Details

Biography
Topics
African Americans
AIDS-HIV
Art & Politics
Hip Hop
Islam
Multiculturalism
Poetry/Spoken Word
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
Technology

Mohammed Soriano-Bilal is an accomplished diversity and inclusion consultant, a strategist, a poet, and an award-winning producer of both music and film. He is probably best known as the voice of reason on MTV's Real World San Francisco. As a facilitator of hundreds of diversity and inclusion presentations and trainings at colleges, universities and high schools nationwide, Mohammed works to remove the blockages that stand in the way of growth.
 
Bilal is also the director of the film, "Towards Excellence," which explores diversity and equity at independent schools. The documentary looks closely at the problematic 80’s, when many private schools intentionally/experimentally increased admittance of African American students to meet self-imposed quotas. Through interviews with some of today’s top administrators, the film offers valuable insights for building vibrant and inclusive school communities. Bilal, who attended and taught at independent schools, unravels power and privilege, race, gender and space.
 
As the former Executive Director of the African American Art and Culture Complex, one of San Francisco's six cultural centers, Mohammed led a strategic shift toward creative place-making development, leading to a 21% increase in revenue. He also worked as the Design Strategist at Scansion Inc., examining the confluence of equity, art, and innovation.

As a multi-disciplinarian artist, Mohammed has collaborated with Santana, Public Enemy, Ben Harper, De La Soul, Danny Glover and Mos Def. His music has been featured on NBC, the CW, and at the Sundance Film Festival. He wrote a weekly column for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and his other film work includes "If I Were President," an election campaign that helped register 200,000 first-time voters of color and "Vocabulary of Change," a conversation between Angela Davis and Tim Wise.

Bilal is currently the Assistant Dean and Managing Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Stanford University.

 

Speeches
Social Justice is a Value
Is charity Social Justice? Volunteering? Service Learning? If Social Justice is a living, breathing thing, then our understanding of it, our relationship with it, affects our actions around it. Our values aren't immune to our weaknesses and prejudices. In this talk/workshop, we explore Social Justice as a Value, a value that we place on living systems. So come use a little scholarship, a little Hip-Hop, and a little laughter to explore the Social Justice that lives in you.

12 Steps Towards Appreciating Diversity 
Have you ever been misunderstood due to cultural differences? Have you ever longed for everyday, logical, concrete steps for communicating and forming strong, lasting friendships with people from different cultures (i.e. difference genders, ethnicities, abilities, sexualities, etc.)? Former MTV Real World star and diversity consultant, Mohammed Bilal, has helped thousands of people move beyond the sheer tolerance of difference. His 12 Steps Towards Accepting Diversity is a fun, interactive presentation sprinkled with scholarship, hip-hop, and self-reflective narratives that equip the participant with easy, valuable, and powerful tools for appreciating the wondrous diversity around us.
 
Preference & Prejudice 
Do you prefer pink or blue, car or bike-- black man or white woman? When choosing A over B- how do preconceived socio-cultural notions affect our daily choices and what role does prejudice play in our preferences? Preference & Prejudice is a engagin, insightful examination of preference and its role in the ways we move toward and away from one another. Using his own personal narrative, Mohammed Bilal blends scholarship, rap and spoken word into a playful exploration of preference and desire, elucidating everyday methods for open interactions.
 
Spatial Awareness 
While people of any composition are allowed equal treatment under US law, do Black Americans occupy the same space as White Americans? Hurricane Katrina, the Digital Divide, the death of Trayvon Martin, and the Federal abandonment of (un)affordable housing in big city America, all shed light on the ways in which "space is proscribed, denied, and ascribed" for people of African descent living in America. Using scholarship, personal narratives and Hip-Hop lyrics to highlight the ongoing quest for equity and inclusion in America, Mohammed Bilal explores Blackness and Space, offering practical solutions toward greater understanding and a freer America.
 
Toward Excellence 
Toward Excellence is a short film that explores diversity and equity at American independent schools. It looks closely at the problematic 80's, when many private schools intentionally/experimentally increased admittance of African-American students to meet self-imposed quotas. Through interviews with some of today's top administrators - Al Adams (Lick-Wilmerding High School), Lucinda Lee Katz (Marin Country Day School) and others - the film offers valuable insights for building vibrant and inclusive school communities. Director Mohammed Bilal, who attended, taught and led independent schools, facilitates the interactive Q & A, vicariously using the film and personal narratives as tools to unravel power and privilege, race, gender and space.
Media