Jesse WilliamsActor and Activist
A native of Chicago and graduate of Temple University, Jesse began his professional career teaching American, African and African-American History in low-income Philadelphia public charter schools. From there Jesse moved to Brooklyn, New York and, after working in Manhattan law firms, began his professional acting career, performing off-Broadway at The Cherry Lane Theatre, under the direction of award-winning playwright Edward Albee in “The Sandbox.” Jesse is presently starring on Broadway in “Take Me Out.” His feature credits includes ABC’s hit series “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”, “Brooklyn’s Finest”, “The Cabin in the Woods”, “Jacob’s Ladder”, “Random Acts of Violence”, and the Western,“They Die By Dawn.”
Williams founded his own production company, farWord Inc., and executive produced Question Bridge: Black Males, a series of transmedia art installations, films, curriculum, and website. The exhibition is part of the permanent collection at the National Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture and the Brooklyn Museum. He served as senior producer and correspondent for the EPIX docuseries America Divided with Norman Lear. He executive produced the documentary Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement. Williams gained international renown for his now famous 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Acceptance Speech where he eloquently confronted a range of sociopolitical issues.
Williams is among the most prominent and impactful entrepreneurial faces in tech today, with three leading mobile apps on the market. He launched BLeBRiTY, a charades inspired mobile game that immediately shot to #1 on the Apple App Store charts in two categories. He’s also a co-owner of Scholly, a mobile app connecting students to over $100 million dollars in scholarships. Williams is also co-founder of the mobile app, Ebroji, the first culturally curated GIF keyboard centering Black, brown and LGBTQI culture. In addition, he served as Curator of Tech and Innovation at the inaugural ComplexCon. Williams hosts the Open Run Podcast, which he owns in partnership with LeBron James’ digital network, Uninterrupted. He is also the youngest to sit on the Board of Directors for both Advancement Project, a leading national civil rights advocacy organization and Harry Belafonte’s arts and social justice organization, Sankofa.org.