John Chenault is a renowned playwright, musician and producer who has made his mark on the performing arts for five decades. He has commissioned work from major institutions across the United States and performed his compositions throughout the world.
A native of Cincinnati, Chenault began his career as a playwright for community theater. He later expanded his repertoire to include writing plays for television. He wrote Young Men Grow Older, a half-hour drama that received the National Conference of Christian and Jewish Brotherhood Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award for community television.
Early Life and Education
john chenault is a highly accomplished author, playwright, and producer who has worked in the performing arts for more than five decades. He has received commissions from the American Composer’s Forum, the International Society of Bassists, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
As a child, Chenault was an active participant in the community theater movement in Cincinnati. He studied percussion with Flash Ford and Alfred Smith, played in the Black Arts Ensemble, and wrote poetry.
As a young man, he began writing plays. He was particularly interested in exploring issues of black life. He wrote Blood Ritual and Stolen Moments, which were produced by the New Theater of Cincinnati, a local theater group. He also created a television drama, Young Men Grow Older, which was nominated for an Emmy Award and received the National Conference of Christian and Jews Brotherhood Award.
Chenault’s professional career has spanned many disciplines and has taken him around the world. He is a poet, playwright, and librettist, as well as an educator. He has earned graduate degrees in library and information science and Pan African studies.
He taught at the University of Cincinnati, Beacon College, and Washington International College. He also held the position of executive dean at Washington International College.
During his time as an educator, Chenault has developed and taught courses on race, color, and consciousness and American diversity. He has also conducted research on institutional and scientific racism and published in scholarly journals.
He recently joined the UofL School of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education as associate professor-director of anti-racism initiatives, bringing a wealth of knowledge to this new position. In his role, he will work with faculty to support anti-racism in medical student education and develop and implement initiatives guided by the School of Medicine’s UME Anti-Racism Task Force.
Achievements and Honors
Chenault is well-known for his contributions to a number of organizations. He has served as a delegate to the American Medical Association and is also a member of the Harvard Corporation.
He has received a wide variety of honors, including the Catalyst Award on behalf of American Express and the John Wooden Global Leadership Award. He has also been named one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune Magazine.
His achievements and honors have inspired him to continue serving others in the community. He has served as a board member of the Old Folks Aid Home in Newtown, an assisted living and long-term care center for African Americans. He has also been a member of the American Red Cross and Easter Seals Southwest Florida.
John Chenault’s life has been characterized by courage, purpose, creativity and service to others. He has made contributions to the world through his work as a writer, artist and composer.
Throughout his career, he has devoted himself to the creation of dramas that entertain and explore the issues that matter most to him. His creative efforts have focused audiences on the talents of black artists and the important issues of African American culture.
In addition to his writing, he has collaborated with double bassist Frank Proto on several compositions that have been performed by prominent orchestras. He has also composed two books of poetry, and his works have been published in several magazines. He is a well-known figure among the African American community and has received numerous awards and honors for his achievements.
Kenneth Chenault, CEO and Chairman of American Express since 2001, is one of the few African-American bosses of a Fortune 500 company. He is also a philanthropist and has contributed to the Old North Foundation’s preservation efforts.
Born in Mineola, New York, Nassau County, Chenault is the son of a dentist and dental hygienist. He received a B.A. in history from Bowdoin College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
He began working for American Express in 1981, when the company was still a small operation and he joined its Strategic Planning Group. He became president and chief operating officer in 1997, then CEO in 2001.