APB is a Global Speaker, Celebrity & Entertainment Agency
Michael  Ellison

Michael Ellison

Musician, Actor & Activist

Michael Ellison

Musician, Actor & Activist


Mike Ellison is a consummate performer who does it all. He is a musician, actor, poet and compelling public speaker. Whether addressing genocide in Rwanda, combating bullying and teen suicide in Detroit, chatting with senators on satellite radio or jamming with Grammy-winning rock legends on stage, the charismatic communicator is always in his element. His presentation is a blend of culture and commentary, history and hip-hop, spoken word and story telling. Mike is equally at ease delivering a commencement address to graduates or exploring Disruptive Innovation Theory in poetic form for senior executives of Fortune 500 companies. He’s an adept emcee for high-level special events, fundraisers and conferences as well. 

Mike was born to African-American parents living and working in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before the family relocated to Reston, Virginia, where he was raised. He fully realized his calling as an interdisciplinary artist in Detroit. He’s released independent records, headlined national tours, and registered acting credits that span film, theater and television, including roles in: “Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice,” Into The Storm,” “Love and Honor,” ‘The Ides of March,” “Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations,” “Joy Road,” “Beyond The Mask,” “All’s Faire In Love,” “Ovid and the Art of Love,” “Grounded,” “Ghost of New Orleans” and “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.” He appeared in the cable and network television shows HUNG (HBO), DEF POETRY (HBO), DETROIT 1-8-7 (ABC) the NFL Network’s THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, and stage productions of A Soldier’s Play, Full Circle and Free Fall.

Mike earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Virginia and began his career in sports and public relations with the U.S. Tennis Association, followed by a stint at a Detroit area firm that represented professional athletes. The Motor City’s music, open mic and theatre scenes sparked his passion for and pursuit of the performing arts.

Mike has used entertainment as a vehicle to promote charitable initiatives throughout the United States and his birth country, including orphan support programs and the construction of several health care clinics. He is noted for creating family friendly, social impact productions that engage, inform and inspire.

Beyond his own artistic endeavors, Mike is a diversity and inclusion catalyst, and creative strategist for a range of agencies and organizations. He produces original content and provides voiceover for films, commercials and concert tours. He is an ambassador for Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, and he supports press freedom to honor his father, the late Bob Ellison, the first African-American president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. 

Speaker Videos

Born in Ethiopia, Transformed in Detroit

The Continuum

Speech Topics

From Ethiopia to Detroit & Back: My Personal Journey

AFROFLOW: The Roots of Hip-hop and Humanity

Strangled by the Tie: When Work Takes Your Breath Away

Defining Success for Yourself

Race, Education & a Proper Perspective

Blacks, Hispanics & Building America