Philander Smith College has announced the 2013-14 schedule for its BlessThe Mic Lecture Series, set to kick off at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 with award-winning actor, director and inspirational speaker Charles S. Dutton.
Bless The Mic is a contemporary spin on the traditional President’s Lecture Series. These events, held on hundreds of campuses across the country, have been a way to stimulate the intellectual discourse on the campus. Even today, these series seek to bring in noted scholars, authors, politicians and public intellectuals to expose not only the campus community to their ideas and concepts, but the broader community in which the institution resides.
A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Tony nominee Charles S. Dutton’s career spans theater, television and film. From 1991 to 1994 he starred in the title role and executive produced the critically-acclaimed Fox comedy/drama Roc, for which he received several NAACP Image Award nominations. Dutton has numerous other television credits, having won Emmy Awards for his guest starring roles in Without a Trace and The Practice. Most recently he can be seen in guest star roles on top shows Criminal Minds and American Horror Story.
The Baltimore native is also a veteran of numerous feature films, including Aliens 3; Cry, The Beloved Country; A Time to Kill; Get on the Bus; and Cookie’s Fortune. On Broadway he has starred in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Piano Lesson.
On Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m., Daymond John, entrepreneur, investor, author and cast member of ABC’s Shark Tank will speak. John is perhaps best known for being one of the creators of the global fashion brand FUBU. As founder and CEO, FUBU has amassed over four billion dollars in worldwide retail sales. As a consultant and business/motivational speaker, John works with products and celebrities to create awareness of marketing and entrepreneurship opportunities, and brand extension projects. In 2009, he joined the cast of Shark Tank, a show in which he and other business executives listen to the business pitches of aspiring entrepreneurs to decide whether to invest in their projects.
A native of Imboden, Ark., TV producer Bryant Huddleston, will appear at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14. Huddleston began his broadcast career in Fayetteville, Ark., at KHOG-TV. In 1998, he relocated to Los Angeles and began producing news, specials and live red carpet events for the E! Network. In 2004 he joined NBC’s Access Hollywood where he spent eight years. Huddleston recently helped launch the Bravo network’s new series Property Envy. The single father of a young son, Huddleston is also an ardent advocate for equality and adoption rights for LGBT citizens and speaks frequently on those issues.
Judy Smith, the real-life inspiration behind ABC’s hit political thriller series Scandal, will lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. The founder and president of Smith & Company, a strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, Smith has honed her skills through experiences guiding her clients through some of the most sensational events of our time, including the Iran Contra investigation, the Los Angeles riots, President Clinton’s involvement with Monica Lewinsky and the congressional inquiry of Enron, to name a few. Celebrities she has consulted in times of crisis include actor Wesley Snipes, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and more recently, celebrity chef Paula Deen. She has also worked with Fortune 500 companies such as BellSouth and Wal-Mart.
In 1991, Smith joined the White House with her appointment as special assistant and deputy press secretary to President George H. W. Bush. During her tenure she provided the president and his cabinet with communications advice on a wide range of foreign and domestic issues. Smith earned her B.S. in public relations from Boston University and graduated from the American University Washington College of Law where she was the first African American woman to serve as executive editor of the Law Review. The author of Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worse Qualities into Your Biggest Assets, Smith’s writing her been featured in numerous publications and she frequently appears on major TV networks offering commentary on topical issues of the day.
The series continues at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 with poet and spoken word artist Mayda del Valle. Chosen by O Magazine as one of 20 women on the first “O Power List,” the Chicago native is the youngest poet and first Latino to win the 2001 National Poetry Slam Individual Championship. Soon after she was chosen to perform on the first season of the HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, followed by a stint as an original cast member and contributing writer of the critically acclaimed Tony award winning production of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. Del Valle, who has been featured in numerous publications including Urban Latino, Latina magazine and the New York Time, holds a B.A. in Art from Williams College.
Teacher, pastor and international evangelist Paula White will visit Philander Smith College at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20. White is senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fl., “a non-traditional church with a multicultural mission” whose membership ranges in the thousands. Through her Paula White Ministries, she works to support hundreds of local, international and global outreaches, and presently is focused on building orphanages, schools, churches, clean-water wells and feeding stations around the world; providing medical care and ministerial training internationally; and organizing crusades in areas such as Haiti, Africa and India. Host of the nationally-syndicated television program Paula Today, White is the former senior pastor of Without Walls International Church of Tampa, Fl., a ministry she co-founded with her former husband, Randy White.
Free and open to the public, all lectures are held in the M.L. Harris Auditorium. Tickets are not required; seating is first-come, first-serve. For more information, call 370-5354.