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Award-winning author, filmmaker M.K. Asante to deliver annual Murray Lecture at Vanderbilt University Oct. 20

by Oct. 11, 2010, 10:33 AM

Hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance,” M.K. Asante is the author of three celebrated books and films and will give a free, public talk at Vanderbilt University on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

He will deliver the university’s annual Walter R. Murray Jr. Lecture, named for the Vanderbilt alumnus who was the first African American to serve on the Board of Trust and a founder of the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni.

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Wyatt Center – part of the Peabody College of education and human development located off 21st Avenue South.

The Los Angeles Times called Asante’s latest book It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop “an empowering book that moves you to action and to question status quo America.” His other books include Beautiful. And Ugly Too and Like Water Running Off My Back, which won the Jean Corrie Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Asante is a tenured professor of creative writing and film in the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University.

His work in film includes directing The Black Candle, which he co-wrote with poet Maya Angelou who also narrates the prize-winning film that uses Kwanzaa as a vehicle to explore the African American experience. He wrote and produced 500 Years Later, a film shot in more than 20 countries that chronicles the struggle from enslavement to freedom. It has won five international film festival awards and the Breaking Chains Award from the United Nations. Motherland, a film he produced, blends history, culture, politics and contemporary issues to tell a new story of Africa.

He has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NBC News, Tom Joyner Morning Show and NPR. His essays on music, politics and culture have been published in USA Today and the San Francisco Chronicle and on Huffington Post.

Asante studied at the University of London, earned a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and a master of fine arts degree from the UCLA School of Film and Television.

For more information regarding Asante’s lecture at Vanderbilt, contact the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at (615) 322-2524.