April. 11, 2007 – Four acclaimed Black male writers will be featured in the panel discussion and presentation, “Contemporary Creative Voices: Black Male Writers Discuss Masculinity and Hip Hop” on Friday, April 13th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Distinctive African American Art and Premier Gallery, 357 S. 200 East in Salt Lake City. A closing reception featuring Senegalese artist Djibril N’Doye and his “I Am Because We Are” exhibit will follow the discussion. Wilfred D. Samuels, Director of African Studies at he University of Utah, said, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our community and students to see the powerful art of Senegalese artist Djibril N”Doye, meet four contemporary African American writers, and participate in a timely discussion on hip hop culture.”
The work of the four authors, Michael Datcher, Melvin Donalson, Fred Smith, and Jervey Tervalon, represent cutting edge commentary on issues of race, gender, media, politics, and multiculturalism in present-day America. Their varied backgrounds include work as writer, artist, poet, playwright, and journalist, examining the rich contributions, as well as critical issues facing today”s Black Americans.
Michael Datcher is the author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times Bestseller RAISING FENCES — a TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB Book of the Month pick. The film rights were optioned by actor Will Smith’s Overbrook Productions, who hired Datcher to write the screenplay. He is co-editor of TOUGH LOVE: The Life and Death of Tupac Shakur. Datcher”s latest play SILENCE was commissioned by and premiered at the Getty Museum. He has appeared on both news programs’ Nightline and Dateline as an analyst and is a frequent commentator on BBC Radio. He is co-host of the weekly public affairs news magazine BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE on 90.7 FM KPFK. Datcher”s writing has appeared in the Washington Post, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, The Source, Ladies Home Journal, Vibe among many other publications. He has curated and/or presented his work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hammer Museum and other art institutions. Datcher is the former Director of Literary Programs at the World Stage Writer’s Workshop in Leimert Park. He is co-editor of the new national journal of literary nonfiction THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FACT. Datcher is a professor of English at Loyola Marymount University
Melvin Donalson received his B.A. from Bates College, M.A. from the University of Iowa, and Ph.D. from Brown University. An Associate Professor in the English Department at California State University-Los Angeles, he is a published poet, fiction writer, novelist, and essayist. His work has appeared in various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Upscale, the African American Review, Obsidian, The Independent Film and Video Monthly, The Pasadena Weekly, and Chicken Soup for the African American Soul. He edited the text, CORNERSTONES: AN ANTHOLOGY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE (1996), and his critical book, BLACK DIRECTORS IN HOLLYWOOD (2003), explores filmmakers in commercial cinema. His book, MASCULINITY IN THE INTERRACIAL BUDDY FILM (2006), investigates the intersection among cinema, race, and gender in depicting conventional notions of manhood. The forthcoming book, HIP HOP IN AMERICAN CINEMA (March, 2007), assesses the manner in which cinema served as a primary medium for mainstreaming Hip Hop culture. His original poetry appears in the collection, DANCING ON QUICKSAND (2006), and his book, SEEKERS AND SAINTS (2007), is a collection of fifteen short stories. For more information please visit: www.melvindonalson.com .
Fred Smith was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, leaving the city to attend the Missouri School of Journalism for his undergraduate degree. From there, he worked as a TV news reporter and news reader for a year in Columbia, Missouri. He went on to study at Loyola University in Chicago, earning his degree in Education. Moving to the west coast, he worked at the University of San Francisco as a Hall Director and Multicultural Program Coordinator. The current Director of the Cross Cultural Centers at California State University-Los Angeles, his first novel, DOWN FOR WHATEVER, was published by Kensington Publishing Company (KPC) in July 2005. His second novel, RIGHT SIDE OF THE WRONG BED, is scheduled for release by KPC in the fall 2007. He can be reached at www.fredericksmith.net.
Born in New Orleans and raised in Los Angeles, Mr. Tervalon is the author of five books including UNDERSTANDING THIS for which he won the Quality Paper Book Club’s New Voice’s Award. He was the Remsen Bird Writer in Residence at Occidental college. His current novel is LITA and his current project, THE COCAINE CHRONICLES was published in April, 2005. He teaches writing at USC and Race and Media at UCLA
Contemporary Creative Voices: Black Male Writers Discuss Masculinity and Hip Hop” is co-sponsored by the University of Utah Office of the Associate Vice President for Diversity, Ethnic Studies Program, College of Humanities, Utah Humanities Council, Paul Gotay, Esquire, and Gordon Dew.