M.K. Asante

A teenager lost on the mean streets of “Killadelphia,” MK Asante sought refuge in the poetry of hip-hop giants — from Tupac, to Jay-Z, to Nas — and later, in the words of Kerouac, Whitman, and Orwell. His memoir BUCK is the unforgettable story of Asante’s rise from dealer and delinquent to writer, filmmaker, poet, and professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Books and Lesson Plans

  • Buck

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    A coming-of-age story about navigating the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family, Buck shares the story of a generation through one original and riveting voice. MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: his mother a dancer, his father a revered professor. But as a teenager, MK was alone on the streets of North Philadelphia, swept up in a world of drugs, sex, and violence. MK’s memoir is an unforgettable tale of how one precocious, confused kid educated himself through gangs, rap, mystic cults, ghetto philosophy, and, eventually, books. It is an inspiring tribute to the power of literature to heal and redeem us.

    Appropriate for grades 9 and up.

  • Beautiful. And Ugly Too

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    Beautiful. And Ugly Too reveals through its delicate rhythm, the plurality of being alive. The poems, sketched from influences and drawn from experiences around the world, are colorful portraits that reveal the spectrum of human conditions.

    Appropriate for grades 9 and up.

    Lesson plans for Beautiful. And Ugly Too are currently in development. 

  • It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation

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    It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop takes a bold look at the rise of a generation that sees beyond the smoke and mirrors of corporate-manufactured rap and is building a movement that will change not only the face of pop culture, but the world.

    MK Asante, a passionate young poet, professor, filmmaker, and activist who represents this new movement, uses hip hop as a springboard for a larger discussion about the urgent social and political issues affecting the hip-hop and post-hip-hop generations.

    Appropriate for grades 9 and up.

    Lesson plans for It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation are currently in development.

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