Vanderbilt announces Janelle Monáe and Yusef Salaam to be featured in MLK Day panel

Monáe, a singer-songwriter and actress, and Salaam, one of the ‘Central Park Five,’ will speak on a panel moderated by Divinity School Dean Emilie Townes.


Mattigan Kelly

Langford Auditorium, where the Chancellor’s Lecture Series events are usually held.

Rachel Friedman, Editor in Chief

Vanderbilt announced that Janelle Monáe and Yusef Salaam will be featured at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Series keynote event Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. in Langford Auditorium.

Monáe is a singer-songwriter, producer and actor. Salam is one of the men that makes up the group known as “The Central Park Five” or the “Exonerated Five” who were wrongfully convicted for assualting and raping a woman in 1989. The story of the Central Park Five was turned into a mini-series released on Netflix earlier this year called “When They See Us.”

The conversation will be moderated by Divinity School Dean Emilie Townes. The theme of this year’s commemorative series is “The Power of Storytelling: Our Stories Connect Us.” The event is hosted in partnership with the Chancellor’s Lecture Series.

The event will also include a vigil and a presentation by local middle school and high school students who won the MLK Day Writing Contest with Metro Nashville Public Schools. Seating will be given on a first-come first-serve basis. This Sunday evening event is part of a weekend of programming including a Jan. 18 day of service and a Jan. 19 MLK Day March.