Host

Sheryl Lee Ralph

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December 2, 2020
Gilead World AIDS Day Town Hall
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm PT

Jenifer Lewis

Jenifer Lewis is an actress, singer, author and activist. With more than 500 appearances in film and television, Jenifer currently stars as the outspoken grandmother, “Ruby,” on the Emmy-nominated hit show “Black-ish.” A third spin-off from “Black-ish,” entitled “Old-ish,” is currently in development at ABC, and stars Jenifer alongside Laurence Fishburne. Jenifer’s bestselling memoir, “The Mother of Black Hollywood,” was hailed for its honesty and humor and she is currently writing her second book. Jenifer has successfully combined her art with her passion for social justice through numerous viral political songs including “Get Your Ass Out and Vote,” “All Hands on Deck, Take Your Knee Off Our Necks,” and “In These Streets” with Brandy and Roz Ryan. In June, it was announced that Jenifer will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Anthony Hamilton

R&B places you in a moment. You not only hear it, but you also see it, touch it, and feel it. It may very well be the most vivid vehicle for storytelling outside of the silver screen.
Every time Anthony Hamilton gets behind a microphone, he sings a story—never sparing his passion, pain, loss, love, and everything in between. The GRAMMY® Award-winning multiplatinum singer, songwriter, producer, actor, author, and icon proudly maintains the traditions of timeless R&B through everything he does with his own swagger, spirit, and soul.
This especially holds true on his 2021 tenth full-length album and first release under his own My Music Box label in partnership with BMG.

“R&B is the foundation for so much music, man,” he exclaims. “That underlying storytelling is the gritty fabric of life woven in all of us. It’s always been important to me. My favorite songs paint a picture. They live longer in a deeper place. In my songs, I create these moments. Maybe listeners can recreate their own memories in a way, so they can feel good. R&B does that. It’s still alive; it’s never going anywhere.”

He continually proves that. Throughout an illustrious near three-decade career, he has sold over 50 million albums worldwide to date, he took home a 2009 GRAMMY® Award in the category of “Best Traditional R&B Performance,” and he delivered a momentous concert for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, living up to the title of “narrator of love” in historic fashion.

He went from singing as a member of the church choir at six-years-old to launching one of the most prolific careers in R&B. For two decades, he released pivotal albums such as the platinum Comin’ Where I’m From [2003], chart-topping Soulife [2005], gold-selling Ain’t Nobody Worryin’ [2005], gold-selling The Point of It All [2008], two-time GRAMMY nominated Back To Love [2011], his first Christmas album Home for the Holidays [2014], and What I’m Feelin’ [2016], which bowed in the Top 15 of the Billboard Top 200. Not to mention, he delivered classic tunes such as “Charlene,” “Best of Me,” and “The Point of it All.”

In addition to anchoring classic albums, he remains the rare talent who can collaborate with everyone from Al Green, Buddy Guy, and Santana to 2Pac, Rick Ross, Gorillaz, DJ Khaled, Chris Brown, and Mark Ronson. His voice can also be heard on “Freedom” from the Academy® Award-nominated blockbuster Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino in addition to multiple other soundtracks. An accomplished actor, he made his film debut in the critically acclaimed American Gangster and recently starred as Kyle Kirby in the BET+ feature, Carl Weber’s Influence. He was featured as the subject of the NPR documentary series Noteworthy. He also self-published Cornbread, Fish ‘n Collared Greens, which details the stories behind some of his most recognizable tunes and explores another passion: southern food. However, 2020 marked a major first as he took full ownership of his music, launched My Music Box as its home, and initiated a distribution deal with BMG.

“Well, it was time,” he smiles. “I paid my dues. I’ve been signed to a major label since 1993. There’s no better way to create a legacy than to own your work, take it, invest in it, and grow it. I’m focused on running my business and bringing my music to the right people. We’re all excited to build something together. My Music Box is everything I believe to be special. The best is yet to come though. Believe me, we’re coming with it.”

It starts with the single “Back Together” [feat. Rick James]. Produced by 9th Wonder [Mary J. Blige, JAY-Z, Drake], a simmering beat and strings wrap around Hamilton’s instantly recognizable delivery on the verses. Meanwhile, he duets with none other than the late legend Rick James by way of a sample 9th Wonder dug out of the crates. Complemented by a classic James harmony, he carries the hook—“Why can’t we just get back together?”—to the heavens and back like only he can.

“I grew up listening to ‘Super Freak’ and ‘Fire and Desire’,” he recalls. “I’m a big fan of Rick James. There’s nothing like his voice. It’s just man through and through. 9th Wonder cut up the sample right in front of me. I wrote the song in a way to make it feel like Rick was singing along with me. ‘Back Together’ pays homage to one of the greats. To me, it’s also about love and getting back together with someone you knew was special. In the time of COVID-19, it took on a new meaning too. It means getting back to our lives. Be close to those who are special to you. I want to be close to anybody right now.”

While finishing the album, he stepped up as part of the fight against COVID-19 at every chance possible. He joined forces with Global Citizen and the World Health Organization to perform from his house as part of the #TogetherAtHome Livestream Concert Series, generating a staggering 80K live viewers. He grabbed the microphone for “Saving OurSelves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” on BET Networks and the “Under One Roof: Livestream Concert to Benefit North Carolina Artists.”

Through such performances and new music, he reaffirms the power of R&B and its progression.
“The record is a different energy for me,” he admits. “When they listen, I want my fans to feel like they’re at home, but I still want to push them out of their comfort zones and sonically challenge them to grow with me.” Through the album, the book, performances, and his forthcoming hat line House of Fedora, Anthony Hamilton continues one of the greatest stories in R&B history.

“I am a father who does music,” he leaves off. “That’s it. I’m well-traveled and hungry for growth. I’m a leader. I’m a man of God. I’ll be around for a long time. When you hear me, I hope you go, ‘That’s the Anthony Hamilton I love. He ain’t lost it yet. He probably never will. Damn, that man can sing!”

Kenny Lattimore

With a career spanning over two decades, highlighted by his 1996 breakthrough single “Never Too Busy” and the wedding staple “For You,” Kenny has garnered Grammy and Soul Train Award nominations, Top 10 singles, Top 20 R&B albums and an NAACP Image Award for Best New Artist, while staying sincere about giving his heart and soul to communities through music.

The Washington DC native dazzles audiences with an unprecedented range influenced by his classical, jazz, and gospel upbringing. Kenny is famous for delivering just the right dose of classic crooning, exceptional runs and authentic emotion. He has placed a distinctive stamp on classic songs recorded by musical icons as Donny Hathaway and The Beatles, transformed Christmas standards, and created musical magic on iconic movie soundtracks like Love Jones, Best Man and Disney’s Lion King II Simba’s Pride.

Kenny Lattimore’s recording legacy includes the critically acclaimed albums, “From The Soul Of Man,” “Timeless” and “Anatomy of a Love Song,” which produced the Top 10 single “Love Me Back.” While “A Kenny Lattimore Christmas” earned a Stellar Award nomination for ‘Event CD of
the Year,’ Lattimore’s ninth solo studio album “Vulnerable” produced another Top 10 hit, “Stay on Your Mind,” which climbed the charts to #7 on UAC Billboard and held top radio positions in multiple U.S. markets. Kenny is a humanitarian who uses his life and platform as a tool to inspire
others to pursue excellence and elevate positive conversation about art, culture, family and faith.
Lattimore continues to tour globally, showcasing his unique creative journey through stunning and diverse set lists. Keep up with Kenny’s music, tours, merchandise, by visiting his website kennylattimore.com and following him on Instagram, and Twitter @KennyLattimore and Facebook @officialkennylattimore.

Kaj Goldberg

Kaj Goldberg Bio:

Kaj Goldberg is a native of Los Angeles. He grew up in Tarzana, California, as a child and remained in the San Fernando Valley, graduating from Taft High School. He and his family have recently moved to Pasadena.

After living abroad in Europe for almost five years, Kaj decided to return home to California to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of San Francisco, where he combined his studies with his love of surfing, skiing and mountain biking.

Upon graduation, Kaj headed back home to Los Angeles, where he began working in the film and television industry. He rose quickly through the ranks of Fox TV, Paramount Television and MTV as a studio executive. But his love of news made him give up his studio career, and the journalism bug bit hard.

He was hired by CBS News in Palm Springs in 2002, and after just a year and a half, Kaj moved to the ABC affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona, as weather anchor/reporter. He then worked for CBS2 in Los Angeles before joining the KTLA weather team in 2015.

On his off days, Kaj enjoys practicing yoga with his wife or spending as much time as possible with his three children.

Leslie Odom

Leslie Odom, Jr. is a multifaceted Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer – spanning Broadway, television, film, and music. Odom Jr. recently released his third full-length album and first of original material, entitled Mr in November, and also starred alongside Cynthia Erivo in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet.

Odom Jr. can currently be heard voicing the character of “Owen Tillerman” in Josh Gad’s new animated musical-comedy series Central Park which premiered on Apple TV+ on May 29. He will continue to captivate audiences this year in a filmed performance of the original Broadway production of “Hamilton” set to be released on Disney+ beginning July 3. His other upcoming projects include the film adaptation of the Olivier Award-nominated play One Night in Miami directed by Regina King, where he portrays and performs the original songs of legendary singer Sam Cooke; the feature film Music written and directed by singer-songwriter Sia; and Needle in A Timestack written and directed by John Ridley. Next Spring, he will star in The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to David Chase’s Award-winning HBO series The Sopranos. Additional film and television credits include Murder on the Orient Express, Only, Red Tails and Smash.

Odom Jr. is best known for his breakout role as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton, for which he won the Tony Award for “Best Actor in a Musical” and a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on the original cast recording. He made his Broadway debut in RENT at the age of 17. He also starred opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo in a 2014 City Center Encores! revival of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick…Boom!
In December 2017, Odom Jr. returned to the New York City stage in a solo concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The cabaret-style performance was crafted around signature songs and music that shaped this artist's journey, all performed with a world-class band in front of a live audience. The show was filmed for broadcast as an hour-long PBS special as part of the 17-time Emmy Award-winning series, Live from Lincoln Center, and premiered in April 2018.

A Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Odom Jr.’s self-titled debut album was part-funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and released in 2014 by Borderlight Entertainment, Inc. In June 2016, the album was re-released with additional material and charted at #1 on the Billboard Jazz chart and #147 on the Billboard 200. In winter 2017, he re-released Simply Christmas as a deluxe edition with new arrangements and new songs. The holiday album hit #1 on iTunes and Billboard Jazz Charts.

In March 2018, Odom Jr. added the title of author to his resume with the release of his book – Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher and Never Stop Learning. Written in the style of a commencement speech, the book brings together what Odom Jr. has learned in life so far, tapping into universal themes of starting something new, following your passions, discovering your own potential, and surrounding yourself with the right people. Failing Up is about unlocking your true potential and making your dreams come true even when it seems impossible. The book was published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

Mj Rodriguez

Singer/Actress, Mj Rodriguez also known as Michaela Jaé, has taken the performing arts by storm, with her starring role as Blanca Evangelista on Pose. By being a Afro Latina Woman of the Trans experience, she understands her work as an Artist is key to shifting the narrative. With receiving an Imagen award, and landing nominations for both the Critics choice awards as well as The MTV awards, she realizes how much the landscape of the industry is changing and how proud she is to be a part of it. Her sky has no limit.

Kalen Allen

The Clark Sisters

Lalah Hathaway

Nominated for three Grammys in 2019 including Best R&B album; a recipient of 5 Grammy awards, with wins as Artist and Producer for 2017’s Best R&B Album 'Lalah Hathaway Live'; performer of the no.1 Urban AC song of 2016, ‘Angel’; and vocalizer of the viral-making ‘chord’… Lalah Hathaway’s track record speaks for itself. Her list of collaborators have included such illustrious talents as Pharrell Williams, Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre and Anderson .Paak. Her performance history, meanwhile, has seen invitations to the stage from legends including Prince, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Anita Baker. With a new solo project on the way, Lalah has also been focusing time on a special project close to her heart. ‘Legacy: Lalah Hathaway sings Donny Hathaway’ is the first ever orchestral show dedicated to the songs of Donny Hathaway - sang by his daughter Lalah. Conducted by the supreme Vince Mendoza, the show received its premiere in New York City in July 2019 at Lincoln Center.

Thelma Houston

After many decades of performing, Thelma Houston continues to celebrate her long and outstanding career and shows no signs of slowing down! Over the course of many years, promoters have been asking Thelma, when is she going to return to her Motown roots?

After much thought, Thelma has decided that the timing was right to launch a brand new band show called: “THELMA HOUSTON’s MOTOWN Experience” The show features non-stop classic Motown songs (that we all know and love,) along with a tribute to Ms. Houston’s friend, the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin!

Thelma was asked to join a stellar list of artists honoring the illustrious career of the late Donna Summer, who Thelma knew. Thelma recorded covers of Donna's classic songs: "Last Dance," Could it Be Magic?" and "I Love You." Thelma's 23rd album, "A Woman's Touch", was released recently through Shout Factory Records (distributed by Sony/BMG) and offers her rich interpretations of many classic R&B and pop recordings originally made famous by such male vocalists as Luther Vandross, Rev. Al Green, Sting and Marvin Gaye.

A Mississippi native, Thelma started out in the 60's performing in gospel music with the Art Reynolds Singers. She then signed to Capitol Records (home of the Beatles, Nat King Cole and Nancy Wilson) in 1967 and had her first hit song called "Baby Mine."
Soon Thelma was courted by several record labels and signed with ABC/Dunhill where she recorded and released her first solo album called "Sunshower" which was written, arranged, and produced by the legendary Jimmy Webb. After this critically acclaimed album was released, Thelma decided to accept an offer from one of the biggest record companies around, Motown Records.

With Motown Records, Thelma claimed the top of the Pop, R&B and Dance charts with her high-powered rendition of "Don't Leave Me This Way." That Gold Record classic gave Thelma the distinction of being the first solo female artist at Motown to win the Grammy Award for "Best R&B Female Vocal Performance."

Known as a humanitarian for her charitable causes and her tireless efforts in the battle against AIDS, the City of West Hollywood proclaimed January 29th as "Thelma Houston Day" in 2003. She has donated her talents to numerous charities including Devine Design for Project Angel Food, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the Minority AIDS Project, to which she donated her $20,000 winnings from the TV show Hit Me Baby. She is also very active in the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP.

Thelma has rocked Rockefeller Center on NBC's The Today Show and the summer music special "Hit Me Baby, One More Time." She dazzled in ABC's Motown 45 and glittered on ABC's The Disco Ball. Along with Aretha Franklin and Mary Wilson, she raised the roof on Love, Rhythm and Blues for PBS. Thelma appeared with Phoebe Snow, Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples and CeCe Peniston as the "Sisters of Glory" in New York City in a rousing performance that received a special request to perform at The Vatican for The Pope.

The legendary Nile Rogers called upon Thelma to be his special guest for a sold-out concert at the Hollywood Bowl and she toured with Cher on her Living Proof Concert Tour. Additionally, she headlined at Harrah's in Las Vegas. Thelma has also been inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in New York City and honored as an "Apollo Legend" on the syndicated hit TV show, Showtime at the Apollo.

In April 2009, Thelma was honored to perform on the #1 rated television show in the USA, Fox's American Idol, where she tore it up for an estimated audience of over 25 million people. Shortly after, Thelma was called upon to open up the finale of the hit summer show, NBC's America's Got Talent, for an estimated TV audience of over 18 million people.

Thelma performs at many national dinner receptions for the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and was honored to perform in Denver when Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. In January 2009, Thelma then was asked to headline the official inauguration dinner for President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., at the Mayflower Hotel along with her friends, Cyndi Lauper and Melissa Etheridge. HRC President Joe Solmonese says, "It doesn't get much better than Thelma, as she adds nothing but class to our events."

In early 2020 Thelma collaborated with Morrissey on "Bobby, Don't You Think They Know." "It was interesting and fun working in the studio," he said. "I enjoy performing very much. The performance part of my job is what I enjoy the most. When I perform, I like to do all kinds of music and I try to incorporate that in my show. For me, to do one kind of thing all the time is boring. Morrissey heard the song and a few years later, he asked me to do this song on his album. It was very easy to work with Morrissey in the studio," she said.

Also released in early 2020 is the dance single "Turn Your World Around" (on Radikal Records) with Bimbo Jones. "I've worked with Lee Dagger from Bimbo Jones before. He has done some remixes for me. That's how the song came about. We wrote the song a few years ago and it was a lot of fun." The song was worked on the Billboard Dance Charts and went all the way to #7.

The summer of 2020 finds Thelma teaming up with the legendary Jimmy Webb (who wrote and produced Thelma’s critically acclaimed debut album called “Sunshower.”) to remake an updated version (with new lyrics from Jimmy) of the song (and video) called “Someone is Standing Outside.” The reaction on social media to this new version of this classic song has been unbelievable. Over the summer Thelma filmed her first virtual concert called “Thelma Houston Virtually Yours” that debuts on the Wale Rocks streaming platform in Oct. This concert was filmed outdoors and takes you on a musical journey featuring songs from Disco, Dance, Gospel and Motown.

With appearances from Tokyo to Las Vegas to London and beyond, Thelma continues to bring audiences to their feet with her dynamic, energetic Motown show. This Diva logs over 200 performances annually and the singer/songwriter is enjoying every moment of her success. "I still feel a tremendous excitement about performing," states the upbeat songstress. "I have so many more things I want to do, and I have NO plans to retire anytime soon."

Thelma's main home is in Los Angeles, CA.
Website: www.ThelmaHouston.com
FaceBook: www.FaceBook.com/ThelmaHoustonOfficial
Instagram: @ThelmaHoustonOfficial
Twitter: @Thelma_Houston

For more information on Ms. Thelma Houston
please contact Stephen Ford of Diva Central, Inc. at:
Office: 323.654.3482 (DIVA)
Cell & Text: 323.864.1933

Gloria Gaynor

A GRAMMY® winning artist with hit songs in each of the past five decades, Gloria continues to
tour the globe each year with her 10 piece band. She’s a 2012 GRAMMY® Hall of Fame
Inductee and World Music Awards “LEGEND Award” recipient.

When not focusing on her several charitable endeavors, Gloria continues to write and record
new music. Her recent work in Nashville with the GRAMMY Award® winning team of
Christopher Stevens (TobyMac, Mandisa, Jason Aldean), F. Reid Shippen (Dierks Bentley,
Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban), Bryan Fowler, Shannon Sanders, and Drew Ramsey as well as
Yolanda Adams, Bart Millard (MercyMe), Mike Farris, and Jason Crabb has delivered her new
album, “TESTIMONY.” Her new roots gospel album debuted in the Top 5 of the BILLBOARD
Top Gospel Albums Chart, the Top 3 on the iTunes Gospel Chart and the Top 20 on the
Amazon Overall Album Chart. The album has received rave reviews from Rolling Stone,
Billboard, The Herald-Standard, CBS Sunday Morning, The TODAY Show and more!

“TESTIMONY,” also received two GRAMMY® nominations for Best Roots Gospel Album and for
Best Gospel Performance / Song for Gloria’s duet with Yolanda Adams on the song, “Talkin’
‘Bout Jesus.” And Gloria took home the Best Roots Gospel GRAMMY® at the 2020 Award
Ceremony. Gloria also headlined the 2020 GRAMMY® Celebration.

In addition to her legendary recording career, Gloria has published two top selling books and
has performed on Broadway and TV. Her 2nd book, “We Will Survive: True Stories of
Encouragement, Inspiration & the Power of Song” was a 2014 Best Spoken Word GRAMMY®
Nominee. Gloria presented at the 2105 GRAMMY Awards® and was the headliner at the 2015
GRAMMY® Celebration. After an induction into the Library of Congress in 2016 for her
recording of, “I Will Survive,” she was honored by the Library in May 2017 with an “In
Conversation” with Robin Roberts (Good Morning America) and a concert in the Thomas
Jefferson Building’s Great Hall. Born and raised in Newark, Gloria was recently inducted into
the NJ Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 for her global acclaim and artistic achievement.

J’Nai Bridges

American mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, known for her “plush-voiced mezzo-soprano” (The New York Times), has been heralded as “a rising star” (Los Angeles Times), gracing the world’s top stages. While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of Ms. Bridges’s runs as the title heroine of Carmen at The Metropolitan Opera and Canadian Opera Company, she has emerged at this unique moment as a leading figure in classical music’s shift toward conversations of inclusion and racial justice in the performing arts. Bridges led a highly successful panel on race and inequality in opera with the Los Angeles Opera that drew international acclaim for being a “conversation of striking scope and candor” (The New York Times).

Bridges’s career highlights have included her highly-acclaimed debut at The Metropolitan Opera as Nefertiti in a sold-out run of Philip Glass’ opera Akhnaten, as well as a house and role debut with Washington National Opera as Dalila in Samson et Dalila, a sold-out Carnegie Hall Recital debut, her role debut of Kasturbai in Satyagraha at LA Opera, her Los Angeles Master Chorale debut, and her debuts at Dutch National Opera and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. In addition, Ms. Bridges made her Carmen role debut at the San Franciso Opera, creating the role of Josefa Segovia in the world premiere of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera, her debut as Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino with Opernhaus Zürich, and performances as Carmen in the world premiere of Bel Canto, an opera by Jimmy Lopez, based on the novel by Ann Patchett at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

A recipient of the 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence Award, Bridges earned her Master of Music degree from Curtis Institute of Music, and her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music.

Jody Watley

Miss Lawrence

Oleta Adams

Sheléa

With widespread comparison to the vocal expertise of legendary Whitney Houston, and
the piano prowess of Alicia Keys, it’s no surprise that artist and actress, Sheléa
(pronounced shuh-lay-yuh), has garnered co-signs from the likes of Stevie Wonder,
Mary J.Blige, Missy Elliott, David Foster, Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson,
Quincy Jones, and more. Blending traditional pop, jazz, R&B and soul, Sheléa brings a
contemporary edge to classics, and a classic touch to contemporary pop standards. With
years of making a name for herself as a vocal powerhouse, having performed twice at
the White House; Library of Congress; Carnegie Hall; the Kennedy Center; and more,
2020 marked her acting debut as Dorinda Clark in The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of
Gospel. The Lifetime biopic drew 2.7 million viewers and "was the strongest original
movie for all television for 2020 across key demos including both broadcast and cable."
With the film as the top social trend across all television, Sheléa’s name was prominently
found leading the charge.

Stephanie Mills

Stephanie Mills is a Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and Broadway star. Born in Brooklyn New York, she started singing at the age of three. At the age of nine, she won 6 straight weeks at the competitive Amateur Hour at the Apollo.

Ms. Mills began her professional career on the Broadway stage appearing in the hit musical “Maggie Flynn”. The New York native rose to stardom as “Dorothy” in the original Broadway run of the hit musical, “The Wiz”.

In 2015, Ms. Mills was cast as “Aunt Em” in the NBC live musical of “The Wiz, forty years after her initial Broadway appearance in the production. The recipient of countless number one hit records, multiple NAACP Image Awards, Grammy Award, and American Music Award just to name a few. She continues to do what she loves, which is travel around the country on tour and performing live in front of sold out audiences spreading love and empowering people to be their best.

With the state of our black males, Ms. Mills wanted to do more than just sing about love and inspiring. She recently formed her own 501© (3) non-profit corporation, the 444LOVE Foundation head quartered in Charlotte, NC; The 444LOVE Foundation
is a nonprofit that focuses on spreading love in the urban communities. Developing and maintaining programs to enrich our underprivileged youth both in school and outside of school. Helping families unite and come together. Supporting black businesses

Doug Peck

"Doug Peck is a Los Angeles based musician and educator. He has appeared in concert with artists like Renée Fleming, Heather Headley, Michelle Williams, Lupe Fiasco, Jessie Mueller, Shemekia Copeland, John Prine, Matthew Polenzani, Kristin Chenoweth, André DeShields, Tovah Feldshuh, and Ernestine Jackson, among many others. He conducted the original full orchestration of Carousel at the Glimmerglass Festival and created new Indian/jazz fusion arrangements and orchestrations for the stage version of Disney’s The Jungle Book seen in Chicago and Boston. He served as musical supervisor for the hit off-Broadway musical Ride The Cyclone and is co-creator of the Goodman Theatre’s unique free musical theatre program for talented high school students who would not otherwise have access to conservatory training. Peck has presented Assassins and Follies in concert, as well as A Night At The Oscars (a marathon concert of every Academy Award-winning song) and A Night At The Tonys (one song from every Tony Award-winning musical), plus concert tributes to Prince, David Bowie, Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, and Tina Turner. He is serving as Vocal Coach for the final season of Dear White People and is actively involved in Black Lives Matter and anti-racism work nationally. He has music directed Dreamgirls twice and is overjoyed to be making music with the legendary Sheryl Lee Ralph.”

Brian Stokes Mitchell

Dubbed “the last leading man” by The New York Times, Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film, and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras.

He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. He also gave Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, and Ragtime. Other notable Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Shuffle Along. In 2016 he was awarded his second Tony Award, the prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Tony for his Charitable work with The Actors Fund. That same year Stokes was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

An extremely versatile and in-demand singer, Stokes has performed at venues spanning jazz, opera, pops, country, and musical theater worlds. He has worked with John Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Gustavo Dudamel, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Big Band, The Mormon Tabernacle choir and the Muppets. Stokes has made multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall beginning with his debut with the San Francisco Symphony through his televised performance in South Pacific opposite Reba McEntire to his sold-out solo concert, which he continues to perform throughout the U.S. He has been invited twice to perform at the White House (both times aired on PBS’s “Great Performances”) and has performed multiple times for Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Stokes has delved deeply into various music disciplines. In addition to singing he began piano studies at the age of 6. A self-professed autodidact, his musical curiosity lead him to teach himself composing, arranging and orchestration, starting in his teens. He later studied, Film scoring, orchestration, and conducting both privately and through UCLA and subsequently scored and conducted a number of “Trapper John, MD” episodes, a series on which he was also a regular cast member. His musical talent has extended to the present day as producer, arranger and orchestrator on his three solo albums including his last recording, “Simply Broadway” and his upcoming recording “Plays With Music”, which is slated to be released this Fall. Stokes has appeared on more than 20 albums.

His extensive screen credits began with a guest starring role on “Roots:The next Generations”, followed by a 7-year stint on Trapper John, MD and have continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’ Great Performances to The Fresh Prince, Frasier, Glee, Jumping the Broom and his most recent recurring roles on Madam Secretary, Mr. Robot, The Path, Billions and The Good Fight. Other recent TV appearances include The Blacklist, Elementary, and Bull. As a voice-over artist he has played dozens of characters on animated TV episodes including performing “Through Heaven’s Eyes” in Dreamwork’s “The Prince of Egypt."

As a writer Stokes has contributed to the book Hirschfeld’s Harlem, wrote the preface to At This Theatre, and co-authored the children’s book Lights on Broadway. For fun he has been known to fly planes and jump out of them (usually not at the same time), and he can ride a bicycle on a high wire.

Stokes has enjoyed working with numerous charitable organizations from the March of Dimes to the USO. He is on the board of Americans For the Arts and is serving his 14th term as Chairman of the Board of the Actors Fund.

Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartay

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Cleve Jones

A civil rights icon and hero of the struggle for gay, lesbian and transgender rights, Cleve Jones has been a driving force behind the most important gains made by the LGBTQ community over the past four decades. From his early days in the gay liberation movement with Harvey Milk to co-founding the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, founding the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and fighting for marriage equality; Jones has made history as part of one of the most inspiring human rights movements of all time. He was portrayed in the Oscar-winning film Milk (for which he served as a historical consultant) by Emile Hirsch, prominently featured in the film And the Band Played On and in the critically acclaimed miniseries When We Rise, which was inspired by his memoir of the same title. Now speaking out for all who struggle for equality and fair treatment, Jones brings powerful perspective and storytelling talent to timely discussions of diversity, intersectionality and civil and human rights.

Born in 1954, Jones considers himself one of “the last generation of gay Americans that grew up wondering if there were others like himself.” Like thousands of others that fled repressive backgrounds, he was drawn to the progressive politics and sexual freedom of San Francisco in the early 1970s. It was there that he met Harvey Milk, the nation’s most outspoken gay elected official. Jones worked in Milk’s City Hall office as an intern until Milk’s assassination in 1978. With the onset of the AIDS epidemic, Jones rose up to organize the gay community and raise awareness, co-founding the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1983. The foundation has since grown into one of the largest and most influential advocacy organizations of its kind. In 1987, he founded the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, the world’s largest community arts project, memorializing the lives of more than 85,000 Americans. Jones’s first book, Stitching a Revolution: The Making of an Activist chronicles his life and how the AIDS Memorial Quilt project sought to restore hope in a time of tragedy and fear. Jones led the 2009 National March for Equality in Washington D.C. He also served on the Advisory Board of the American Foundation for Equal rights, which challenged California’s Proposition 8 in the U.S. Supreme Court, winning a landmark victory for marriage equality. In 2016, Jones released his memoir, When We Rise: My Life in the Movement, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. The book inspired a 2017 miniseries directed by Gus Van Zant and starring Guy Pearce as Jones. He currently works with UNITE HERE, the hotel, restaurant, and food service workers’ labor union.

A passionate speaker with a powerful story, Jones consistently receives rave reviews for both his onstage presence and collaboration with clients. His keynotes have won the hearts of a wide range of audiences, including a pharma company developing HIV drugs, fundraising professionals interested in community engagement, companies and organizations celebrating diversity and gay pride, human resources professionals seeking an LGBTQ perspective, and universities and groups interested in the history of the gay rights movement and civil rights.

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Bert Champagne

Top fundraising, logistical, and event production expert. Event Director, AIDS Walk New York (the largest AIDS fundraiser in the world), AIDS Walk Los Angeles, and AIDS Walk San Francisco.

He is known throughout Los Angeles as a dedicated and beloved volunteer for numerous organizations and events, including APLA’s S.T.A.G.E. event, “Divas Simply Singing,” the
Los Angeles Marathon, Project Angel Food, the “Diamonds of the South Bay” chapter of the American Women’s Business Association, and the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade.

Hydeia Broadbent

At birth, Hydeia Broadbent was abandoned at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas where Loren and Patricia Broadbent adopted her as an infant. Although her HIV condition was congenital, she was not diagnosed as HIV-positive with advancement to AIDS until age three. Now at the age of 35, Hydeia spends her time spreading the message of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, by: promoting abstinence, safe-sex practices (for people who choose to have sex), and HIV/AIDS Awareness and prevention.

“People think because I was born with HIV my story does not apply to them. Well this same disease I am living with is the same disease you can get if you are aware and informed. I use my testimony as a warning of what you don’t want to go through.” Broadbent explains.

Hydeia Broadbent began her debut as an HIV/AIDS activist and public speaker at six years old. By 12 years old, Hydeia appeared on many national television programs including Oprah, 20/20, Good Morning America, and “A Conversation with Magic Johnson” on Nickelodeon. She has been featured in prominent publications to include; New York Times, People, Teen People, Essence, Ebony and Sister 2 Sister,. Hydeia also had the honor of co-graced the cover of TV Guide in 2005. Hydeia has also taken part many of America’s talk radio programs including, The Michael Eric Dyson Show, Russ Parr Morning Show, and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. 2014 The OWN Network (The Oprah Winfrey Network) featured Hydeia on “Oprah’s Where Are They Now”, to date Hydeia is one of the most requested update by fans.

Today, Hydeia is a distinguished international, motivational speaker and HIV/AIDS activist with a mission to educate people of all ages. She has an innate ability to bond with any audience. When addressing the public about the issues of HIV/AIDS, her primary goal is to provide a clear understanding of how to avoid at-risk behaviors through self-examination and informed decision-making. She succinctly stated “...with all that we know about the virus, it is clear to me that contracting HIV/AIDS today is a choice and we can’t allow anyone the power to make that choice for us!”

Phill Wilson

Phill Wilson, is an LA-based activist whose career began after he and his partner were diagnosed with AIDS in the early 1980s. Since moving to Los Angeles, Wilson has served as the director of Policy and Planning for the AIDS Project, AIDS coordinator for Los Angeles, co-chair of the Los Angeles HIV Health Commission, and a member of the HRSA AIDS Advisory Committee. He later founded the Black AIDS Institute in 1999 and was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. As the founder of the Black AIDS Institute and prominent African American HIV/AIDS activist, his dedication and countless effort toward ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic bring the community closer to health equity.

Maria Roman-Taylorson

Maria Roman-Taylorso has been a leader in social services for the transgender community in Los Angeles for over 20 years. Maria is a 46 year old Puertorican Latina Woman who began her journey to self-discovery at age 19. Many doors would close in her path, but she was driven and determined to succeed. With this decision came empowerment and hardship. She has survived life on the streets and has overcome many of the issues her community continues to fight today. She has become an outspoken voice, an activist and a role model to the Transgender community.

Maria Roman was the first transgender to become Program Manager for Transgeneros Unidas prevention program at Bienestar Human Services, one of the largest HIV prevention programs in the nation with an all transgender staff. Maria was a recipient, The Community Hero’s Award in 2005 by the Alianza Latino HIV Caucus Conference. Of the Harvey Milk Award by CSW in 2009 and The Women in Leadership Award by the West Hollywood Women in Leadership Chamber of Commerce.

Over the years Maria has been part of and volunteered for endless organizations and groups, including board member of the Liberty Hill Foundation, Los Angeles and West Hollywood Task Force, West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Committee, Los Angeles and West Hollywood Police Department Sensitivity Training Program. Among her many advocacy roles, Maria was a keynote speaker in front of the Los Angeles PPC asking for more funding for transgender specific programming, a Presenter at the U.S. Conference on AIDS and a presenter at Creating Change 2015-16.

Maria Roman has made numerous appearances on Television including the Tyra Banks Show, El Show de Cristina, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and Despierta America among many others. She is also starred in acting role as Alma Flora in the short film "Remember me in Red", the story of a MTF Mexican transgender activist who dies tragically and the conflict that arises with the family wanting to bury her as a man and an outraged community a film by Hector Ceballos .Maria also was a Cast member of a Lovely Bouquet of Flower a stage show that showcased transgender stories with an all Trans Cast, that has now become the documentary In Full Bloom. VESSELS an AFI film by director Arkasha Stevens, Maria plays the role of a silicone pumper, this film has received critical acclaim internationally and its still making the rounds in film festivals across the World, Maria also had a co-star role in the Emmy Award Winner Amazon series season 2 of TRANSPARENT. Her Latest role include a Prep Comercial and the Short Film Famiia directed by Kase Pena.

Maria has continued to have her feet on the grown, staying humble and not forgetting were she came from, taking any opportunity to influence change with her presence advocating for the women that continue to walk the streets with broken spirits and shattered dreams. Maria served 4 years as a Los Angeles County HIV Commissioner and is a California Certified Addiction specialist and is the New Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the TransLatin@ Coalition overseen programming providing critical services for Trans Individuals Maria is also a Member of the Los Angeles Transgender Advisory Board on the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, Gilead Transgender and HIV Research Community Advisory Board.

Dontá Morrison

Dontá Morrison is a Los Angeles based community change agent focused on bridging gaps and improving the lives of marginalized individuals. Currently, as the Associate Director of HIV Prevention Services at APLA Health & Wellness, he oversees several sexual health programs that provide HIV and STI prevention strategies to those at-risk for infection. He works tirelessly to change the way communities engage in conversations about sex, sexual behavior, and human sexuality. In addition, he serves in a consultative role with local non-profit organizations charged with bettering the lives of youth and young adults from diverse experiences and backgrounds.
As a presenter and moderator, his relatability and humorous approach to sensitive issues create comfortable dialogue that audiences appreciate. He is a member of Kappa Lambda Chi Military Fraternity, Inc., the Black Speakers Network, and a licensed minister within the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship; which strengthens his versatility and ability to engage an array of listeners.

HIV Plus magazine listed him as one of the top 20 most amazing HIV+ people of 2018. He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognized by many for his ambitious approach to sexual health within communities of color. Additionally, he has challenged the traditional Black church to be more inclusive and welcoming of persons from all sexual identities. Realizing that faith based sexual exclusion plays a negative role in how LGBTQ persons deal with self, he aims to shift the paradigm in that area.

Dontá has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services from Springfield College, Master of Arts Degree in Social Entrepreneurship & Change from Pepperdine University, and currently pursuing a Doctorate of Global Leadership at Pepperdine University. He is the author of two novels: The End of the Rainbow, and Yesterday Clarified, and host of the highly engaging "The Dontá Show" on Facebook Live and YouTube.

Valerie Spencer, MSW

Dr. Bethsheba Johnson

Nicole Becton-Odum

Gina Brown, RSW

Dr. Mauda Monger, MPH

Dr. Angelica Geter

Jasmine Luv

Benet Zahara

Jamecia Bennett

Dr. Shanell L. McGoy

Dr. Shanell L. McGoy is Director, Public Affairs, Corporate Giving at Gilead Sciences, Inc. leading the Gilead COMPASS Initiative, a 10 year, more than $100 million commitment to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States supporting local communities and supporting evidence-based solutions to meet the needs of people living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS. Shanell also leads the evaluation for Gilead’s Corporate Giving Strategic Initiatives, HIV Age Positively and a Racial Equity and Social Justice Giving Strategy for Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Shanell has committed her career to addressing the HIV epidemic in the United States, and she deeply believes in equity for all marginalized communities. Additionally, with degrees in public health and health policy, and nearly 20 years of experience in epidemiology, prevention, planning, implementation, evaluation, diversity, inclusion and leadership, Shanell is suited to address barriers to achieving health equity. Prior to joining Gilead, Dr. McGoy was Director of HIV/STD for the Tennessee Department of Health. She secured and directed governmental resources to support a $80 million comprehensive HIV/STD service delivery system for the residents of Tennessee.

Shanell holds four degrees, including a B.A. in Comparative Women’s Studies from Spelman College; a MPH in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; a Ph.D. in Health Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale; and a Post-Doctoral Health Policy Leadership Fellowship at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine under the leadership of the 10th Assistant Secretary for Health and 16th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. David Satcher. Dr. McGoy and her husband, Dr. Terry M. Powers, Jr., a Dentist who was raised in Colbert, GA, live with their son Terry M. Powers, III in Georgia.

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