Dr. Omékongo Dibinga is the UPstander. His life’s mission is to inspire all across the globe to take a stand when they witness an injustice, no matter how small or large. A John Maxwell Team “Top 30 speaker,” he is an international speaker, trilingual poet, TV talk show host, rapper, and professor of intercultural communication at American University, where he also serves as a faculty affiliate to the Antiracist Research & Policy Center. His Urban Music Award–winning work has best been described by Nikki Giovanni as “outstanding, exciting, and new while being very old.” His book, From the Limbs of My Poetree, was described by Essence Magazine as “a remarkable and insightful collection of exquisite poetry that touches sacred places within your spirit.” He was one of five international recipients out of 750,000 to win the first-ever CNN iReport Spirit Award. He has received over 1,000,000 views on CNN.com.
Omékongo’s writings and performances have appeared in O Magazine, as well as on TV and radio from CNN, BET, and the BBC to NPR, Music Choice, and Voice of America in millions of homes in over 150 countries. He has also written songs for major motion pictures as well as organizations such as NASA and the Enough! Project. He has spoken before the United Nations, partners with the U.S. Department of State to conduct leadership trainings overseas, and speaks to corporate, government, and educational organizations across the country on issues centered on leadership, antiracism, diversity, and inclusion.
Omékongo’s music and writings have appeared alongside artists such as Sheryl Crow, Angelina Jolie, Norah Jones, Damien Rice, Angelique Kidjo, Don Cheadle, and Yassine Bey. He has shared the stage with Jane Fonda, Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen, OutKast, Sonia Sanchez, The Last Poets, and NFL great Aaron Rodgers. Internationally, he has shared his work in nearly 30 countries on three continents.
Omékongo has studied at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Georgetown, Morehouse, and The Fletcher School, where he earned his MA in law and diplomacy. He earned his PhD in international education policy at The University of Maryland (UMD), where his dissertation centered on the global hip-hop phenomenon and Jay-Z. A book based on the dissertation is in the works. At UMD, he also worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Diverse Students Initiative. Across the country he has worked with school districts on culturally relevant instruction including Washington, D.C., Texas, New York, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, and California. He worked for four years as the lead teaching assistant to Dr. Michael Eric Dyson at Georgetown University. He provides leadership and educational and diversity empowerment as a consultant and motivational speaker for organizations, associations, and institutions.
Omékongo he has been featured and lectured nationwide in venues from TEDx and Harvard to Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit and the Nuyorican Poets Café. His rap mixtape series “Bootleg” promotes positive hip-hop with remixes of songs by Tupac, Notorious BIG, Jay-Z, Nas, 50 Cent, and others. His 1,000,000 Youth Campaign has directly impacted over 750,000 youth across the globe to date. He has also partnered with Intel on its campaign to make their computer processors free of minerals that come from the war in the Congo.
Omékongo has published and produced seven books, eight fusion music and motivational CDs, and one independent DVD. His motivational book G.R.O.W. Towards Your Greatness! 10 Steps to Living Your Best Life has received praise from great motivational speakers such as Les Brown and Willie Jolley. His most recent book The UPstander’s Guide to an Outstanding Life is a life-balance book for students.