Not only will President Obama be at SXSW to give the keynote address on Friday at the official kick-off of the annual film, music, and technology festival, but First Lady, Michelle Obama, will also be there to discuss the Let Girls Learn initiative.
Other notable African Americans will lend their insight and wisdom on various panels and at event during the five-day SXSW festival, including:
1. James Prince
As CEO of prolific Houston-based label Rap-A-Lot Records, Prince is a pioneer in the hip-hop music industry.
2. Nelson George
Nelson George is the author of groundbreaking histories of African American music, including Where Did Our Love Go? : the Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound and Hip Hop America.
3. Casey Gerald
Casey Gerald became the co-founder and CEO of MBAs Across America, a national movement of MBAs and entrepreneurs working together to revitalize America.
4. Henry Louis Gates
Gates, along with filmmaker Ken Burns, will discuss why race is critical to their understanding of America.
5. Kerry Washington
Actress Kerry Washington will take part in a discussion about personal branding.
6. Maxine Williams, Global Director of Diversity for Facebook
Maxine Williams, global director of diversity for Facebook, has been behind industry-defining changes regarding diversity in tech, including Facebook’s public roll out of a managing bias training course, piloting of the company’s “diverse slate approach,” and the launch of TechPrep, a resource hub for blacks, Latinos and their parents and guardians.
7. Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE
ELLE.com editor Leah Chernikoff will lead a panel including founder of Black Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant, on the challenges women face today in asking for more money in their careers and businesses.
8. Clarence Wardell, U.S. Digital Service at the White House
Currently a member of the U.S. Digital Service at the White House, Dr. Wardell III was a 2014-2015 Presidential Innovation Fellow, where he worked to help launch the White House Police Data Initiative.
9. Maverick Carter, CEO, SpringHill Ent/Uninterrupted
Maverick Carter is a visionary businessman who, through his accelerated experience in the business marketing industry, brings a unique and innovative perspective on branding and partnership management.
10. Robert F. Smith, CEO, Vista Equity Partners
Robert F. Smith, the founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, will be a judge for the startup accelerator/pitch contest at SXSW.