica Policy Research. She has conducted evaluations with and provided technical assistance and training for philanthropic, community-based, regional, national and international non-profit, for-profit, and educational organizations. Her utilization- focused, participatory evaluation practice is informed by Culturally-Responsive and Racial Equity Evaluation and values equity, systems change, and transformation as integral components of high-quality consulting. In addition to leading evaluation, learning, and strategy at Mirror Group she currently serves as Program Co-Chair of the American Evaluation Association Independent Consulting Topical Interest Group, Washington Evaluators’ Co-Coordinator of Evaluators Without Borders, and Reviewer for the American Journal of Evaluation. Mindelyn’s happy place is co-creating the art and science of making data and information meaningful, accessible, and actionable with learning organizations and the communities we at Mirror Group love!


Morgan DeBaun is a serial entrepreneur and corporate advisor. As the Founder & CEO of Blavity Inc., the leading digital media company for Black culture and millennials, Morgan has grown the company into a market leader for Black media, reaching over 100 million readers per month through a growing brand portfolio which includes: Blavity News, 21Ninety, AfroTech, Travel Noire, Shadow & Act, BlavityU and Blavity TV.

DeBaun is a proven impact-focused and purpose-driven brand builder, and her contributions to the media industry have fundamentally shifted the paradigm for the representation of Black people and culture. Under DeBaun’s leadership, Blavity has launched several leading consumer summits, including AfroTech, the largest tech conference for Black innovators and founders.

DeBaun acts as an advisor to influential global brands and companies including American Airlines and Pepsi Co. She is also an angel investor in various startups such as Golde, Ness, and Public, which has a $1B+ valuation.


Ryan Wilson is the co-founder and CEO of The Gathering Spot, a private membership network that serves as a hub for collaboration, connections and experiences; the Chief Community Officer of Greenwood, a digital banking services platform for Black and minority individuals and businesses; and a principal at A3C, a music, tech and film conference and Festival.

At the age of 24, with a mission to create a world where opportunity is the byproduct of community and collaboration,
Ryan and his business partner raised capital to open their first Gathering Spot location in Atlanta. The club has since established itself nationally as a home for creatives, business professionals, and entrepreneurs, and regularly hosts notable and culturally impactful events. Responsible for the company’s overall management and strategic vision, Ryan has led the club’s physical expansion with location openings in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, and launching of membership communities in New York City, Detroit, Charlotte, Houston, and Chicago; as well as the digital expansion of the company’s platform TGS Connect.

In 2022, The Gathering Spot was acquired by Greenwood, Inc, creating the largest fintech and community platform for Blacks and minorities with a combined community of over 1 million people. The companies share a mission of closing the wealth gap for minorities through community building, entrepreneurship, group economics and wealth building. This partnership represents a historic move as one of the few black-on-black M&A transactions at scale.

Ryan has been honored as the Small Business Person of the Year by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, was selected as one of the 2020 Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 under Forty honorees and one of their 100 Most Powerful leaders, was named
one of Goldman Sach’s Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs in 2021, and was selected for the inaugural class of Shea Moisture’s Social Justice Coalition. The Mayor of Atlanta honored Ryan and his business partner with the prestigious Phoenix Award, the city’s highest honor. Atlanta Magazine named him one of “Atlanta’s 500 most powerful leaders” and he has also been named one of the country’s most influential African-Americans in The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100.

Ryan has been featured in notable national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Revolt, Black Enterprise, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Huffington Post, and USA Today. He is a trusted speaker and regularly moderates conversations with thought leaders and notable individuals ranging from political figures like President Joe Biden and Leader Stacey Abrams, to business pioneers like Thasunda Duckett and Ben Chestnut, as well as leaders in the entertainment industry including Will Packer, Gunna, Kelly Rowland, and Gabrielle Union. His work has led to several keynote presentations for various companies including Goldman Sachs, Delta, Google, Meta, Ford Motor Company, and Nike.

A native to Atlanta, Ryan is currently an active participant in several Atlanta civic and community organizations. He
proudly serves on the boards of Usher’s New Look, The Woodruff Arts Center, The Atlanta Business League, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Peace Preparatory Academy and The Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of the 100 Black Men, Atlanta Rotary Club and has previously served as Co-Chair for Black Men Count Initiative of Fair Count. Ryan graduated from Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center where he proudly serves on the Board of Regents. He currently resides happily in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children.


EJ Reed, one third of the Slim and Husky’s trio is a true entrepreneur. He and longtime friends turned business partners, Clinton Gray and Derrick Moore have worked together to build several successful businesses. EJ, along with his two partners graduated from Tennessee State University and he went on to get his MBA from Belmont University. 

The trio opened their first entrepreneurial venture, The Green Truck Moving Company, in April 2010. The serial entrepreneurs went on to create other ventures including a logistics and federal contracting company. In early 2017 the team sold their first business and by March 2017 the first Slim and Husky’s Pizza location opened in historic North Nashville affectionately known as “Out North.” Slim and Husky’s has grown to ten locations over the last five years with stores in Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Sacramento. They developed a retail frozen pizza and are currently working on the continued growth and expansion of their concepts. They use the motto, PREAM, originally standing for Pizza Rules Everything Around Me but have since removed the P for Pizza and replaced it with Progress Rules Everything Around Me. This is an ode to their purpose-filled mission which centers around empowering underserved youth by way of financial literacy, educational, and entrepreneurial programs. The team also understands the importance of the arts in and highlight some of the dopest local artists and musicians throughout their Slim & Husky’s Unplugged Music Series and the art located within their stores. Their goal is to grow S&H into a global brand and hold true to their core values and principles of giving back and representing their culture in a true and authentic way.


Kenny Thompson, Jr. is the Vice President of External Affairs, North America at PepsiCo. He applies his experience with social impact, corporate responsibility, sustainability, advocacy, and communications to generate new business, amplify PepsiCo’s business partnerships, and grow PepsiCo’s reputation as a responsible corporate citizen.

In 2020, Thompson was selected to serve as the Private Sector Liaison for the Biden – Harris Transition where he provided strategic and management oversight of the interaction with the private sector while managing relationships with Fortune 500 CEOs, Wall Street firms, venture-backed enterprises, and industry groups.

Before joining PepsiCo, Kenny held several positions in the Obama-Biden White House, including Director of Message Events for then Vice President Joe Biden, Senior Advisor to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Special Assistant and Advance Lead for President Barack Obama.

Kenny currently serves on the boards of the Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, the International Franchise Association, and Sandy Hook Promise. He is also a Commissioner on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

A native Texan, Kenny completed his undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University, where he was a proud member of the Horned Frog baseball team. He later earned a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University.


Barbara Rhoden joined Primasun, a joint venture between ResMed and Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) in December 2021 as the Head of Marketing.  Prior to Primasun, she served as Vice President, Marketing at Siemens Healthineers where she led the growth strategy for the Advanced Therapies portfolio across the US and Canada.  As executive sponsor of the Siemens Employees of African Descent (SEAD) Employee Resource Group, she created Siemens Sisters in STEM in partnership with Girls Inc of Philadelphia and New Jersey to expose middle school girls to STEM careers and led a free virtual health fair in NY in partnership with Black Health Matters to dispel myths about COVID-19.

Barbara has more than 15 years of experience driving growth and productivity in regional and global markets. At GE Healthcare, she held positions of increasing responsibility in Service, Product Management, Sales and Product Marketing.  In her role as Director of Marketing and Sales at GE Healthcare’s Women’s Health business, she received the GE Chairman’s award for best Product Launch. Barbara served on the board of Girls Inc, Washington DC and led the creation of GE Girls DC to expose middle school girls to STEM careers. She began her career as a Research Scientist and is Six Sigma Black Belt Certified.

Barbara was born in Kingston, Jamaica and holds a degree in Chemistry from Howard University and a PhD in Bioanalytical Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University.


Dr. Uché Blackstock is a physician and thought leader on bias and racism in health care. Dr. Blackstock founded Advancing Health Equity in 2019 with the goal of partnering with healthcare organizations to dismantle racism in healthcare and to close the gap in racial health inequities.

In 2019, Dr. Blackstock was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of “10 Diversity and Inclusion Trailblazers You Need to Get Familiar With”. In 2020, she was one of thirty-one inaugural leaders awarded an unrestricted grant for her advocacy work from the Black Voices for Black Justice Fund.

Dr. Blackstock’s writing, including numerous OpEd’s, has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, the Washington Post and STAT News for the Boston Globe. In June 2020 she became a Yahoo! News Medical Contributor and appeared regularly on radio and cable news programming to discuss the Coronavirus pandemic and to raise the alarm about racial health inequities.

In April 2021, Dr. Blackstock became an exclusive MSNBC medical contributor. In June 2021, she signed a book deal with Penguin Random House Books for her generational memoir, Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine. Legacy is due to be published in 2023.

Dr. Blackstock received both her undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University.


Vanessa Broadhurst is executive vice president, Global Corporate Affairs, at Johnson & Johnson, leading its global marketing, communication, design, and philanthropy functions and overseeing J&J Health & Wellness Solutions. Previously, Broadhurst was company group chairman, Global Commercial Strategy for Pharmaceuticals, focusing on commercialization and launch strategies across Janssen’s product pipeline, where she earlier led several businesses. Broadhurst originally joined Johnson & Johnson to lead global commercial strategy for the pharmaceutical group’s anemia and oncology supportive care. She has also held senior leadership roles at Amgen, Novartis, and Abbott. SAVOY magazine named Broadhurst one of “2020 Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America.” She was recognized as “Healthcare Champion of the Year” by the National Association for Female Executives and among “Top Blacks in Healthcare” by Blackdoctors.org.


Alex is the head of strategic partnerships at Alibaba.com for the Americas region.  He is responsible for driving growth of Alibaba’s B2B business in Americas through development of innovative partnerships and commercial solutions to meet the evolving business needs of B2B wholesale buyers and sellers in the region.  He is focused in helping and enabling local entrepreneurs, small and medium size companies to grow their businesses through the Alibaba.com e-commerce platform, and its various sourcing, sales distibution, and business services.

During Alex’s career Alibaba, he has served as director of marketing and business development leading the market entry of Alibaba.com into the Latin America region and helped build the market presence in the region from the ground up. He has also served as the Head of Licensing and Partnerships for Alibaba Group’s Digital Media and Entertainment business, spearheaded media entertainment licensing and commercial partnerships in US and Europe region.

Prior to joining Alibaba.com, Alex spent more than 5 years managing PayPal global digital marketing strategies, analytics, and operations for both domestic and international markets covering 120 countries.  And prior to PayPal, Alex worked at HSBC Bank as an analyst and product marketing manager focusing in growing the company’s financial service business.

Alex is an University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) graduate with double degrees in economics and sociology.


Born Ronald William Artest Jr. on November. 13, 1979, in Queensbridge, New York, Sandiford-Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace from September 2011 to May 2020 in an effort to encourage dialogue over physical violence and promote good will toward all. He is the father of four children. 

Founder of Artest Management Group, Metta looks to build his management company piece by piece. His business ventures include XvsX Sports, an app that connects athletes of all levels to games and leagues, The Panda’s Friend, a lifestyle brand that promotes balanced and healthy living, and Meta Panda Club, a procer of web3 collectibles.

Metta played professional basketball for 19 years. In his career he played for 6 NBA teams, winning NBA World Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in June 2010, and receiving the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – the NBA’s highest citizenship and community service honor – in April 2011. He was selected to the 2005-06 NBA All-Defensive Team, won the 2003-04 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and broke Michael Jordan’s NBA record for number of steals in a player’s first two seasons with 271. His autobiography, “No Malice: My Life in Basketball” was released in May 2018 with Triumph Publishing and a documentary on his life in basketball, “Ron Artest: The Quiet Storm” was released on Showtime in May 2019.

Metta is also a prominent mental health advocate, pop culture personality, and media favorite.  He raffled off his 2010 NBA World Championship Ring with the proceeds going to his nonprofit, Xcel University (now known as Artest University). The online ring raffle raised more than $650,000. Funds were donated to nonprofits that provide mental health therapists and mental health services to their communities and to provide scholarships to underprivileged youth in the New York City area. 


Eva Jane Bunkley is an Atlanta-based Makeup Artist who earned Emmys for her work in news and specialty broadcast in 2001 and 2002. Eva Jane has worked almost 30 years as a beauty professional on sets for television, film, editorial, commercial, music videos, print media etc… and for 20+ years in both the local and national TV news market for with the Atlanta NBC and Fox television stations. Her anointed hands have touched many celebrity faces including President Jimmy Carter, Usher, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jennifer Holliday, Charles S. Dutton, Cicely Tyson, Jamie Foxx and Kobe Bryant and served several years as personal makeup artist for several years as well to Creflo & Taffi Dollar and Judge Glenda Hatchett. Eva Jane considers herself a creative that doesn’t limit her artistic endeavors. She is an award winning filmmaker with two first place documentary film projects to her credit through her production company “Eva-Lution Studios.” Eva Jane loves to give back, frequently mentoring young artists in the business and was a recipient of the “Maqui Award for Philanthropy” by the Atlanta-based Professional Makeup Artist Conference. Eva Jane presently holds four active patents and trademarks. Her book “Innovative Beauty – Keys to an Inventor’s Success” tells the story of how she created “The Makeup Bullet®” and launched it into the international marketplace. Eva Jane earned a bachelors degree from The Ohio State University and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is wife to “Terence” and together they are raising with two amazing young men who will take the world by storm some day!


Over a decade of experience in the retail industry led Matt Jones to found The Crease Beast in 2021, providing sneaker enthusiasts with the most comfortable products for crease protection.  Matt holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business/Managerial Economics from California State University-San Bernardino.


Ariel is a career coach, entrepreneur, and public speaker in technology. She’s the Founder and CEO of Knac, recruiting software that ensures companies don’t miss out on top talent. With over a decade of recruiting experience, she’s helped startups and leading brands like Nike, Google, Spotify, Ebay and others build great teams.

She’s coached thousands of professionals to help them accelerate their careers and find high growth opportunities. She’s been featured in publications like Forbes, FastCompany, Refinery29, BusinessInsider and others to share her advice.

She’s passionate about the future of work and making the job search more human.

In her workshop for Magenta Edge, Ariel talks about the importance of talent for a business to grow. She breaks down:

  • Creating sourcing strategies to attract the right talent

  • Keeping your employees happy

  • How to foster DE&I


Nathan Evans Jr. has accomplished many things: first-generation high school graduate, first-generation college graduate, a #1 best-selling author, and a highly requested speaker.

He also is a youth mentor, educational consultant, mental health advocate and podcast host. Nate is on a mission to eradicate the stigmas around mental health amongst youth and young adults. Nate’s charismatic speaking and inspiring testimony allows him to relate to teens and young adults while also educating them on the importance of emotional intelligence and sense of self-worth through his workshops.

In the spotlight series, Nate knows that to be a trailblazer, he has to build a legacy for his family and his business. For a business to have longevity, he shares that it requires:

  • Reflecting and accessing your current situation to grow

  • Being intentional with how you growth

  • Making an impact in your community


Emily “Visionary The Poet” Doñe is an award-winning poet, entrepreneur and legal scholar. She leverages the art of poetry to create streams of consciousness and nurture community. Her company, Visionary The Brand (“VTB”), is a mindful brand committed to cultivating wellness. VTB offers an ethically sourced apparel line and writing workshop services, both of which are designed to inspire the inner work.

Visionary’s featured performances include a Rutgers University commencement ceremony and the Wawa Welcome America Festival, in partnership with NBC and Telemundo. She’ll soon be gracing the WAN Poetry stage as a featured performer!

In the spotlight series, Visionary shares what she has learned in order to succeed as one of the only people of color in her law school. She believes in:

  • The importance of networking across to build social capital

  • Reaching back to help those behind you

  • Saying no to generate value for yourself


Melonie Parker is an HR executive committed to innovative, relevant, and contemporary HR leadership. She is an advocate for change and a passionate thought leader. Parker is responsible for advancing Google’s employee engagement strategy across Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Prior to this role she served as the Vice President of Human Resources & Communications at Sandia National Laboratories. Parker was responsible for the leadership and Labs-wide management of human resources, health, benefits and employee services. She was also responsible for Sandia’s communication efforts, which include planning, strategy, executive communications, media relations, external branding, community affairs and internal communications.

Prior to joining Sandia as the VP of HR and Communications, Parker extended expertise from a career spanning over 17 years in a variety of Lockheed Martin business areas, locations, and progressive leadership roles. During her time at Lockheed Martin, she has held responsibility for employee relations, staffing, EEO/Affirmative Action, diversity programs, compensation, benefits, and K-12 outreach initiatives.

Parker received a B.A. in Mass Communications from Hampton University and an M.A. in Human Resources from Villanova University. She was named the 2016 HR Professional of the Year by the New Mexico Society of Human Resource Management. She was recognized with a Special Recognition Award at the 2014 Women of Color STEM Awards, and in 2012 graduated from Lockheed Martin’s Executive Assessment & Development Program.


Marvin Ellison is chairman and chief executive officer of Lowe’s Companies, Inc., a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company with more than 2,200 stores and approximately 300,000 associates in the United States and Canada.

Marvin has more than 35 years of retail leadership and operational experience within Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining Lowe’s, Marvin served as chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney Co., where he delivered positive sales growth, reduced debt and generated positive adjusted earnings per share.

He has extensive experience in the home improvement industry, having spent 12 years in senior-level operations roles with Home Depot Inc. Most notably he served as executive vice president of U.S. stores from 2008 to 2014, dramatically improving customer service and efficiency across the organization, as he oversaw U.S. sales, operations, installation services, tool rental and pro strategic initiatives. Prior to Home Depot, Marvin spent 15 years at Target Corp. in a variety of operational and leadership roles.

Marvin earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The University of Memphis, where he currently serves on the board of trustees. He also holds an MBA from Emory University. Marvin serves on the board of directors for FedEx Corporation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Marvin’s professional and civic leadership has earned him many accolades. Most notable are multiple appearances on Barron’s annual list of “Top CEOs”; inclusion on Fortune’s “Most Inspirational CEOs” and “World’s Greatest Leaders” lists; and being named “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Council, “Corporate Executive of the Year” by Black Enterprise and one of Savoy’s “Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America.”

Marvin and his wife Sharyn are committed to being of service within their faith and community, primarily through the support of organizations that promote higher education, self-empowerment, and excellence for minority youth.


Program Lead, Build Black with Shopify

Amena is a seasoned ecommerce and tech exec with over 12 years of experience in the space. Starting her career working with some of Canada’s biggest retailers in the ecommerce space; Amena has helped buy and build online catalogs, develop and execute online promotional strategies and push marketing campaigns and merchandising initiatives for past companies like Hudson’s Bay Company, Well.ca, and DSW Canada. 

In 2016, Amena moved from the merchant side to the product side, working with design and development agency partners for the Shopify Plus revenue org. Amena has now stepped into work she is incredibly proud to do, leading the Build Black program at Shopify. Working with an amazing team; their goal is to make successful entrepreneurship more accessible for Black businesses.

Outside of this incredible work, she is a multi-hyphenate with a plethora of experiences, side hustles and entrepreneurial endeavours to her name. Above all else, she is a mother, fitness enthusiast and a creative artist specializing in watercolour and gouache.


Sr. Strategic Operations Manager, Build Black with Shopify

Ewuraesi Thompson is a multifaceted professional with a passion and commitment to building strong communities and developing streamlined processes and operations to support business growth. She has a decade of experience focused on the intersections between technology and the empowerment of underserved people. Ewuraesi has built and led communities and teams that support national initiatives. She has partnered with multinational organizations like Amazon, Unbounce and YWCA to do her advocacy work. 

Since joining Shopify in 2020, Ewuraesi has worked on both commercial and non-commercial sides of the company. She’s currently operating as the Sr. Strategic Operations Manager of the Build Black team. In this role she’s in charge of creating and executing on programmatic and marketing strategies that help support, highlight and amplify black entrepreneurs. 

She’s often sought out for her strategic expertise, showing up in many digital publications and community panels. When she’s not finding new ways to support others, she can be found exploring and adding to her collection of teas.


Community Program Manager, Build Black with Shopify

Anikei has numerous years of experience in the e-commerce and tech space, and is known both professionally and personally for her dedication to the Black community. She is the Community Program Manager for Shopify’s Black Entrepreneurship team (Build Black), and serves as the Community Engagement Lead for Shopify’s Black Employee Resource Group. 

Also an entrepreneur, Anikei founded BLKYUTE – a growing clothing brand with a philanthropic approach that works to support and uplift the Black community.

Graduating from the University of Windsor with a double major in psychology and criminology, Anikei has always had a passion for exploring and understanding mental health as well as the disproportionate overrepresentation of Black people within the criminal justice system. 

When not immersed in the preceding, Anikei enjoys traveling, watching crime docuseries, writing poetry and engaging in conversations aimed at destigmatizing the discourse of mental health issues and promoting therapy within the Black community.


Sheryl Denise Swoopes is regarded as one of the greatestfemale athletes of all time. She is often referred to as the“Female Michael Jordan”, and was inducted in the NaismithBasketball Hall of Fame in 2016. Swoopes was the first playersigned to the Women’s National Basketball Association(WNBA), and with the introduction of the Nike Air Swoopesin 1995, Sheryl became the first female athlete to have aNikeSignature Shoe named after her. Sheryl is a 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist, 4-time WNBA Champion, and a NCAA National Champion.

As a professional athlete in the WNBA, Sheryl Swoopes spent ten seasons with the Houston Comets where she won four consecutive champions. She was named the league’s Most Valuable Player three times, Defensive Player of the Year three times, and Scoring Champion two times. Sheryl was named a WNBA All-Star six times.She was also named to the All-WNBA First Team five times and the All-WNBA Second Team two times.IN 2011, Swoopes was named one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players and in 2016, she was named to theWNBA Top 20 @ 20 list. Sheryl also spent time with the Seattle Storm (May 2008-September 2008) and the Tulsa Shock (May 2011–September 2011).

Sheryl was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2016.

Joined Nike as part of the W.I.N Program in 2020. Current position is an APLM forSports Graphics and Promo.


Jarvis Sam is Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at Nike Inc and recently named Forbes 30 Under 30 in Sports class of 2021 as well as Portland Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. In his current role, he oversees a team of people focused on driving diverse representation, inclusive leader and social justice education, professional development and the ecosystem of promoting and creating a culture of belonging inside and outside of Nike. 

Prior to his current role, Jarvis held various roles focused on acquiring new talent capabilities for the company and driving large programs, partnerships and initiatives aimed at impacting representation and accelerating the flow of Nike’s diverse talent pipelines. Jarvis collaborated closely with key stakeholders and partner organizations, internally and externally to facilitate and measure effective workplace diversity and inclusion models. Additionally, he led Nike’s candidate experience and talent attraction/ employer branding efforts – driving best in class approaches and strategies to amplify the company’s employment voice and obsess the candidate. 

Jarvis frequently liaises with the sports marketing function and product teams to execute on key initiatives with signature Nike athletes like Serena Williams and League partners like the WNBA and NFL. Prior to Nike, Sam worked as the Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Snap, Inc., (Snapchat) where he was accountable for building the company’s first ever D&I strategy, establishing the first five employee resource groups and rolling out the initial iteration of the global unconscious bias awareness and implicit association training all whilst driving key technology recruiting approaches to scale the company 6x through IPO. Before that, Sam worked at Google as a Diversity Program Manager and led part of the diversity recruitment practice. 

Jarvis began his career as a strategy and operations consultant with Deloitte Consulting in Houston, primarily focused on clients in the oil & gas industry. Jarvis is a graduate of Rice University where he studied History, Public Policy, and Sport Management with emphasis in race and gender rhetoric. Jarvis will receive his MBA from Brown University and IE School of Business in May 2022. In his spare time, Jarvis does musical theater, most recently acting as Jimmy Early in a production of Dreamgirls. He loves film, sports, karaoke, and can be frequently seen doing a rendition of Tina Turner’s greatest hits around Portland, OR, where he currently resides.


Carl Brown’s creative vision helped revolutionize the sportswear industry. As Co-founder, of FUBU–“For Us, By Us”—Brown help create a distinctive line of jerseys, jeans, outerwear, and a host of other related gear and accessories with a decidedly urban style to them. FUBU’ s phenomenal success has made mainstream apparel companies realize the potential for fashionable sportswear that appeals not just to trendsetting urban youth, but to copycat mainstream teens as well. Raised in Hollis Queens New York, Carl is Co-Founder of a company that earned $350 million in revenues in 1998, placing it nearly in the same stratosphere as such designer sportswear labels as Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger. FUBU signed a deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to make FUBU “NBA” gear, and launched a separate line of women’s apparel called FUBU Ladies. Not surprisingly, despite his incredible success, Carl remains humble. He told New York Daily News that the most cherished perk of financial success “is being able to control your destiny day to day.”

 Never content to sit back and let the profits roll in, new challenges for FUBU came in the adversities of the music and film industry. In 2001, Carl launched FB Entertainment and FUBU Films. He collaborated with Universal Records to release a hip-hop and R&B compilation CD that sold over 500,000 copies generating over $4 million in revenue. In 2005, Carl positioned the FUBU Corporation as the primary sponsor of Mike Harmon Racing for the NASCAR-BUSCH Series. This multiyear partnership introduced the 1st black owned Company to race in the BUSH and NEXTEL CUP Series. Currently, Carl and the FUBU quartet have expanded their company’s portfolio with the acquisitions of Coogi Sportswear, Crown Holder apparels and Heatherrette clothing. In 2006, Carl launched his own Wine & Spirits division by introducing Seraphin Cognac and Erotique Liqueur to the market. Carl Brown’s Beverage Division is positioning itself to become a major player in importations of Fine Wine & Spirits. Carl Brown recently partnered with 3 Spirits LLC to create Erotique Liqueur on course to be distributed nationwide by 2017. In 2013, Carl Brown launched the FUBU Personal Care Line with a mission to provide personal care and grooming products specifically for the male and female African American market. In 2017, Carl once again expands his empire with the launch of one of the most innovative community development ventures of the 21st century with the creation of his premier boutique hospitality brand, hotelFUBU. hotelFUBU represents over 30 years of commitment to designing lifestyle products with a specific consumer focus and creates a powerful branding machine to meet the demands of the millennial market by promoting innovation through consumer-focused lifestyle marketing and design. 


The acclaimed Dr. Ph.D. J. Alexander Martin has externalized many successful ventures in the fashion industry including the iconic clothing line FUBU –“For Us By Us” – serving as the co-founder and Vice President. Today, his kingdom includes a clothing line, a non-profit, and a consulting firm. Through all of his endeavors, his innate talent and ability to predict trends have caused him to impact the fashion world once again. Rightfully portrayed as the man who made urban culture a part of the mainstream, J’s consistency in fashion has now given him a platform to emerge as an effectual leader once again.Born and raised in Hollis Queens New York, his professional desire was realized at a young age. With an evoked confidence, motivation, and a sense of direction, this allowed J to navigate around the traps of urban life that snared many of his peers. With his developed vision to become an efficacious entrepreneur, J attended the Fashion Institute of Technology And has a doctorate in Philosophy Business Administration & Entrepreneurship from Harvest Christian University. Dr. Ph.D. J.  courageously served with the United States Navy during Desert Storm and was released on an honorable medical discharge. 


Keith Perrin is an accomplished, well-known entrepreneur who successfully introduced, FUBU the Collection, a game changing apparel brand that currently reports over $6 billion in retail sales to date. As Vice President and director of marketing Keith was the point person who placed FUBU in dozens of music videos, photo shoots, concerts, TV appearances and movies. His relationship with music artists and dozens of celebrities is on a first name, private access basis that has been the mainstay of FUBU’s strategy for years.

In his role he also was the point person dealing directly with key retail accounts that were FUBU’s primary sales outlets. He and his 3 partners, Daymond John, Carl Brown and J. Alexander Martin realized extraordinary celebrity and literally changed the way business viewed the role of young multi-cultural entrepreneurs throughout America.

In recognition of Keith’s contributions to the fashion industry and his business management skills he has been honored with many prestigious awards including the Ernst & Young’ Under 40 Award (2004)s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2003); Crain’s Business of 40.

Keith grew up in Queens NY and through the wise upbringing and encouragement of his single parent mother he begun working when he was 14. By 18 he had established himself in NY’s real estate market first working for NY’s Housing and Urban Development office (HUD), then as a rental agent and finally as a Property Manager of a 200-unit Harlem complex, the youngest manager in the company. His work in the fashion industry has taken him to a number of continents such as Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

Keith has worked with such well-known fashion brands as Kappa, Coogi, Married to the Mob, Heatherette and Drunkn Munky. He’s also the Brand Manager of Celebrity Integration for The Shark Group. One of Keith’s main responsicelebrities and influencers with the companies Daymond John invests in and building a valuable relationship.

FUBU the Collection became the first recipient of the Essence Achievement Award given to a company, and in 2004, the FUBU partners/owners were the first to receive the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship from Brandeis University.

Keith is an excellent public speaker and has been the key speaker in Colleges, Highschools, Corporations, Boys and Girls clubs and has appeared on and addressed groups including The Judge Hatchett show, Various News programs, BET, and The Montel Williams Show.

Keith’s approachable personality has made him a well-known and widely “liked” figure in the fashion and entertainment industry.

As a founding member of the worldwide brand Fubu The Collection, Keith continues to pioneer new ventures in a quest to ensure urban lifestyle maintains its grip on society. Fubu Radio is his newest project, and it is hot. Keith is the CEO and GM of the station, where he oversees the administrative and business functions of the station.

Even with a very busy schedule Keith manages to give back to his community and assist those who are less fortunate by his charitable donations, mentoring and time.

Launched Dec 24, 2015, Fubu Radio has a scintillating concept to promote the best of our past while celebrating the possibilities of our future. It’s a “bridge” to what made us who we are and what we are evolving into as a progressive society. It is truly a celebration of the best in urban life, culture and community.

Keith says, “because of my dissatisfaction with today’s current radio programming, I wanted something more exciting to listen to. Every day you hear the same songs played on radio all over the country. I wanted to hear songs from back in the days of our era that they don’t play anymore on current radio playlists.

Today, Fubu Radio plays the best of Hip Hop and R&B. The playlist features the best Hip-Hop and R&B classics from 1990-Present. Fubu Radio also showcases amazing mixes from the hottest DJs in the country and we create opportunities for new artists to be showcased on The Power Connect show with Ejay the DJ.

Fubu Radio’s current on air shows is Chrys with a Y with host Chrys Childs, The Takeover with Shay McCray, The MMM Show with Mr. Mecc and Krystal Lavenne, The Kiss Radio Show with DJ Hershey, Moandress, Sister Sypha and Cornelius J, The K Foxx Show with K. Foxx and The Power Connect show with Ejay the DJ which highlights new artists. Keith plans on adding more shows to the station in 2023. Hot topics will include everything from current events, celebrity rumors, comedy, fashion, relationship advice, how to write a grant, science and tech programs and more.

To connect with the hottest station in urban life, check out www.fuburadio.com


McDaniels approached a local TV station with an idea to host a music-video show in 1982. The station was not enthusiastic about McDaniels idea at first, because the concept didn’t exist. After about a year, McDaniels founded a show he called Video Music Box (VMB).

It was not long before VMB’s 6-day, 60-minute public television viewership began to grow. The show was #2 in it’s time slot, second to Oprah. 

In 1985, McDaniels became the first to broadcast a hip-hop concert called Fresh Fest, on VMB. It featured many of today’s hip-hop icons such as Run D.M.C., LL Cool J, Whodini, and many others.

In 1995, Billboard magazine recognized the show and awarded VMB as the Best Local R&B/Hip-hop Regional Show. Additionally, the show was also notably voted as the Top-10 Greatest Hip Hop TV Moments by VH1 in 2003. By 2005, over 192,000 households per week were regularly viewing VMB. McDaniels had shined a light on an under tapped urban audience and literally answered its outcries against mainstream media’s disregard of its favorite artists with VMB.

Film and Production

Video Music Box started to and so did McDaniels.He believed he could do a better job of producing videos for some of these emerging artists, McDaniels partnered with childhood friend Lionel C. Martin (The Vid Kid) and co-founded Classic Concepts Productions, a film- and video-production company that produced over 300 music videos, commercials, films, and documentaries between 1987 and 1997. Most notably, Classic Concepts was instrumental in producing videos for such greats as Public Enemy, the Notorious B.I.G, Big Daddy Kane, Nas, SWV and Wu-Tang Clan.

Maxwell Melvin an inmate from Rahway State Prison wrote McDaniels about a government-sponsored hip-hop music program at the prison and McDaniels immediately took an interest in the story and went to the prison to film a documentary about the program called The Lifers Group at Rahway State Prison, which aired on VMB, and was nominated for an Emmy in 1990.

McDaniels has interviewed former President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Legendary Salsa Singer Celia Cruz and reported from The National Democratic Convention, just to name a few.

McDaniels hip-hop street credibility later led him to be approached by producers of the groundbreaking film Juice, starring Tupac Shakur, where he was asked to serve as a consultant to the film and was given the job of associate producer in 1992. 

When film production began for Who’s the Man? starring Ed Lover and Doctor Dré, McDaniels was again called upon—this time to work in front of the camera, playing himself in the supporting cast.

Hip-Hop Tastemaker

In 1996, McDaniels would go on to add fashion to his repertoire with the creation of a New York Urban Fashion show called “The Phat Fashion”, which would feature the urban clothing lines of designers such as FUBU,Sean John, Adidas and Karl Kani . Soon after, McDaniels opened his place within the urban fashion space with the launch of Uncle Ralph’s Urban Gear, a Brooklyn-based clothing store .

By 1997, McDaniels was hired as an on-air personality to host a hip-hop radio show on New York’s Hot 97 that reached over 6 million listeners within the Tri-State area.

Multimedia Technology

Recognizing a need to keep up with today’s technology and sense a of responsibility to his audience, McDaniels developed the Video Music Box archives and offered CNN, MTV, BET, TV One and VH1 access to feature music programming from his vast library of over 20,000 hours of video.

In 2016, McDaniels continues to consult on documentaries from Nas, Tribe Called Quest, Wu-tang Clan and his content is seen on all social networks around the world.

McDaniels is producer alongside Mimi Valdez and Executive producer Pharell for the 2018 feature film release Roxanne,Roxanne currently on Netflix.

He is also a consultant/visual producer for the Queens Library system, programming to over 65 branches.

In 2016 he was requested to put his archives in The Smithsonian African-American Museum of History.

Ralph continues to speak to young creators around the world 


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