Yusef Salaam Biography

Yusef Salaam, a famous American Entrepreneur, activist, motivational speaker, and one of the Central Park Five’s exonerated members has made history by winning the Democratic primary for a seat on the Harlem City Council, CNN projects. Salaam, who was unjustly accused and convicted of assaulting a jogger in Central Park in 1989, spent nearly seven years in prison before DNA evidence cleared his name and that of four other Black and Latino teenagers.

Now, he is poised to become a voice for justice, dignity, and decency in his community. Salaam’s success is evidence of his tenacity, bravery, and foresight. To become a leader and an inspiration to many, he overcame extreme hardship and injustice. He has stated that he wants to inspire “a new Harlem Renaissance” to better his neighborhood1. He has demonstrated that he is characterized by his future, not by his past, as he gets ready to take office in January 2024.

Early Life

On February 27, 1974, Sharonne Salaam gave birth to Salaam. He grew up in Harlem, where he attended public schools and was interested in poetry and music. He was 14 years old when he was arrested along with Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, and Korey Wise for a crime they did not commit.

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The case, known as the Central Park Jogger case, drew national attention and inflamed racial tensions in New York City. The boys were coerced into confessing by the police and were vilified by the media and the public. As a real estate developer at the time, Donald Trump placed full-page newspaper advertisements advocating for the execution of the accused teenagers.

Yusef Salaam Career

In 1990, Yusef Salaam and his co-defendants were found guilty and given a range of prison terms. For six years and eight months, Salaam was housed in both juvenile and adult facilities. During his detention, he experienced harassment and solitude. 

Additionally, he continued his schooling, finishing with an associate’s degree and a high school diploma. A convicted murderer and rapist named Matias Reyes confessed to carrying out the attack on the Central Park jogger alone in 2002. DNA evidence that matched the crime site supported his confession. A judge overturned Salaam and the others’ convictions, leading to their exoneration.

After his release, Salaam became an advocate for criminal justice reform and a public speaker. He also continued his education and obtained a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in humanities. He co-founded the Innocence Project at Cardozo School of Law and joined the board of directors of the Innocence Project. 

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Salaam also co-authored a book with Ibi Zoboi titled Punching the Air, a novel in verse about a wrongfully incarcerated teen. He received several awards and honors for his work, including a Special Achievement Award from President Barack Obama in 2016.

Salaam lives in Harlem, where he launched his campaign for the city council seat in 2023. He ran on a platform of affordable housing, education, health care, public safety, and social justice. He faced two opponents: Inez Dickens, a state assemblywoman and former council member, and Al Taylor, who effectively backed Salaam in a cross-endorsement before the vote.

Yusef Salaam Biography

Real Name Yusuf Abdus Salaam
Birth Date February 27, 1974
Age (as of 2023) 49 Years
Birth Place New York, United States
Profession Inspirational Speaker
Qualification Graduate

Physical Statistics

Height in feet inches – 5’ 10” – in Centimeters – 178 cm
Weight in Kilograms – 80 kg  –  in Pounds –  176 lbs
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Black


Mother Sharonne Salaam
Sister Aisha Salaam
Brother Shareef Salaam

Relationship Status

Marital Status Married
Who is his wife? Sanovia Guillory
Children Ten

Personal Life

Salaam married nurse and speaker Sanovia Guillory in 2007. They have seven kids, plus three from his first marriage. They live in NYC with their ten children, aged 5-25. Salaam loves his family and wants them to live fully and wisely.

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Social Media 

Yusef Salaam has a strong social media presence, where he shares his views and experiences with his followers. He has over 200k followers on Twitter (@dr.yusefsalaam) and over 100k followers on Instagram (@dr.yusefsalaam). He also has a website (www.yusefsalaam.com) where he posts his poems, videos, and events.

Yusef Salaam Net Worth

Salaam’s net worth is estimated to be around $5 million. However, the exact amount is not publicly known. Salaam has earned his wealth from his career as a motivational speaker, author, activist, and politician. He has also received a settlement from the city of New York for his wrongful conviction, along with the other members of the Exonerated Five.

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