45th Gala Guests
Host & Event Emcee
Jaden is a junior at Stanford University majoring in economics and minoring in data science. After his undergraduate studies, he plans to attend law school. His interests inside and outside of the classroom align with his professional and personal interests. At Stanford, Jaden served as an Undergraduate Senator representing the student body and conducted economic policy research at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. This past summer, he worked as a Summer Associate at the Boston Consulting Group in social impact consulting and is excited to return to the firm this summer. He currently works as a foreign policy research assistant at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, is co-president of the Stanford Pre-Law Society, is an undergraduate fellow at the Stanford Law School Constitutional Law Center, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity.
Jaden deeply values community service, engagement, and mentorship. He has participated in multiple volunteer groups throughout his life. In 2019, he was recognized with the US President’s Volunteer Service Award. In 2021, he was added as a student member to the Board of Directors of the African American Community Service Agency. Jaden has been featured as a speaker at numerous community events and panels over the years, and he relishes opportunities to engage in community dialogue and celebration. He is honored and humbled to be able to host such a special community event today.
The Early Years Born Ke’Tara (pronounced key-TAIR-ruh) Wyatt, Indianapolis-native Keke grew up the second born along with three brothers (all musically inclined) in a mixed-race family. Father Keever Wyatt II is a minister, organist and vocalist, and Mother Lorna Wyatt is a powerful vocalist and church choir director. Keke’s grandmother discovered her ability to harmonize at age two. She began singing in church with her family shortly after she had her first solo performance at age five. Keke recorded her first gospel song, “What If,” when she was ten years-old. Music was Keke’s first love—not only singing but as a good drummer and percussionist, also she would attempt at keyboards, guitar, and bass. Keke was the only girl on her high school wrestling team (having all brothers and live-in male cousins creates such necessities). In between bouts on the mat, Keke performed with various girl groups. Keke became a protégé of noted producer Steve Huff. Under his tutelage, she recorded demos for record labels and developed her songwriting skills. When Keke turned 16 years-old, Huff introduced her to R&B singerAvant who asked Keke to join him on a cover of René & `Angela’s 1983 Quiet Storm masterpiece, “MyFirst Love.” The sumptuous duet became a hit all over again for another generation in 2000 and was Keke’s first out of the box smash, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 100 chart. At 18, Keke released her maiden voyage to the world with the album Soul Sista on MCA Records, scoring a platinum album and a second hit duet with Avant titled “Nothing in This World” (produced by Randy Jackson, pre-American Idol) which went to No. 1 on Billboard’s “R&B Singles” chart. Worldwide sales helped Keke create fan bases in Europe, Japan, and Korea. Keke walked away from MCA, leaving two completed CDs in the can. Though she continued performing, Keke didn’t release her second CD, Who Knew, until 2010followed by Unbelievable in 2011 (both on Shanachie Records). The latter included “Saturday Love,” a duet with American Idol-winner Ruben Studdard that was a remake of the Cherrelle and AlexanderO’Neal hit. Keke scored a third smash with Avant in 2013 titled “You & I.” An instant classic, it hit No. 1on Billboard’s Urban Adult chart around Valentine’s Day 2013 and remained for seven consecutive weeks.
Reality Show Life - Beyond the craziness that comes with putting your life under the microscope of reality shows, Keke relished the opportunity to share her stories—good, bad and ugly—with others on“R&B Divas Atlanta” and “Marriage Boot Camp” debuting in October 2016 on the WETV Network. “I’m an open book,” Keke states. “I want people to know, ‘I’m just like you. The one thing that is hard is reading evil comments about my family on social media. TV Series/Show Life- In 2016 Keke Wyatt joined the cast of Bounce TV hit show “Saints and Sinners” asLady Greene (character). In 2021 Keke Wyatt joined the cast of the BET+ hit Movie “Favorite Son” as IvyWhitlow (character). Between the runaway-elevator life that inspires her songs and the reality shows in which she stars that find her generously sharing her highs and lows to help others. International singing star Keke Wyatt hasa treasure trove of music on the subject of love. So much so that her latest project, Rated Love (released via her own Aratek Entertainment through a multi-album artist services deal with global distribution company Ingrooves Music Group) has morphed from a five-song EP to a 12-song CD into a deluxe digital download boasting 17 songs plus interludes. Rated Love goes further than any previous Keke Wyatt release to reveal “the real” Keke with a diverse collection of material by the lady and her team of writer sand producers that includes R&B, country, techno-pop, acoustic soft rock, and contemporary inspirational styles—all served by the wallop of Wyatt’s dynamic vocals reflecting more of the music she has taken to heart across her lifetime.
Keke’s fans constantly request her to sing a lot of covers from another artist. Keke decided to release a“Keke Covers Album” with some of her fan’s favorite songs. She also started a “Keke Covers” series on her YouTube channel where she posts videos in the studio wailing anything from Marvin Gaye’s “What’sGoing On” and Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” to Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” and—most popular—Jeremih’s “Oui,” which taps into her more youthful friend’s base. Especially touching is her recent video“Diamonds and Pearls” by Prince—an artist to whom she feels most kindred. “I loved when Prince sang from his bass to his falsetto all in one song. And we’re both gifted with playing multiple instruments. I think my ‘friends’ would really enjoy seeing me play instruments more.” On October 17, 2018 Mrs. Keke Wyatt got married to Mr. Zackariah Darring. “It is funny how life will come back around” Keke says. Mr. Zackariah Darring grew up in Indianapolis, he was Keke’s first boyfriend. They have reunited and Life has brought them back together as husband and wife, living as a blended family with their 11 children from ages 6 months to 21 years old.
Domestic Violence Spokesperson A highly publicized domestic violence incident with her first husband/manager in 2001, and the loss of a childhood friend to domestic violence moved Keke to become a dedicated advocate for other such victimized women. She is a spokesperson for “The NationalCoalition Against Domestic Violence”, as well as a celebrity supporter and activist with the “Saving OurDaughters organization.” Keke interacts with domestic abuse victims and uses her music and entertainment platforms to bring the issue public awareness. Keke Wyatt has become a beacon of encouragement for women trying to overcome their circumstances.
Sanders is a highly sought-after commentator and speaker, from her , to , Politico’s 2019 Women Rule Summit, the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, and many more. She served as the National Chair of the Coalition of Juvenile Justice Emerging Leaders Committee, a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, and in her role as principal of the 360 Group, Sanders worked on leading-edge solutions to tough political and social problems. Sanders shares her expertise in communication and political strategy, in-depth analysis of key political issues, and the challenges and possibilities for radical change with authenticity, humor, and insight.
Marc Lamont Hill
Marc Lamont Hill (born December 17, 1978) is an American academic, author, activist, and television personality. He is a professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Hill is the host of UpFront on Al Jazeera English, VH1 Live! on VH1, and Basketball Wives reunion shows. He is also a BET News correspondent. Previously he was the first host of the syndicated television show Our World with Black Enterprise, the host of HuffPost Live, and a political commentator for CNN and Fox News. In November 2018, Hill was fired from his position at CNN after remarks before the United Nations on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict that were alleged to be antisemitic.
Hill was born and raised in Philadelphia. When he was 14, Hill met future NBA star Kobe Bryant at a basketball summer camp, and the two became close friends and remained so until Bryant's death. After graduating from Carver High School, a public school in Philadelphia Hill attended Morehouse College, one of the nation's most selective HBCUs, but he dropped out while still a freshman because, in his words, he was only "hanging out and getting in trouble".He finished his undergraduate studies back home at Temple University, where he received his B.S. in education and Spanish in 2000. He later earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
World Renowned Artist
His beginning was simple, a young kid with a school project that needed to be done. Tyler’s mom wanted him to pick something easy to execute but he begged her relentlessly to allow him to paint until she gave in and purchased the simple art products that would change his life. That was a mere 5 years ago, and not only did he win that contest, but today Tyler’s artwork has taken the world by storm having painted and gifted many of today’s hottest celebrities and influencers since his humble beginnings including Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Missy Elliot and Kevin Hart to name a select few.Not one to be confused as an overnight sensation, Tyler has worked hard his entire young life throughout the struggles and disparities that have plagued him. It was at the age of five that it was discovered that he was born deaf. After a life altering surgery a year later helped him to gain some of his hearing and allowed him to learn how to speak, he was left with a severe stutter that many of his peers used as ammunition to taunt and bully him. Later Tyler found himself facing another setback as he was left wheelchair bound for two years due to a vitamin deficiency.But Tyler never let those circumstances define him and today he is a bonafide, artistic prodigy with his work being seen on a litany of outlets and platforms including the Today Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, USA Today, CBS Nightly News, Essence Magazine, Steve Harvey’s Little Big Shots and much more. Recently Tyler became a media phenom after he painted a photo of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris that quickly went viral being retweeted by a host of influencers including Chelsea Clinton and eventually resulting in VP Harris calling Tyler to personally thank him for creating the portrait in her honor (View here and here). Tyler’s star also rose higher having been named a runner up in TIME Magazine’s Kid of the Year awards, while also painting the cover photo for the publication’s Athlete of the Year issue featuring Lebron James.Today, Tyler’s work has been featured in a host of galleries including being on display in Beverly Hills, California as part of the “Heirs To The Throne” art gallery exhibit presented by The Lost Warhols Museum as well as his outdoor art gallery exhibition in Tribeca, New York which was a media and consumer success. He has recently executed national campaigns with the likes of Crayola, Nickelodeon, Michaels, Disney, Nike, T-Mobile, and Foot Locker to name a select few while also contributing to the inauguration of President Joe Biden through his art.In September 2021, Tyler released his first book, “We Can: Portraits of Powers” FSG/MacMillan to great fanfare and accolades, landing on several bestsellers lists and garnering rave reviews.
Leroy Barnett Jr.
Leroy Barnette Jr. is the founder of the Wings for Sound Muscial Expierence specializing in music education, writing and arranging, and performing. He was born in Virginia and grew up in Vallejo, California.
Leroy discovered the magical powers of music at the age of six one Sunday morning while attending church service. The music stirred up powerful emotions to transfrom, transcend, elevate, and fascinate a six year old. He began his musical journey playing clarinet in elementary school and in junior high school playing tenor saxophone and that’s when he fell in love with music. While in school, he played in the concert band, jazz ban , marching band, a neighborhood garage band, and of course church. He’s played at Esther’s Orbit Room in Oakland, Celebrity Club in San Fransisco, and many talent show cases throughout the Bay Area. Reminiscent of the days of the 1960s when he would go shopping in San Francisco with this mother and sister and saw street perform playing music filling the air with smiles, joy, laughter, and dancing. He received and accepted his calling as a street musician. In 2001 that’s when he brought “the sound of downtown” to San Jose in front of Johnny Rockets across from the Fairmont Hotel. He thinks the Most High for his musical talent and allowing him to be a vessel of positive vibrations allowing all who embrace The Wings of Sound, the energy force and power to overcome all obstacles soaring to ther highest height of flight and reaching their fullest potential.
Education: BS in Industrial and Systems engineering from San Jose State University
Leroy currently lives in San Jose, California and routinely performes at festivals, weddings, and other special events. He also teaches beginnin music students the fundamentals of piano, guitar, saxophone, and clarinet.