The Tale of Asante: The Voice at the Forefront
Windhoek ‑ Bestselling author, award-winning filmmaker, professor and hip-hop rhymer, that is how best one can describe MK Asante.
According to CNN, he is “a master storyteller and major creative force”.
“I started writing when I was 17. School is something that I was never fond of. I attended an alternative school after having been “kicked out” from school. When I got there, the teacher gave me a blank page and told me to write anything, that’s the moment that changed my life to date,” says Asante.
Asante was born in Zimbabwe, Harare, and studied at the University of London, earned a BA from Lafayette College and an MFA from the UCLA School of Film and Television.
TST: What do you write about?
MK: It depends on what I want to share that moment; I’m like a journalist (laughs). I write fixtures, poetry, documentaries. My writing is real, motivational as well as inspiring. It’s not sugar coated.
TST: How many books have you written thus far?
MK: Four books titled: “The Black Candle”, “It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop”, “500 Years Later” and “Buck”, which will be out by August 20 (this year). “Buck” is about my life in Philadelphia and it’s my favourite book so far because it’s all about me. Basically, I am just getting started.
Los Angeles Times says, “MK has demolished the traditional memoir and rebuilt it with beats, unforgettable lyricism on each page and an honest and powerful tale. ‘Buck’ is incredibly simple, yet masterfully complex. Asante is a voice at the forefront of American literature.”
TST: Which films have you produced?
MK: I directed “The Black Candle”, a stars TV movie I co-wrote with Maya Angelou. I also wrote and produced the film “500 Years Later”, winner of five international film festival awards and produced the multi-award-winning film “Motherland”.
TST: What’s your motto in life?
MK: If you make an observation, you have an obligation. It inspires me because if I observe something, I put it into my songs, movies and poetry.
TST: How many countries have you visited, what’s the experience like and what do you take with back home?
MK: I have toured over 30 countries, including 14 African countries. Every experience is different and what I take with is that as human beings we are all the same as we all want the same thing out of life. We all want equality at the end of the day.
TST: Are you into politics?
MK: Not really in the way people see politics as (government, political parties). I am interested in a different type of politics and that is change.
TST: Other than writing, what do you keep yourself busy with?
MK: I am a normal kind of guy; pretty relaxed. I play basketball, like to chill and party, have fun with friends and make music. But when it comes to work, I mean business.
TST: What’s your take on racism?
MK: You get ignorant people everywhere and racism is a serious issue, which needs to be addressed especially here in Namibia. People need to think about the equal distribution of land and other resources. It makes me angry that people think that it will go away if they don’t talk about it but in reality it won’t.
TST: What are you currently working on?
MK: I do so many things at once but the major things I am busy with at the moment are the “Buck” movie that I am busy with, it’s going to be a big studio movie. Also, I am working on the “Buck” soundtrack for the book which will be an audio book for people who don’t like reading.
TST: Where to from here?
MK: I will travel to Botswana then Swaziland then return home. When I get home, it’s going to be all about my book and the “Buck” movie.