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Derrick N. Ashong

Derrick N. Ashong

Broadcaster, Musician & Social Entrepreneur

Derrick N. Ashong

Broadcaster, Musician & Social Entrepreneur


“We’re counting on that one,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu of Derrick N. Ashong (DNA), who was born in a house with no running water in Accra, Ghana, and rose to become an international thought leader at the nexus of Media, Tech, and Social Enterprise.

An Emmy-nominated TV host and producer, Derrick has pioneered meaningful, innovative content across all platforms over the past twenty years. He is the founder of amp.it, a tech startup that drives and measures engagement for digital content, and is the creator of two-time Interactive Emmy finalist, The World Cup of Hip Hop: Take Back the Mic, which gives a voice to young artists and fans around the world.

While still an undergraduate at Harvard, Derrick made his Hollywood debut as a supporting actor in Steven Spielberg's Amistad. He went back to Harvard to do Ph.D. research on how Open Source software concepts could influence the content industries, attracting the attention of multi-platinum record producer, Dave Stewart, who recruited him to consult for major brands like Nokia and Visa.

Derrick has spoken about issues of Tech, Media and Society on five continents at venues that include UK Parliament, the United Nations, Stanford, Harvard and Wharton Business Schools, and MIT. He has hosted and moderated events for world leaders, including Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. He has also moderated events featuring 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, Zoe Zaldana, and Alek Wek, to Jane Goodall, David Axelrod, Jeb Bush, and Kofi Annan. He has been a TED Fellow, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, a member of the African Leadership Network, and a fellow of the Americas Business Council.

DNA hosted Oprah Radio's interactive The Derrick Ashong Experience on SIRIUS XM and helmed the inaugural year of Al Jazeera English's cutting-edge, social media TV show The Stream, which was nominated for an Emmy Award and won a Royal Television Society Award. He also hosted the eponymous interactive television show DNA TV for Fusion.

He is the leader of the critically acclaimed Afropolitan band Soulfège, which has charted on both sides of the Atlantic and won the Billboard Songwriting Contest for Best Hip-Hop Song. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Los Angeles.

Speaker Videos

The Voice of a New Generation

Being a Master Communicator

Take Back the Mic: The World Cup of Hip Hop (Trailer)

Take Back the Mic: The World Cup of Hip Hop (Season 2 Trailer)

Agent of Inspiration (Audio)

Michigan Keynote on Immigration

Speech Topics

Making Peace Cool: Igniting the Soul of Society

Derrick Ashong believes thoughts, sounds, and images influence they way we see reality.  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