Donna Ford, Ph.D.

Donna Y. Ford is a Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. She teaches in the university’s Department of Special Education as well as its Department of Teaching and Learning. Her research/writing focuses on multicultural/urban education of minority children and youth and practices of recruiting and retaining students of color in gifted and Advanced Placement programs.

She is the author of several books and more than 200 publications and co-founded the Scholar Identity Institute for Black Males at Vanderbilt. In 2014 she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Literature Instruction in recognition of publication of her book, Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Different Students in Gifted Education.

 Professor of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Areas of Expertise: Education, special education, youth of color, multicultural classroom practices, African-American identity, African-American family involvement, recruiting and retaining students of color in gifted education

Contact Information


Phone: (615) 322-4460

Twitter: @donnayford

Travis Gosa

Dr. Travis L. Gosa is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University and faculty associate at Cornell’s Center for the Study of Inequality. He serves on the advisory board of Cornell’s Hip-Hop Collection, the largest archive on early hip-hop culture in the United States. Gosa is an expert on race, new politics, hip-hop culture, and education. He is also the co-editor of The Hip-Hop & Obama Reader, the first hip-hop anthology to center on contemporary politics, activism, and social change, and is finishing his manuscript School of Hard Knocks: Hip-Hop and the Fight for Equal Education  a book that explores how schools fail black students and why hip-hop can help fix education in America.  He can speak about the role of youth voters and race in national politics and the 2016 presidential election.

Travis Gosa

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University

Areas of expertise: Race, new politics, hip-hop culture, education, popular culture.

Location: Ithaca, NY

Contact Information:


Twitter: @basedprof

Linda Glaser, Cornell University Writer/Publicist


607-255-8942 (office)

973-650-8172 (cell)

Heard on NPR

Heard on 88.9FM, WEAA Public Radio: “Obama’s Relationship With the Hip-Hop Community.” First Edition with Sean Yoes.

Added October 2015

Last Verified: October 2015

Bakari Kitwana

Bakari Kitwana is the Editorial Director of Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop, which conducts townhall meetings across the US on difficult dialogues facing the hip-hop generation, and the Senior Media Fellow at the Harvard Law based Think Tank, The Jamestown Project. Kitwana wrote the bestselling book The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture, which is used as a coursebook in over 100 colleges and universities.

Kitwana was former executive editor of The Source: The magazine of hip-hop music, culture and politics and editorial director of Third World Press. He also taught political science at University of Chicago and was a visiting scholar at Columbia College. Kitwana is the author of the forthcoming book Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era set to publish later this fall.

Bakari Kitwana

Editorial Director of Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop

Senior Media Fellow at the The Jamestown Project

Areas of Expertise: Hip-hop activism, youth culture and young voter political participation

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Contact Information:


Twitter: @therealbakari

Phone: 440-779-9893 (Office)

Heard on NPR

Heard on On Point with Tom Ashbrook: Hip-Hop and Politics

Added October 2015

Last Verified: October 2015

Cathy Cohen

Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Previously she served as the Deputy Provost for Graduate Education and the Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. She has published two books and numerous academic articles, and her research has been cited in media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR and CNN.

Cohen founded and currently directs the Black Youth Project, an organization that focuses on empowering inner-city youth. She was a founding board member and former co-chair of the board of the Audre Lorde Project in NY. Cohen was also a founding member of Black AIDS Mobilization (BAM!) and one of the core organizers of two international conferences: “Black Nations / Queer Nations?” and “Race, Sex, Power.”

Cohen has served as an active member in numerous organizations such as the Black Radical Congress, African-American Women in Defense of Ourselves, and Ella’s Daughters. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Arcus Foundation, Chicago Votes, and the University of Chicago Charter Schools.

The David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago    

Areas of Expertise:  American Politics, African-American Politics, Marginalized Groups, Social Movements, Women’s Health Issues

Location: Chicago, IL 

Contact Info:


Phone: (773) 702-8051

Twitter: @cathyjcohen

Heard on NPR:

All Things Considered: Obama To Push State Of The Union Messages In Chicago



Malik Washington

Malik Washington is the director of Penn Violence Prevention at University of Pennsylvania. Previously, he served as the executive director and CEO of The William Kellibrew Foundation, a community-driven advocacy organization “dedicated to breaking the cycles of violence and poverty.” He also worked as the training & outreach specialist with the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an organization that serves as a “resource for the thousands of adults and children experiencing domestic violence in the District each year.”

Washington studied radio, television and film at Howard University. His community outreach experience includes organizing mission trips and providing disaster relief services with the Christian organization In His Presence Ministries. He’s a contributor to NPR’s Tell Me More blog and was previously a Tell Me More intern and editorial assistant.

Malik Washington
Director of Penn Violence Prevention

Areas of Expertise: Youth, Poverty, and Violence (especially Young Men), Mentorship, Community Outreach, Writing & Blogging, Media, African Americans

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Contact Information:
Twitter: @malikwashington
Heard on NPR: For a complete list, click here.

Tell Me More: How Should We Be Talking About Sex?

Added January 2013

Last verified January 2021.