The Official Lineup for the 2023 Root Institute

For the second year in a row, The Root Institute assembles in our nation’s capital to bring together America’s greatest Black minds.

For one full day, The Root’s newsroom shares the stage at Howard University with Black luminaries from every corner of the nation as we focus on building a blueprint for a better Black America.

Read more

10:15 to 10:35 AM | How HBCUs Can Be a Beacon of Hope

In light of the Supreme Court’s slashing of affirmative action, HBCU leaders are finding ways to move forward.


  • Lisa Crooms-Robinson, Interim Dean of the School of Law at Howard University

  • Jacqueline Jones, Dean of the School of Global Journalism & Communication at Morgan State University

  • Yanick Rice Lamb, professor and former Chair of Howard University’s Department of Media, Journalism and Film

10:40 to 11:05 AM | AI and the Future of Black America

Panelists will discuss how researchers and creators are trying to ensure AI is Black friendly, in spite of the lack of representation in the field.


  • Mutale Nkonde, Founding CEO of AI for the People

  • Gbolahan Olanubi, PhD, Senior UX Researcher at Google

  • Jamila Smith-Loud, Research Manager of Responsible AI at Google

  • Ingrid Sturgis, Department Chair of Media, Journalism, Film, and Communication at Howard University

11:10 to 11:35 AM | Inside Hollywood’s Backstory

Legendary television producer and author Susan Fales-Hill discusses Hollywood’s Black story and how our favorite Black characters evolve in the writer’s room.


  • Susan Fales-Hill, consulting writer/producer of Max’s And Just Like That

  • Shanelle Genai, Entertainment Writer at The Root

11:40 AM to 12:35 PM | Tackling the Black Maternal Health Crisis

This panel will tackle the accelerating Black maternal morbidity and mortality crisis, the impact of COVID-19, how abortion bans fuel that crisis, racism and income inequality, and most importantly, where we go from here. Each panelist will bring their unique perspective on how we can get to a place where Black pregnant people can feel safe in this country.

Presented by CareQuest Institute for Oral Health


  • Dr. Uché Blackstock, Founding CEO of Advancing Health Equity

  • Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, Founder and Director of the National Birth Equity Collaborative

  • Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health

  • Oriaku Njoku, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds

  • Jessica Washington, Senior Reporter at The Root

12:50 to 1:10 PM | Fireside Chat with Don Lemon

The Root editor-in-chief Tatsha Robertson catches up with veteran journalist Don Lemon to discuss the media, Black men, and his new life.


  • Don Lemon, writer, TV journalist, and former anchor of CNN primetime program Don Lemon Tonight

  • Tatsha Robertson, Editor-in-Chief of The Root

1:15 to 1:40 PM | The Future of Democracy

Many young people think democracy is a given, but is it?


  • Dr. Greg Carr, Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies at Howard University and Adjunct Professor at Howard School of Law

  • Dr. David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition

  • Jasper Smith, Editor-in-Chief of The Hilltop

1:45 to 2:05 PM | The DNC Speaks to The Root

We’ll talk about what Democrats are doing to engage Black voters, particularly Black male voters, this election cycle. We’ll also get into Democrats’ plans to address the concerns of low-income Americans and whether they can live up to the promise of Biden-economics.


  • Jaime Harrison, Chair of Democratic National Committee

  • Jessica Washington, Senior Reporter for The Root

2:10 to 2:35 PM | The Plight of Black Women

We see it all over the news: Black successful women are targeted in the workforce, at home, and on the political front. Our esteemed panel will explore this hot topic and why is it that Black women are always placed on the hot seat.

Presented by Google


  • Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Mayor of Atlanta

  • Orlena Nwokah Blanchard, Managing Partner at Seven Elements Group and co-creator of the CROWN Act Movement

  • Melonie Parker, Global Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at Google

  • Reecie Colbert, host of The Reecie Colbert Show

2:40 to 3:05 PM | The Power of the Young Black Vote

This panel of DC insiders will discuss the strength of the young vote, especially the powerful Black male vote, which experts say is being targeted by everyone from Trump, the Republican party, the dark web, Russians, and everyone in between.


  • Stephen Benjamin, Senior Advisor to President Biden

  • Jotaka Eaddy, Founder and CEO of Full Circle Strategies

  • Antjuan Seawright, CEO of Blueprint Strategy

  • Keith Reed, contributor to The Root

3:10 to 3:40 PM | Bravo Stars Meet The Root

These powerful Black women will explain how they successfully use their shows to promote entrepreneurial female empowerment.


  • Venita Aspen, star of Bravo’s Southern Charm

  • Cynthia Bailey, alum of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta

  • Candiace Dillard-Bassett, star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac

  • Jordan Emanuel, star of Bravo’s Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard

  • Dr. Wendy Osefo, star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac

  • Shanelle Genai, Entertainment Writer for The Root

3:45 to 4:10 PM | Leveraging Your Niche and Accelerating Your Brand

A Shark Tank casting agent, an Amazon influencer, and an author are turning their respective niches into empires. This panel will show a different side of entrepreneurship and economic equity.

Presented by Amazon Black Business Accelerator


  • Brandon Andrews, casting consultant for Shark Tank and Cofounder of Gauge

  • Nneka Kanu, attorney and style influencer Queen of Sleeves

  • Denene Millner, author, podcaster, and radio host

  • Danyel Surrency Jones, Head of Amazon Black Business Accelerator

  • Erin Horne McKinney, National Executive Director of Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship

4:15 to 4:35 PM | The Evolution of Success

Chef Carla Hall will use stories from the evolution of her personal and professional life to instill lessons she’s learned along the way, from overcoming fear to building confidence and learning the importance of risk-taking. Hall will supply us with the tools that we need to build a better Black America.


  • Carla Hall, TV personality, chef, and author

  • Amira Castilla, Staff Writer for The Root

4:40 to 5:00 PM | The Role of Media in Black America

In an era of misinformation and miseducation, what role does the media play for Black folk in the coming election and beyond?


  • Bakari Sellers, former State Representative of South Carolina

  • Tatsha Robertson, Editor-in-Chief of The Root

Read more of The Root’s timely coverage related to issues from the 2023 Root Institute.

More from The Root

Sign up for The Root's Newsletter. For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.