“The world is a university.” This was one of many insightful quotes, author and filmmaker, MK Asante, shared with our Skyline College students and faculty last Tuesday, February 7, 2014. Fitted in his Sixers hat, jeans, and Timberlands, MK Asante mesmerized a full house with his own personal experiences through literature from his new memoir titled “Buck”. His ability to weave both academia and street knowledge really resonated with the audience making it a very meaningful experience for everyone.
MK Asante, who is also a tenured professor at Morgan State University, explained that his intent of sharing his life story was to empower others about the importance of reading and writing, learning about different cultures, and being open-minded. The event kicked off African-American History Month with tremendous energy, highlighting the shared triumphs and struggles that many of our students really related to.
MK Asante was one of the guest presenters sponsored by the Center for Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education and Research also known as the CIPHER. CIPHER aims to provide students with educational and career opportunities through the new CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community (which starts in Fall 2014), Urban Music Academy, and the Youth Entrepreneurship Program. In addition, CIPHER provides professional development and enrichment opportunities for faculty to learn about the various Hip Hop pedagogies utilized in classrooms and programs.
MK Asante further validated the importance of meeting students where they’re at and recognizing that students come to us with a breadth of knowledge and personal experiences that defines them. He states that, “The more we know about our students, the more they will believe that they can succeed.” That day, he connected.
The event concluded with a book signing of his memoir, “Buck”, as Maya Angelou described as “a story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.” His books are still available for sale at the Skyline College Bookstore.
If you’re interested in the work of CIPHER, please email Nate Nevado at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Nate Nevado. Photos by Raul Guerra.