Steward Speakers Series opens with Grammy Award-winning gospel musician

  • Feb. 17, 2017


INDIANAPOLIS -- A gospel music producer, songwriter and recording artist; a former U.S. attorney general; and the founder of a national organization that empowers black girls are headed to Indianapolis to take the podium as guest speakers for the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 2017 Steward Speakers Series.

The IUPUI Steward Speakers Series provides education and awareness to Indianapolis residents interested in empowerment topics. The program allows the community to talk about important issues of the day with celebrities, leaders and experts in particular fields.

This year's sessions feature:

  • Gospel music producer, songwriter and recording artist Kirk Franklin: Feb. 22 at the Downtown Marriott, 350 W. Maryland St.
  • Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder: March 2 in the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd., Room 450. 
  • Beverly Bond, founder of the "Black Girls Rock!" nationwide youth empowering and mentoring organization: March 30 at Ivy Tech School of Culinary Arts, 2820 N. Meridian St.

Each program begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes a Q&A session with the audience. Student and adult tickets are available online. IUPUI students may purchase tickets in the Campus Services office in the IUPUI Campus Center.

Franklin, a seven-time Grammy Award winner whose early life was anything but a blueprint for success, said he will talk about a goal many in society want to achieve: "how we can become better people in the midst of all the difficulties that are going on right now."

"I do think things are getting worse, but that creates an opportunity for things to be better," he said. "More and more people are now on the same playing field, and we all want a better world. We are all trying to figure out how to make a better world."

As a musician, Franklin has united audiences across gospel, hip-hop, pop and R&B.

Franklin was born to a teenage mom who didn't want him and to a father he never knew. Given his history, this artist's future often seemed dismal, yet Franklin tells his fans that God reached down and changed him.

On the Steward Speakers website, Franklin is described as "a man who comes from shaky circumstances that could have paralyzed his spiritual growth. ... He is never far from that frightened and forlorn young man who didn't always know which way to turn, which is what makes Franklin one of the most relatable and respected messengers in his field."

Holder is the 82nd U.S. attorney general. He served in that post from 2009 to 2015.

President-elect Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Holder on Dec. 1, 2008, and Vice President Joe Biden swore in Holder as attorney general on Feb. 3, 2009.

Bond has blazed trails in music, entertainment and social entrepreneurship. Her body of work across sectors has made her a celebrated DJ and social innovator.

In 2006, Bond founded Black Girls Rock, a youth empowerment and mentoring organization. She simultaneously created the annual Black Girls Rock Awards to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional women of color who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and stand as inspirational and positive role models in the community.

Full-body promo picture of gospel musician Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin

Print Quality Photo

Richard Schneider