M. K. Asante

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MK Asante
MK Asante in Philadelphia (black & white).jpg
MK Asante in Philadelphia, 2013
Born Harare, Zimbabwe
Occupation Writer, filmmaker, professor, musician
Nationality African-American
Alma mater UCLA
University of London, SOAS
Lafayette College
Genre Memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, hip-hop, African-American literature, documentary
Notable works It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, Buck: A Memoir

MK Asante is an American author, filmmaker, musician, and professor. He has been described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance."[1] He was described by CNN as "a master storyteller and major creative force."[2]Essence Magazine wrote "Asante is the voice of a new generation."[3] He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions including the Langston Hughes Award from the Langston Hughes Society and the Key to the City of Dallas, TX.



Asante is the author of four books. His most recent book, Buck, is a critically acclaimed memoir about his youth in Philadelphia. Buck was selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Poet Maya Angelou described Buck as:

"A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style."

His other books are the poetry collections, Beautiful. And Ugly Too and Like Water Running Off My Back and the critically acclaimed creative nonfiction book It's Bigger Than Hip Hop.

Book cover for Buck by MK Asante


Asante is a Sundance Feature Film Fellow for the movie adaptation of his memoir Buck. Asante wrote and produced 500 Years Later, winner of numerous international film festival prizes as well as the Breaking the Chains Award from the United Nations' UNESCO. Asante directed and produced The Black Candle, a Starz TV film narrated by Maya Angelou, winner of Best Documentary at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival. Asante produced Motherland, winner of Best Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival and Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Lectures, media, essays and music[edit]

Asante has lectured in more than 25 countries at hundreds of colleges, universities, libraries, film festivals, conferences, and literary festivals.

Asante has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs including the CBS Early Show, CNN, Tom Joyner Morning Show, NPR, and NBC News.

Asante has written essays on art, Hip Hop, technology, and culture for USA Today, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times.

Asante made his debut as a rapper on "Godz N The Hood," a song featuring Bishop Lamont, Ras Kass, and Talib Kweli.

MK Asante giving SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture in 2013

Education and professorship[edit]

Asante is a graduate of The Crefeld School.[4] He studied film and literature at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, earned a BA in Africana Studies and English from Lafayette College, and an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from UCLA School of Theater Film and Television.

At 23, he joined the faculty of Morgan State University. He received tenure shortly after and is currently Associate Professor of creative writing and film in the Department of English and Language Arts.[5]

Awards & honors[edit]

  • 2014 In the Margins Book Award (Buck: A Memoir)
  • 2014 Outstanding Literary Work - Autobiography finalist (Buck: A Memoir) - NAACP Image Awards
  • 2014 Feature Film Program Fellow – Sundance Institute
  • 2014 TheGrio 100 List - MSNBC The Grio
  • 2013 Best Book of 2013 (Buck: A Memoir) – Baltimore Magazine
  • 2013 Discover Great New Writers (Buck: A Memoir) - Barnes & Noble
  • 2012 Outstanding Young Writer – Middle Atlantic Writers Association
  • 2012 Best Director (The Black Candle) – Arkansas Black Film Festival
  • 2011 Best Documentary (Motherland) – Zanzibar International Film Festival
  • 2010 board of director's Best Documentary (Motherland) – Pan African Film Festival
  • 2009 The Key to the City of Dallas, TX
  • 2009 Langston Hughes Award from the Langston Hughes Society
  • 2008 Best Documentary (The Black Candle) – Africa World Documentary Film Festival
  • 2007 Breaking the Chains Award (500 Years Later) – United Nations' UNESCO
  • 2006 Best Documentary (500 Years Later) – Bridgetown Film Festival
  • 2006 Best Int'l Documentary (500 Years Later) – Harlem Int'l Film Festival
  • 2005 Best Documentary (500 Years Later) – Pan African Film Festival
  • 2002 Jean Corrie Poetry Prize – Academy of American Poets



  • Buck: A Memoir (2013)
  • It's Bigger Than Hip Hop (2008)
  • Beautiful. And Ugly Too (2005)
  • Like Water Running Off My Back (2002)



Selected Articles[edit]

  • "Music is Powerful Enough" - New York Times (2014)
  • "Never Forget" - New York Times (2013)
  • "Don't Believe the Hype" - New York Times (2012)


  • "If you make an observation, you have an obligation."[6]
  • "I write-down to speak-up."


External links[edit]