by Amy Ferris
MK Asante, author of the widely acclaimed best-selling memoir Buck, will sit down with me for a one-on-one conversation on Saturday, October 1st, at the Milford Readers & Writers Festival. Asante is an author, a filmmaker, a hip-hop artist, and a professor of creative writing at Morgan State University.
“At my core, I’m a rebel,” Asante says. “What I’ve done with my life is learn how to channel my rebellious spirit into something that wasn’t self-destructive, something positive.”
In 2014 MK Asante was nominated for a NAACP Image Award. Maya Angelou, his mentor, said this about him: “I’d love for him to win. I think he’s brilliant. There are artists who’ve been given great gifts but who don’t bother to hone, polish and then share them. Mr. Asante works very hard at his art without letting people know he’s working hard.”
MK Asante is the youngest professor ever to receive tenure at Morgan State University where he teaches. “In my estimation, Professor Asante will become to his generation what Skip Gates was to my generation,” Morgan State President David Wilson said, referring to the scholar and literary critic Henry Louis Gates. “He’s well on his way to becoming a household name both nationally and internationally.”
Molefi Kete Asante, his father, went from picking cotton in Georgia to becoming dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Philadelphia’s Temple University. He’s known as the father of Afro-centrism. Kariamu Welsh, his mother, went from scrubbing toilets at age 8 to become a Guggenheim fellow who served as founding artistic director of the National Dance Company of Zimbabwe. Daahoud, his older half-brother, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, leaving his family in shambles. “The truth is we were already broken.” MK said, “All these experiences were painful as hell, but they had to happen.”
“I’m around so many young people in colleges, universities or high schools or just on the block. I realized they needed to hear my story. They needed to know it because they were seeing a man who is a tenured college professor, a writer and filmmaker, but they are seeing me now. They don’t know what I’ve been through, and they’d know you could go through these things but that you don’t have to be reduced to these things, and they would be inspired to follow their dreams. That’s why the book is dedicated to “all the young bucks.”
Rebel. Genius. Son. Brother. Professor. Role Model.
Fierce. Mighty. Bold. Audacious.
Mentor. Artist. Filmmaker.
Writer. Hero. Man.