January 17, 2019

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU’s African American Male Initiative Welcomes M.K. Asante to Campus Jan. 28

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s African American Male Initiative will present A Conversation with M.K. Asante at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28, in the Student Union Theater. Admission is free of charge and open to all students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, and friends of the university.

M.K. Asante is a best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, recording artist, and distinguished professor. The Los Angeles Times describes him as “one of America’s best storytellers.”

During the event, Asante will discuss his memoir “Buck,” a 2014 and 2015 Washington Post Bestseller, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, and an NAACP Image Award finalist for Outstanding Literary Work. His book is currently being adapted into a major motion picture, funded by a Sundance Feature Film Program Grant from the Sundance Institute.

Publisher Spiegel and Grau, an imprint of Random House, provided the following synopsis of Asante’s book: “A rebellious boy’s journey through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family — this is the riveting story of a generation told through one dazzlingly poetic new voice.

“M.K. Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents — a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become a revered pioneer in black studies. But things fell apart and a little more than a decade later M.K. was back in America, lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of North Philadelphia. Now he was alone — his mother in an asylum, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison on the other side of the country — and forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary.

“‘Buck’ is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself through the most unconventional teachers — outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper. It’s a one-of-a-kind story about finding your purpose in life and an inspiring tribute to the power of education, art, and love to heal and redeem us.”

Asante earned a Bachelor of Arts from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Theater, Film, and Television. He has been featured on CNN, NPR, The Breakfast Club, VH1, MTV, and most recently, the album “Indie 500” by Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder and Talib Kweli. His essays have been published in the New York Times and USA Today. His inspirational story, “The Blank Page,” was featured in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: 20th Anniversary Edition,” a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. He is the founder of Wonderful Sound Studios in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He wrote and produced the film “500 Years Later,” which won five international film festival awards, and he produced and directed “The Black Candle,” a prize-winning Starz TV movie he co-wrote with Maya Angelou.

Asante has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, as well as hundreds of other universities, and is a distinguished professor at MICA in India and a tenured professor of English and film at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. He has toured in more than 50 countries and is featured in “A Changing America,” a permanent video collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

VSU’s African Male Initiative is part of a statewide effort designed to increase the number of African American males who complete their postsecondary education at any of the University System of Georgia's 26 institutions. Its mission is to provide an integrated program model of academic and social tools that support students around adopting a positive mindset to successfully complete classes, elevate their cumulative grade point averages, matriculate through each academic level, and graduate. 

A Conversation with M.K. Asante is sponsored by VSU’s African American Studies Program, Mu Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Media Arts Geniuses.

Please contact VSU’s African American Studies Program at (229) 249-4843 or afams@valdosta.edu to learn more.

On the Web: