SXSW Announces Lyor Cohen As Keynote, ‘This Is Us’, ‘The Chi’ Cast & Creators As Featured Speakers

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Next year’s South by Southwest Conference and Festival has added more notable names to their lineup of speakers. The annual confab has added Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google, Lyor Cohen as Music Keynote. SXSW will also include the cast of This Is Us as featured speakers as well as the cast of The Chi along with producers Common and Lena Waithe. The fest runs March 9-18, 2018.

The fest has also added a number of featured speakers to their programming lineup including Giphy CEO Alex Chung, journalist Katie Couric, musician Kim Deal, XPRIZE Foundation founder and Executive Chairman Peter Diamandis, businesswoman Bethenny Frankel, Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John. Cohen and the roster of Featured Speakers announced represent a unique group of leaders, trailblazers, and dynamic storytellers offering creative solutions, inspiration, and powerful narratives.

Cohen is an American music industry executive, who currently oversees domestic and international music partnerships as well as artist and label relations at YouTube and Google. He is also founder of 300, a music content company that leverages innovative tech to discover, cultivate and promote rising artists with a boutique focus. Prior to 300, Cohen was the Chairman and CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group. Cohen was intimately involved in the careers of The Killers, fun., Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, The Black Keys, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and many more.

“Over his 30-year career, Lyor Cohen has been behind the most prolific musical acts and at the helm of the biggest labels. His creativity and passion to keep the music industry innovative continue to flourish with his leadership at YouTube,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. “Cohen and the additional Featured Speakers announced today continue to define SXSW as the premiere destination for creative people.”

Cohen will speak on Wednesday, March 14. He joins previously-announced SXSW Keynotes Darren Aronofsky (Film Keynote), Ta-Nehisi Coates (Convergence Keynote), Barry Jenkins (Film Keynote), Sadiq Khan (Convergence Keynote), Esther Perel (Interactive Keynote), and whurley (Convergence Keynote).

Showtime’s The Chi, which will premiere on Jan. 7, will be a Featured Session under the Entertainment Influencers section. The new series is a timely, relevant coming-of-age story that follows six interrelated characters linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption that takes place in Chicago’s South Side. Creator, writer and executive producer Waithe and executive producer Common will be joined by actors Jacob Latimore and Jason Mitchell for a conversation about the upcoming drama.

NBC’s This Is Us will also be a Featured Session in the Entertainment Influencers section.  Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley, who play the show’s Pearson family, will be at SXSW to give an inside look at the Emmy Award-winning drama.


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