Stacey Abrams, Beastie Boys to Speak at SXSW

Nile Rodgers, Gwyneth Paltrow and more join the roster

Democratic Party rising star Stacey Abrams, one of the high-profile names added to the SXSW speaker list today

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate (and putative 2020 presidential hopeful) Stacey Abrams and The L Word creator IIene Chaiken are some of many names just added to this year's SXSW speaker lineup. Plus ch-check it out: The surviving members of the Beastie Boys will deliver this year's Music keynote speech.

The New York rap innovators last appeared at the festival and conference in 2006, before the death of fellow founding member Adam Yauch. Now Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, aka Ad-Rock and Mike D, will be in conversation with Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett.

They're just part of today's major wave of speaker announcements, covering topics as diverse as cryptocurrency (the Winklevoss twins), professional wrestling (Triple H and Charlotte Flair of the WWE), the corporate cannabis industry (former Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner – no, really). They join an already packed who's who of announced keynotes and speakers, including Against Me! vocalist Laura Jane Grace, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, actress and activist Zoe Saldana, and CHVRCHES singer Lauren Mayberry.

Today's list also sees some speakers pulling double duty. Austin's own Ethan Hawke was already on the schedule for his new film Adopt a Highway, but now he'll also be in conversation with megaproducer Jason Blum (who will be ubiquitous again this year, with several Blumhouse titles, including opening night horror Us, on the schedule). Similarly, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne will speak in the Social & Global Impact track, as well as screening a restored version of his 1986 film True Stories; and Elisabeth Moss (who brings her remarkable music drama Her Smell to the Film Festival) will discuss the rock & roll lifestyle with Grammy winner Brandi Carlile.

Today's list also adds several live podcast recordings, with the Game of Thrones fans of Talk the Thrones, plus sports network The Ringer's movie-themed show The Big Picture all packing their mics.

“We’re fortunate to bring together a diverse group of creative thinkers and leaders to share their perspectives,” said Hugh Forrest, SXSW chief programming officer. “From NASA scientists to entertainment legends Nile Rodgers and T Bone Burnett to influential voices like Stacey Abrams and Kara Swisher, the breadth and depth of programming at this year’s event is what continues to make SXSW unique and indispensable.”

SXSW 2019 runs March 8-17: for our full coverage, head over to Now here's today's speaker names:



Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond of the Beastie Boys with Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett.
• Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer T Bone Burnett.


• Former U.S. House Majority Leader (and now director of Acreage Holdings, the United States' largest cannabis operator) John Boehner in conversation with Acreage CEO Kevin Murphy.


• Silicon Valley investor and HBO’s Silicon Valley technical advisor Roger McNamee in conversation with Wired Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson.
Recode co-founder and Editor-at-Large Kara Swisher with special guest.


Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss, co-founders of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini.

Brands & Marketing

• Creativity in the Age of Innovation, led by Nick Law, CCO of Publicis Groupe and president of Publicis Communications.
• Experimenting with Experiential: How Giant Spoon Stays One Step Ahead with Trevor Guthrie and Marc Simons, co-founders of AdWeek’s Breakthrough Agency of the Year 2018, Giant Spoon.
• The State of the Story: How Carbon Won "The Big Game" with Carbon CMO Dara Treseder.
• Arch-Gooper Gwyneth Paltrow in conversation with CNN Newsroom anchor Poppy Harlow.
• Anthropologist and futurist Brian Solis, author of Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive and Happy Life.

Cities, Government & Politics

• Former member of the Georgia House of Representatives and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.


• Serpentine Gallery artistic director Hans-Ulrich Obrist on the future of technology.

Entertainment Influencers

• Actress and producer Elizabeth Banks with Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant.
• The Women’s Evolution in WWE and Beyond featuring WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, EVP of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul “Triple H” Levesque and former Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair.
• Tony and Oscar-nominated actor and filmmaker Ethan Hawke in conversation with Blumhouse founder Jason Blum.
• Actress Elisabeth Moss in conversation with Grammy winner Brandi Carlile.
• Recording of The Big Picture – The Ringer Live Podcast with Ringer editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey and culture editor Amanda Dobbins.
Game of Thrones podcast Talk the Thrones Live with Chris Ryan, Mallory Rubin, and Jason Concepcion.

Film & TV Industry

• Film Critics’ Preview featuring Alicia Malone, Amy Nicholson, Jacqueline Coley, and Monica Castillo.

Making Film & Episodics

• Shooting Stars: How NASA Works with Film & TV, featuring Bert Ulrich, Joby Harris, Stephanie Smith, and Veronica McGregor.
• When Life Becomes Art Imitates Life with The L Word creator IIene Chaiken, Shrill executive producer and showrunner Ali Rushfield, writer and UnREAL co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, and Hulu Head of Originals Beatrice Springborn.

Making & Marketing Music

JC Curleigh, president and chief executive officer of Gibson.

Media & Journalism

The Weekly: The New York Times Expands to TV: a discussion of the newspaper’s new series for FX and Hulu, with NYT assistant managing Sam Dolnick, and show executive producer Ken Druckerman.
• TBS & TNT president Kevin Reilly in conversation with Recode executive officer Peter Kafka.

Music Industry and Culture

• Grammy-winning music legend Nile Rodgers, in conversation with Hipgnosis Songs Ltd CEO and founder Merck Mercuriadis.

Social & Global Impact

• Musician and activist David Byrne.
• Making Change On and Off the Screen with Ike Barinholtz, Amber Heard, Padma Lakshmi, and Anthony D. Romero.
• RISE conference founder Rachel Hollis, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face.

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