MALCOLM KENYATTA is a community activist and American politician from North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who currently serves as a State Representative for the 181st District in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He is a frequent commentator on The Rachel Maddow Show and other MSNBC shows. Kenyatta is the grandson of the late civil rights activist Muhammed I. Kenyatta, who inspired his political interests, though he died when Malcolm was only two years old.
Kenyatta has been engaged in community affairs and politics since he was eleven years old, serving as the junior block captain with the Philadelphia Streets Program. He has worked as a political consultant on multiple local races, most notably as the campaign manager for lawyer and activist Sherrie Cohen, the daughter of longtime city councilman David Cohen, in her 2015 bid for the Philadelphia City Council.
In 2016 and 2020, he was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention (DNC).
Kenyatta was selected as one of seventeen speakers to jointly deliver the keynote address at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. This made him, Sam Park, and Robert Garcia the first out gay speakers in a keynote slot at a Democratic National Convention.
In December 2017, Kenyatta announced his campaign for the 181st district of Pennsylvania’s State Legislature to replace the long-serving incumbent Curtis Thomas. Kenyatta became the first openly LGBTQ person of color to be nominated by a major political party for a state office in Pennsylvania history, despite anti-gay sentiment by opponents.
After winning a five-way primary in May’s election with 42.14% of the Democratic votes, Kenyatta faced Republican opponent Milton Street in the November general election. In November 2018, Kenyatta won the General Election in what media called “a landslide” with 95.29% of the vote, making him one of the youngest elected State Representatives in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the first openly gay person of color elected to either chamber of the General Assembly in Pennsylvania history.
Kenyatta was the subject of an award-winning documentary, Going Forward, which followed his 2018 victory. The Philadelphia Tribune called Kenyatta one of Philadelphia’s most influential African-Americans. In 2020, Kenyatta was named an OUT 100 Honoree by OUT Magazine, their annual list of the most “impactful and influential LGBTQ+ people”. In the same year, he was awarded the Sen. Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award.
In February 2021, Kenyatta announced his bid for the 2022 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania.
Kenyatta is married to Dr. Matt Miller Ph.D.