BET celebrity and social activist Jeff Johnson to keynote Black Arts & Sciences Festival

Jeff Johnson's call to action for young activists

Social activist and Black Entertainment Television commentator Jeff Johnson will present the annual Black Arts & Sciences Festival lecture at 11 a.m. Wednesday, October 31 in Graham Chapel. His talk, sponsored by the University’s Assembly Series and the Association of Black Students, will suggest strategies for developing effective organizations for future leaders: “BECOME Activists: Building Effective Campus Organizations and Maintaining Excellence.”

After occasional guest stints on BET talk shows, Johnson’s talents were recognized and rewarded with his own show, “Cousin Jeff.” The show became a success, and Johnson’s unique brand of social and political commentary began to influence large groups of young viewers. In 2004, Johnson was tapped to cover the 2004 Democratic and Republican national conventions for BET, the first to do so for that network.

His ability to connect with traditionally disconnected urban minority youth led to a major appointment with the NAACP as its National Youth Director. Since then, he has continued to create new ways to generate interest in social and political arenas among young activists, such as developing an online medium called

Johnson also produced another BET show, “The Jeff Johnson Chronicles,” which addressed issues that resonated with young people in urban America. Although he no longer hosts his own program, Johnson continues to be a popular guest for other public affairs shows, and is a regular contributor to a number of lifestyle magazines.

Additionally, he has merged his activism, media savvy and leadership abilities to start a new lifestyle consulting firm.

Currently, Johnson is working on a book that focuses on the need for honest dialogue between the African-American and Latino communities, tentatively titled, Black and Brown: The Conversation on Race America Has Never Had.

All Assembly Series lectures are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 314-935-5285 or visit the Web site at