Black History Month Keynote Speaker Falls Short


During February, the University of North Georgia invited students to observe and participate in a series of events honoring Black history, the last of which was a lecture featuring motivational speaker Jordan Green-Ellis.

The university’s office of Multicultural Student Affairs has held a number of gatherings meant to honor and educate about the Black experience, most notably, the Sankofa traveling museum exhibit. The exhibit, which prohibits visitors from taking pictures, features Black art, African artifacts and portraits of Black historical figures, as well as graphic photos of victims of slavery, lynchings and Jim Crow. 

Although the Sankofa exhibit offers a brutally insightful look into Black history nationwide, one might not find the same to be true of the university’s keynote speaker on the topic. On Thursday, Feb. 23, Jordan Green-Ellis gave the keynote speech on Black history once at the Gainesville campus and again in Dahlonega.

Objectively, other than being Black and getting a degree from a historically Black university, Green-Ellis is unqualified to educate on history. In the field of motivational speaking, he claims, on his website, that his competence comes from his “Musical Intelligence, stemming from his background as a musician,” so it should have been no surprise when his lecture, which the UNG website said would “focus on the impact of historical figures and Black History Month on our lives,” was actually mostly about collegiate and personal success.

Although Green-Ellis is UNG’s keynote speaker for Black History Month, it is unclear why he was selected for this task since his career is in motivational speaking and financial advisement. That is not to say his Bachelor’s degree in sports management makes him qualified for either of those.

His references to key figures in Black history were minimal and used as talking points that served his end goal, but did not enlighten the audience about the importance of Black history in American culture.

Green-Ellis is the author of a book that his website describes as a “debt-free degree manual” entitled “Caps & Gowns All Smiles, No Frowns!” He presents himself as someone who knows all the “keys” to getting a free education, and if you buy his book, Green-Ellis says, “No longer will you wonder how this can be done.” 

During the Q&A portion of his talk, he answered questions about how he uncovered these secrets. He says, “I felt like it was divine.” and that he found these keys through his “experience as a student and in [working] the financial aid industry.” 

On his LinkedIn profile the only experience he cites is as a consultant at “The Unashamed Nation INC.” since 2016, but the articles of incorporation for the company tell a different story.

The Company was founded as a 501c non-profit in 2018 not 2016, and Green-Ellis is listed not as a consultant but as the founder of The Unashamed Nation. The stated purpose of the company is “to inspire and motivate people of all ages through various genres (i.e.) social media, worship services.”

On LinkedIn, he claims to still work for this company despite being closed by the state of Maryland in October of 2020 due to a failure to file property returns.

Green-Ellis now offers a monthly online course called Caps and Gowns University on his website which costs $500 per year and includes just one hour-long video session a month. He says “the main purpose of it is to decrease and eliminate student loan usage.”

Although this may seem ironically expensive, Green-Ellis says he doesn’t take advantage of anyone. In fact, he claims that he has dedicated his life to “altruism” and “living in service of others.” He says customers benefit from paying the price because they have “skin in the game.” Green-Ellis says, “This is not a popular narrative, but when people don’t have any type of investment, they don’t care.”

On the frequently asked question section of the CGU webpage, Green-Ellis gives his audience free answers for a change. Firstly, he admits yes, you can find all of this information on google. Then, for the first and only time on site he warns that no results are guaranteed regardless of how much money one has “invested.” Lastly, Green-Ellis does guarantee his clients one thing: “Purchases are non-refundable.”