The Most Influential African Americans at SXSW

Here’s A List Of The Most Influential African Americans at SXSW

Vista Equity Partners CEO Robert F. Smith (Image: File)

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.

[Related: Obama ‘Beefs Up’ TechHire Initiative to Put More Americans in Tech Jobs]

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 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.