Nabil Ayers is the President of Beggars Group US, where he has run campaigns for The National, Big Thief, Grimes, Future Islands and St. Vincent as well as reissue campaigns including Pixies’ album Doolittle which was certified Platinum in 2019.
Ayers has written about race and music for The New York Times, NPR, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and GQ. He will publish his memoir My Life in the Sunshine with Viking/Penguin on June 7, 2022.
2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominee and eight-time Grammy-winner Beck has traveled light years from his emergence as a reluctant generational spokesperson when “Loser” exploded into a ubiquitous 1994 smash. Beck’s singular vision has since seen him utilize all manners and eras of music, blazing a path into the future while foraging through the past.
Surfacing just as mainstream and alternative intersected, no small thanks to his 1994 debut Mellow Gold, Beck quickly confounded expectations with subsequent releases including the lo-fi folk of One Foot in the Grave and 1996’s multi-platinum Odelay—which has remained a cultural touchstone for generations.
Beck’s creative evolution has always progressed at an exponential rate. From the atmospherics of 1998’s Mutations and the florescent funk of 1999’s Midnite Vultures, the somber reflections of 2002’s Sea Change, 2005’s tour de force Guero and 2006’s sprawling The Information, 2008’s acclaimed Modern Guilt, 2014’s Album of the Year Grammy winner Morning Phase, the “euphoric blast of experimental pop” (Rolling Stone) that was 2017’s Colors and his 2019 “best in a decade” (People) Hyperspace… No Beck record has ever sounded like its predecessor — though The New York Times notes a consistent thread: ““Though Beck’s records through the years have tended toward maximalism, a kind of meticulous sonic gorgeousness, melody remains central to his art.”
Reggie Fils-Aimé is an award-winning innovator and disrupter most recognized as the retired President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America (NOA), the largest division of the Japanese entertainment company Nintendo Co., Ltd. (NCL). In this capacity, he helped bring Nintendo’s greatest successes to the global marketplace.
Fils-Aimé was the first American and African American to be President of NOA, and the first American and African American named as an Executive Officer of NCL. He retired in April 2019 and was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame later that year. Before Nintendo, Fils-Aimé had a successful career spanning consumer-packaged goods, restaurant, beverage, and media/entertainment industries.
Since retiring, Fils-Aimé has focused his energy on cultivating the next generation of business leaders. In August 2019, he was named Cornell University’s Dyson Undergraduate Business School’s inaugural Leader in Residence where he instructed students on leadership and innovation. He also founded Brentwood Growth Partners to help emerging companies scale and enable leaders to create world-class cultures.
Fils-Aimé currently is a non-executive director for Spin Master Inc. (TOY.TO), and Brunswick Corp. (BC). He is also a special advisor for Rogue Co., an innovative video games publisher and developer. Most recently, Reggie was named Chairman of the Board for a special purpose acquisition company (UTA Acquisition Corp.) focused on gaming and its adjacency markets.
Alexis McGill Johnson
Alexis McGill Johnson is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Planned Parenthood provides vital health services to 2.4 million people each year through more than 600 health centers across the country. Their vision is a world of equity: where sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights; where access to health care doesn’t depend on who you are or where you live; and where every person has the opportunity to choose their own path to a healthy and meaningful life.
Johnson is a champion for social and racial justice, a respected political and cultural organizer, and a tireless advocate for reproductive freedom. She has been in Planned Parenthood’s leadership for more than a decade as PPFA board chair, Planned Parenthood Federal PAC chair, and a Planned Parenthood Action Fund board member.
A researcher by training, Johnson co-founded and co-directed the Perception Institute, a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists who translate cutting-edge mind science research on race, gender, ethnic, and other identities into solutions that reduce bias and discrimination, and drive equity and belonging. She is also a thought leader on brain science and narrative change and has written extensively on equity, race, and culture.
She is a frequent commentator in the press and keynote speaker, and currently serves on the boards of Color of Change, Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, and is a founder of the Culture Group. Johnson holds degrees from Princeton and Yale Universities and has taught political science at both Yale and Wesleyan Universities. She is the proud mom of two daughters.
Michael E. Kassan & Kevin Mayer
Supporting storytellers as they grow and thrive creatively and commercially in the future media landscape has never been more important. Join Candle Media’s Kevin Mayer and MediaLink’s Michael Kassan as they opine on what trends in content and entertainment brands should be paying attention to in 2022 as well as what the creator economy means for an industry starved for more culturally-connected content.
Global superstar, three-time Grammy Award-winning artist, and star and Executive Producer of Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, a new unscripted series premiering this spring on Prime Video, Lizzo has become a household name with well over 6 billion global streams and a Platinum selling debut album to date. Lizzo released her Nice Life Recording Company/Atlantic Records debut album CUZ I LOVE YOU on April 19, 2019, debuting at #6 on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 albums chart and spending 24 consecutive weeks in the chart’s Top 10. “Truth Hurts” also became the longest running #1 by a solo female rap artist in history after spending seven weeks atop the charts. With anthemic smash hits like the 7x Platinum “Truth Hurts,” the four-time Platinum “Good As Hell,” the two-time Platinum “Juice,” and the Platinum “Tempo (Feat. Missy Elliott)” already under her belt, Lizzo released yet another smash with the now Gold certified “Rumors.”
Since the release of the meteoric CUZ I LOVE YOU, Lizzo has been named both TIME Magazine and Entertainment Weekly’s “2019 Entertainer of the Year” as well as gracing the covers of Rolling Stone, Billboard’s GRAMMY® Preview Issue, British Vogue, Elle’s Women In Music Issue, and many others. Additionally, Lizzo kicked off 2020 with a showstopping opening performance at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY® Awards and took home three big wins, in addition to being the most-nominated artist of the year. 2020 also saw her win the awards for “Best Female R&B/Pop Artist” at the 2020 BET Awards and both “Entertainer of the Year” and “Outstanding Video” at the 2020 NAACP Awards. Her list of high-profile TV performances also include the 2019 American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards and Saturday Night Live, in addition to in depth profiles on CBS This Morning’s GRAMMY® primetime special and CBS Sunday Morning.
Radio Hall of Fame recipient Angela Yee joins SXSW to moderate the Keynote conversation with Lizzo on March 13 at 1pm CT.
Angela Yee hosts the nationally syndicated morning show The Breakfast Club. Yee is an entrepreneur, with a coffee company and cafe called Coffee Uplifts People, her Brooklyn based juice bar “Juices for Life,” a Detroit hair store “Private Label,” and Gracie award winning podcast Lip Service.
Maria Ressa is a journalist and author, the co-founder and CEO of Rappler, and the first Filipino recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Stephen King is CEO of Luminate, a global philanthropic organisation. He brings over 25 years of leadership experience to his role, with a career focused on using media and technology to create positive social impact and hold power to account.
Neal Stephenson is the bestselling author of the novels Termination Shock, Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (with Nicole Galland), Seveneves, Reamde, Anathem, The System of the World, The Confusion, Quicksilver, Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, Zodiac, and the groundbreaking nonfiction work In the Beginning . . .Was the Command Line.
Celine Tricart is an acclaimed storyteller who has developed a unique style involving highly emotional stories and strong visual artistry. Her work has been showcased at numerous top-tier festivals including Sundance, Venice, Tribeca, SXSW, and HotDocs. She has received the Lion for Best Immersive Work at the Venice Film Festival (2019), the Storyscapes Award at Tribeca (2019), two Lumiere Awards from the Advanced Imaging Society, two Telly Awards, an Auggie, and a Platinum Aurora Award, amongst many other accolades. Celine served as the president of the International Jury of the Venice Virtual Reality section at the Biennale Cinema 2020.
Celine co-directed and produced Maria Bello’s “Sun Ladies” VR experience about the women Yazidi fighting ISIS in Iraq which was selected in over 70 international festivals. For this, she had to travel through ISIS-held territory to meet the women soldiers at the border between Iraq and Syria and record their stories. In 2019, Celine released “The Key,” an interactive experience that garnered critical acclaim.
Celine’s company, Lucid Dreams Productions, specializes in utilizing new technologies to further bold, unapologetic storytelling, and in empowering female voices in the filmmaking process. She is now working on an ambitious transmedia project about women’s self-defense called FIGHT BACK, as well as her first video game for PC and consoles.
In 2021 Celine was awarded France’s prestigious insignia of Chevalier De l’Ordre Des Arts et Des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the Ministry of Culture of France.
Michelle Zauner is best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast. She has won acclaim from major music outlets around the world for releases like Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017). Her most recent album, Jubilee (2021), earned two GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album. Her first book, Crying in H Mart, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity, is a New York Times Best Seller. She’s currently adapting the memoir for the screen for MGM’s Orion Pictures.