Political commentator and social activist Jeff Johnson to speak at Roanoke College on Jan. 22

Johnson has spent the last decade merging the worlds of politics and popular culture.


Jeff Johnson, MSNBC contributor and White House correspondent for the NBC-owned website theGrio, will be the keynote speaker at Roanoke College's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration. Johnson will discuss "Unclaimed Legacy: Who will lead the next Social Movement?" at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 in the Wortmann Ballroom of the College's Colket Center.

The Washington, D.C.-based Johnson has established himself as a voice for change through his grassroots work to inspire the next generation of leaders, his specials on the BET Network and his weekly commentaries on the nationally syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show."

According to Johnson's bio, he was the only U.S. reporter to receive an exclusive post-inauguration interview with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state and Liberia's first elected female president. (In 2011, Johnson Sirleaf was one of three women jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.)

Jeff Johnson has spent the last decade merging the worlds of politics and popular culture, including serving as advisor for Media and Youth Outreach for People for the American Way, national director of the Youth & College division of the NAACP and as vice president of the Russell Simmons Hip Hop Summit Action Network.

In 2008, Johnson received the National Association of Black Journalists' Salute to Excellence Award for BET's "Life & Death in Darfur, Jeff Johnson Reports" series. He has contributed commentary and analysis about issues related to race, politics, popular culture and socioeconomics for news broadcasts and publications, including MSNBC's "Dayside" and "Hardball with Chris Matthews;" CNN's "Headline News" and "Larry King Live;" Fox News; The Huffington Post; EbonyJet.com; and "Upscale" magazine.

Johnson is one of 30 young leaders from North America and Europe selected by the British Council to be part of its Transatlantic 2020 team. The team has inaugurated a new international dialogue to reinvigorate traditional alliances and mend transatlantic rifts.

In 2009, Johnson released his first book, "Everything I'm Not Made Me Everything I Am: Discovering Your Personal Best."

Johnson's appearance at Roanoke College is sponsored by the Donald L. Jordan Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Colket Center, Campus Activities Board, Black Student Alliance and Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Inc., Tau Omega Chapter. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the Colket Center information desk. For more information, contact Juliet Lowery, director of Multicultural Affairs, at (540) 375-2099.

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as the 18th most beautiful campus in its "Best 376 Colleges" 2012 guidebook.