Hosted by...


Urbanworld Digital delivered a series of thought-provoking conversations, covering a range of topics including global opportunity, the convergence of content and technology, and diversity in the industry.  See below for the 2016 recap photos & video as well as program.



Presented by Africa Creative Agency (ACA)

Digital innovation and increased connectivity have given creative work greater reach and influence, transcending traditional boundaries of geography and language. Africa is a creative power station. The growing interest in African lifestyle assets through multiple industries like art, fashion, film, sports, music present filmmakers with an array of stories that can be told through collaborations that can be monetized and incentivized in the continent and diaspora.



Africa Editor, Quartz

Yinka Adegoke oversaw the launch of Quartz Africa in June 2015 and coordinates its news, ideas and events in partnership with an editorial team across the continent. He launched the Africa Innovators Summit in Nairobi in 2015 and returned with the event in July. Yinka is a founding board member of Social Media Week Lagos and launched the Billboard Africa Music Day event. As a journalist, has reported from more than 10 countries across Europe, Africa and the Americas. Before joining Quartz, Yinka was deputy editor at Billboard where he ran the business coverage for the world’s leading music magazine brand. Prior to that he was Reuters’ senior media correspondent covering the global media business where he focused on the digital disruption of the traditional media industry. Earlier in his career Yinka was an editor at New Media Age in London covering the early days of the digital media revolution and a regular writer for The Guardian and The Financial Times.

Founder & CEO, Africa Creative Agency

In 2004, Mr. Gayle set his sights on Africa. Drawing on decades of experience across music, media, television and film, he introduced a myriad of entertainers and brands to the continent for the very first time. He implemented the launch of the 2010 World Cup Inaugural Event, 50 Cent’s storied Tour of Mozambique and South Africa, which ended with the rap superstar meeting Nelson Mandela for a highly publicized MTV segment, the rebrand of SABC with top global performers, and T.D. Jakes Mega Fest in South Africa. As founder of Africa Creative Agency (ACA), his beliefs are rooted in visionary branding that breaks down borders and elevates the continent’s cultural profile through strategy and global best practices, utilizing everything from content and content platforms to live events and social engineering.



Following the success of Hotel Rwanda, Kae-Kazim re-located to Los Angeles, which brought a range of new opportunities his way, including starring in the hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End as Captain Jocard. He followed it with a role in the blockbuster, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Kae-Kazim has appeared in various hit television shows including Lost, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds. He also starred as Colonel Iké Dubaku in season 7 of the Fox television series 24 and the television movie tie-in 24: Redemption. Kae-Kazim continued to build up a following with roles in Gotham and Dominion, although his longest running role has been in the Michael Bay produced Starz series, Black Sails. 


Founder, EditsTalks

Nomndeni owns a global conversations platform called Edits Talks, starting an extensive dialogue around how African Entertainment, Fashion, Beauty, Sports and Pop Culture and Technology can awaken the World to Africa's Potential. The dialogue spans a variety of agendas anchored by visionaries and thought leaders around entrepreneurial opportunities, social implications and strategies of engaging Africa's present and future in these key social pillars.  Nomndeni was invited to speak on the topic of branding and marketing within entertainment at Repperbahn Conference Music Festival in Germany, travelling with the South African delegation to expose the world to South African Entertainment Business opportunities. 



Presented by HBO

Longtime friends and business colleagues reflect on their journey and share perspectives on what’s to come, as the industry continues to be driven by innovation and technology.



Chairman & CEO, HBO

Richard Plepler is Chairman and CEO of Home Box Office, Inc., responsible for the overall management of the world’s most successful pay TV service, provides HBO and Cinemax to over 131 million subscribers in over 60 countries and its programming into over 180 territories.  The HBO and Cinemax services offer the most popular subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand, streaming services HBO GO and MAX GO, as well as HBO NOW® which began providing audiences with instant access to HBO’s acclaimed programming in the U.S. In addition to global juggernaut Game of Thrones and popular comedy Ballers, Plepler has greenlit some of HBO’s most successful series including True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom ,  as well as Emmy winners Girls & Veep.



Russell Simmons has launched scores of groundbreaking careers and innovative enterprises in arenas as varied as music, film, television, fashion, comedy, poetry, digital platforms, theater and finance. After having produced or managed artists such as Kurtis Blow, Run DMC, and Whodini, Simmons joined forces with producer Rick Rubin to found Def Jam Recordings. Under Simmons’ leadership as Chairman, Def Jam signed acts including the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Jay Z and Kanye West.  Simmons’ long-running HBO series DzDef Comedy Jamdz helped make household names of comics including Jamie Foxx, Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart and JB Smoove.  Most recently, he has been building All Def Digital, a premium, multi-platform digital media company and entertainment hub, curating, developing and connecting a new generation of content creators to global fans. He also co-founded the digital marketing firm Narrative. 



Elvis Mitchell has hosted “The Treatment,” with its inside look at the creators of popular culture, since KCRW first aired the program in April of 1996.  Mitchell served as the film critic at the New York Times from January 2000 until May of 2005.  In October 2002, he gave the prestigious Alain Locke lectures on African American culture at Harvard University, and subsequently, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard in Visual and Environmental Studies, and in African American Studies.  As of 2011, he is the Film Independent Curator at the Los Angeles County Museum at Art.



Presented by Urbanworld

As the adage goes, perception is King (and Queen!). The young visionary Yara Shahidi put it best when she asked, "How can there be parity or the belief that we are valued similarly if we are still being perceived and perceiving others as a tired stereotype or as one-dimensional?" ERA OF THE ENGINEER FILMS has a solution to this pressing question. Created to adjust the narrative of underrepresented people, cultures, and industries, ERA FILMS uses the silver screen (and your laptop and phone) to tell real stories from a multi-dimensional perspective, all with the aim of creating a holistic perception of our layered realities. This conversation will provide a window into the masterminds behind this fresh approach to filmed entertainment, with a preview of what’s to come, as this new era of storytelling is launched.



Legendary Audio Engineer & Co-Founder, Era Films

Legendary audio engineer, Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton is the man behind the boards for world-renowned artist Jay Z. Guru’s ability to communicate complex technical terms, not only to artists but students, creatives and business professionals alike, have led to his reputation as the foremost leader bridging the gap between hip ­hop and the tech community. Guru’s love of music has always been rooted in technology. As an audio engineer, he has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in the world, such as Gatorade, working to explore the effects of sound on athletes and Google, who asked Guru to create a widely­popular commercial for Google Glass. Guru received two Grammy nominations for his work with Common and Jhené Aiko. He continues to help artists such as Jay Z and Alicia Keys craft their live shows.  A lifelong educator, Guru has, for the last three years, served as the official Artist­in­Residence at USC’s Thornton School of Music where he oversaw the creation of its first-­ever Music Production Degree.


Talent Manager & Co-Founder, Era Films

Talent Manager and entrepreneur, Jerald manages some of the illest talent in entertainment — and technology — including Young Guru, and is the engine behind Era of the Engineer, a social enterprise focused on research, education, and philanthropy in the STEM space.  Jerald straddles the worlds of entertainment, technology, and business with intention, as well as understanding that these areas are all connected.  He advocates the power and intersection of technology and culture with intention, across music and now film and television.  His curiosity and fascination feeds his imagination and free-thinking, all of which influence and inspire how he innovates and creates.


Director, Content & Artist Development, Time Warner Inc.

As Director, Content & Artist Development for Time Warner Inc., Tamir Muhammad is responsible for a new digital initiative that creates meaningful ways for today’s content creators to further engage Time Warner’s divisions (Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner Broadcasting) with the company’s longstanding focus on the development of the next generation of storytellers. Prior to joining Time Warner Inc., Tamir was the VP, Content Development for Tribeca Enterprise's Digital Studios overseeing the development of content ideas for production and distribution.  Tamir also served as the VP, Film, TV, and Online Programming for several years at the Tribeca Film Institute, where he oversaw funding and development of projects by established and emerging filmmakers.