M. K. Asante

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M. K. Asante
MK Asante in 2019
MK Asante in 2019
BornHarare, Zimbabwe
OccupationWriter, filmmaker, professor, recording artist, CEO
Alma materUCLA
University of London, SOAS
Lafayette College
GenreMemoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, hip-hop, African-American literature, documentary
Notable worksIt's Bigger Than Hip Hop, Buck: A Memoir

M. K. Asante (born c. 1982) is an American author, filmmaker, recording artist, and professor. He is best known for his best-selling memoir Buck.[1][2]


Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, and raised in Philadelphia, he is the son of scholar Molefi Kete Asante and choreographer Kariamu Welsh. Growing up he struggled with the incarceration of his brother and the city's urban decay.[1] After being expelled from multiple schools, he discovered his talent for writing at 16 and decided to pursue it as a career.[2]


Cover of Buck: A Memoir (Random House) by MK Asante

Asante is the author of four books, most notably Buck, a memoir about his troubled yet profound youth in Philadelphia. Buck was selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and made the Washington Post bestseller list in 2014 and 2015.[3][4] Poet Maya Angelou, who mentored Asante, 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 creative nonfiction book It's Bigger Than Hip Hop.


Asante is a Sundance Institute Feature Film Fellow for the movie adaptation of his memoir Buck. Asante wrote and produced the documentary 500 Years Later, a documentary about slavery which received the Breaking the Chains Award from the United Nations' UNESCO. Asante directed and produced The Black Candle, a documentary about Kwanzaa, co-written and narrated by Maya Angelou.

Lectures and essays[edit]

Asante has delivered numerous distinguished lectures, including the Yale University Master's Tea; Vanderbilt University Walter R. Murray Jr. Lecture; Southern Methodist University Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture; and commencement addresses at UCLA, University of Wisconsin, Arizona State University, Vassar, and Harvard University.

Asante has lectured and performed in over 25 countries including at SWU Music & Arts in Brazil; on Robben Island in South Africa; and at the British Library in England.[relevant? ] He is featured in ′Changing America: 1968 and Beyond′, a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Asante has written essays on art, Hip Hop, technology, and culture for USA Today,[5] Huffington Post,[6] San Francisco Chronicle,[7] and the New York Times.[8]


Asante's debut music project, the Buck: Original Book Soundtrack, was released on May 14, 2015. The Soundtrack features hip-hop music by Asante and is inspired by his memoir Buck. Okayplayer wrote:

Delivering realism as vivid as Nas' work on the seminal Illmatic LP, MK Asante has managed to churn out one of the most moving and visually brilliant rap projects to land in quite some time.

Rapper Talib Kweli called Asante "an incredible MC" and released the Buck Soundtrack on his Javotti Media record label.

Asante is featured on the song "Bangers", along with Halo, from the critically acclaimed album Indie 500 by Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder. Pitchfork called "Bangers" a "can't miss moment" on the album and wrote, "MK Asante captures the vibe nicely." [9]

Asante is the founder of Wonderful Sound Studios.

Education and professorship[edit]

Asante is a graduate of The Crefeld School.[10] 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 at 26 and is currently Associate Professor of creative writing and film in the Department of English and Language Arts.[11] In 2017, he was appointed to Distinguished Professor-in-Residence at the MICA (Institute of Strategic Marketing and Communication) in India.

Awards and honors[edit]






  • 2016: "Runnin" – Ace Clark ft. MK Asante (Produced by Scarecrow Beats)
  • 2015: "Bangers" – MK Asante and Halo (Produced by Nottz) * Indie 500 by Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder
  • 2015: "Rap Psalms" – MK Asante ft. Narcy (Produced by Thanks Joey)
  • 2013: "Godz N The Hood" – Ras Kass ft. Bishop Lamont, MK Asante and Talib Kweli (produced by Chris Noxx) (2013)



  • "Update Our Culture, Not Just Copyright Laws" by MK Asante – New York Times (2015) [1]
  • "Music is Powerful Enough" by MK Asante – New York Times (2014) [2]
  • "Never Forget" by MK Asante – New York Times (2013) [3]
  • "Don't Believe the Hype" by MK Asante – New York Times (2012) [4]


  1. ^ a b McCauley, Mary Carole. "Morgan State professor's memoir, Buck makes big splash". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Master storyteller M.K. Asante keeps it real in the classroom. CNN.com. Retrieved on June 23, 2017.
  3. ^ "Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers 2013". bn.com. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  4. ^ "The Washington Post Bestseller List". washingtonpost.com. October 24, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  5. ^ USATODAY.com – Enough disrespect: Return rap to its artistic roots. Usatoday30.usatoday.com (October 25, 2004). Retrieved on 2017-06-23.
  6. ^ Celebrating Kwanzaa With Maya Angelou (VIDEO) | HuffPost. Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved on June 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Asante, MK. "We are the post hip-hop generation". SFGate.
  8. ^ Asante, MK. "'Accidental Racist' and Lyrical Provocation". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Talib Kweli / 9th Wonder: Indie 500 | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  10. ^ Filmmaker from Hill thrills Crefeld School kids, ChestnutHillLocal.com, December 15, 2005.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]