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Derrick N. Ashong

Broadcaster, Musician & Social Entrepreneur
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Biography

An experienced musician, broadcaster, and digital media influencer, Derrick N. Ashong (aka DNA) has carved out a unique niche as an expert in bridging the gap between old and new media. He has been invited to speak and perform at prestigious institutions including Harvard Business School, Wharton, MIT, and Stanford, and has hosted and moderated events for leaders and heads of state including Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as Gilberto Gil, Ted Turner, Tommy Hilfiger, Bob Geldof, Queen Rania of Jordan, and former President Bill Clinton at the Club de Madrid. His interviews have ranged from celebrities like John Legend, Jimmi Cliff and supermodel Alek Wek, to environmentalist Jane Goodall, senior advisor to President Obama David Axelrod, Governor Jeb Bush, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Most recently, Derrick joined the team at Fusion, the new multiplatform Disney/ABC-Univision cable network, targeting English-speaking Latinos and the broader Millennial generation. His show, "D.N.A.", explores a wide variety of socially relevant issues spanning the arts, society, technology, business and politics. Prior to Fusion, his career in media and entertainment included appearances on networks like CNN, BET, MTV Africa, NPR, and BBC Worldservice, as well as in print media including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Fast Company. He made his Hollywood debut as a supporting actor in Steven Spielberg's Amistad and has worked with multi-platinum record producers.

DNA was host of “The Derrick Ashong Experience” on SIRIUS XM's Oprah Radio and helmed the inaugural year of Al Jazeera English's cutting-edge, social media TV show The Stream, which was nominated for an Emmy. He is leader of the critically acclaimed Afropolitan band Soulfège, which has charted on both sides of the Atlantic and won the 2008 Billboard Songwriting Contest for Best Hip-Hop Song. He has lectured on five continents on the use of media and technology as tools for human development, including talks for the UN Foundation, London School of Economics, King’s College (Cambridge), the Reconciliation Forum in Washington, DC, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and before UK Parliament. He has had fellowships with the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, TED, and the Americas Business Council, and is a member of the African Leadership Network.

Born in Accra, Ghana, the Harvard-educated talent was raised in Brooklyn, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and New Jersey.

Topics

Take Back the Mic: Making Peace Pop(ular)

Derrick Ashong believes thoughts, sounds, and images influence they way we see reality. In this keynote speech, he taps into pop-culture, through his music, to ignite young peoples’ passion for positive change, providing content that inspires activism rather than promoting self-fulfillment. The New York Times writes “At a time when politics and popular culture are still in an awkward mating ritual, Ashong inadvertently tapped into the youthquake that is shaking up the campaign.”

Dear President Obama…

How Music & Technology are Bridging the Gap

The Voice of a New Generation

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