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Named by Essence magazine as one of the 50 most inspiring African Americans in the U.S., Michael Eric Dyson is also a best-selling author, one of the nation's most renowned public intellectuals, and he has revitalized the title with the fervor of an ordained Baptist minister. Called “a street fighter in a suit and tie,” he takes on the toughest and most controversial issues of the day, including race, politics and pop culture, with his fearless and fiery rhetoric.

An MSNBC political analyst and former host of NPR’s The Michael Eric Dyson Show, Dyson is also an award-winning author. His speeches and books both provide some of the most significant commentary on modern social and intellectual thought today, interwoven with a combination of cultural criticism, race theory, religion, philosophical reflection and gender studies. Works such as Making Malcolm X; I May Not Get There with You; Holler if You Hear Me; and Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye deeply probe social themes and cultural politics.

A popular professor of sociology at Georgetown University, Dyson is a speaker that will never bore audiences; his presentations are thought-provoking, unwavering and foster social change. His excitement on the topics he speaks on—racial profiling and its impact on black America, the sociology of hip hop, and Dr. King for the 21st Century, among others—is contagious.

Dyson bridges gaps between generations, connecting civil rights identity to hip-hop culture, while forging links between older and younger Americans, especially black Americans. As a cutting edge historian, he educates the general public on the significance of hip hop, not only in understanding the black community, but general American culture, as well. With his powerful voice, Dyson reaches beyond race, addressing the universal commonality of American concern.


• Three-time NAACP Award winner

• American Book Award winner

• MSNBC Political Analyst

• Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University

• Former NPR host of the Michael Eric Dyson Show

• Named by Essence magazine as one of the 50 most inspiring African Americans

• Author of 16 books, including: April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King's Death and How it Changed America; Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black middle class Lost Its Mind?; Can You Hear Me Now?: The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson; and Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster

rsz 11rsz lawrence ross headshot

Lawrence Ross attended both the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in History. Ross also has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.

Ross began his writing career in the mid 1990s as the managing editor of Rap Sheet magazine, the west coast’s first hip hop magazine. He’d then move to the Los Angeles Independent newspapers, where as a reporter, he covered city government and community issues in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Culver City, and West Hollywood.

Ross’s first book, The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities, was published by Kensington Books in 2000. The first book written about all nine African American fraternities and sororities, the Divine Nine is a Los Angeles Times, and Essence magazine best seller. As a result, Ross has lectured at over 500 colleges and universities, speaking on issues of fraternalism, student development, and fraternity and sorority hazing. He’s written commentaries, and has been interviewed, by The Root, The Grio, Los Angeles Times, the BBC, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, MSNBC, CNN, and other publications.

In 2001, Ross’ second book, The Ways of Black Folks: A Year in the Life of a People was selected as a “Fall Must Read” by the National Association of Black Journalists. The Ways of Black Folks chronicled Ross’ travels to England, France, Ghana, Brazil, Jamaica, and Canada, as he searched for the commonalities in the African diaspora experience. His two novels,Friends With Benefits and Skin Game, were both chosen by Doubleday’s Black Expressions Book Club. And Ross’ fifth book, Money Shot: The Wild Nights and Lonely Days in the Black Porn Industry was published by Running Press, and is the first book written about African Americans in the adult film industry.

In early 2016, Ross’s sixth book, Blackballed: The Black & White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses is being published by St. Martin’s Press. Blackballed explores the present and historical issues of racism on hundreds of American college campuses, and how that ties into today’s #BlackLivesMatter campaign.

Ross lives in Los Angeles with his wife, April, and their son Langston.


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