Award winning author, filmmaker and professor M.K. Asante Jr. makes his debut on the Hilltop Tuesday, Feb. 26 for the 2012-13 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. He will give the Jones Day/Billingsley/Miller Rich Lecture at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.
The multi-talented Asante has been featured on numerous TV and radio programs and has had his essays published in periodicals such as USA Today, Huffington Post, and The New York Times. Since the age of 23 he has taught at Morgan State University in the department of English and Language Arts. He tells his students, “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.”
In 2009 Asante directed, produced and co-wrote The Black Candle. It was named best full-length documentary at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival and in 2012 made its television premiere on Starz. The film uses Kwanzaa to explore and celebrate the African-American community, culture and experience; it was co-written and narrated by Maya Angelou. His other films include, 500 Years Later and Motherland.
Before filmmaking Asante was a writer, and he has said that fundamentally a film starts with writing. He published his first book at the age of 20. His books include It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop, Beautiful. And Ugly Too, and Like Water Running Off My Back. His forthcoming book, Buck, is a memoir from his teenage years and explores how he educated himself on the streets of inner-city America.
In addition to his professional roles, Asante speaks across the nation. He doesn’t speak solely at schools, though; he has given talks at prisons and other unlikely locations as part of his stated desire to educate and inspire all individuals.
Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Philadelphia, Asante earned a B.A. degree from Lafayette College and an M.F.A. from UCLA School of Film and Television.
Asante will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.
The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place. To ask Asante a question via Twitter, send a tweet to @SMUtate and @mkasante with the hashtag #SMUtateAsante. Student moderator Amie Kromis will ask some of these questions during the event.
(Image courtesy of M.K. Asante)