“They examine me intensely, looking for damage. The Damage you’re looking for has always been there… What you are seeing now is Survival…”
BUCK is a memoir about a teenage African American male that overcomes all odds to become one of the most influential leaders of our generation. BUCK is a true story, a memoir, based off of MK Asante’s personal journey through manhood while living in America.
MK Asante is now a award-winning film maker, poet, author, hip hop MC, husband, and loving father. But things weren’t always so positive for young king, as a youth, he went by the name Malo. He went from picnics with his mother, father, and brother, in a nice two family home, to have his whole world ripped apart. His brother got locked up, and was in solitary confinement hundreds of miles away. His mother had a mental break down and was admitted to a mental help institution. His father ended up leaving his family temporarily. Young Malo was left to survive in Philadelphia all on his own.
BUCK is a testimony of Black boys coming of age in America, coping with a white supremacist system that profits off of your Black pain. On May 25th George Floyd was assassinated and to this day the country has not rallying for justice ever since. George Floyd’s assassination is a tragedy that has scarred our hearts and consciousness. It has reminded us that many so called Americans still believe in their cold souls that Black/African lives don’t matter. BUCK shows us that we’re not alone experiencing this kind of pain. When you read BUCK you realize that racism isn’t just sporadic happening of individual incidents, it’s systematic white supremacy popping up everywhere in our lives.
Reading BUCK is taking yourself on a journey through the eyes of a young black man. Malo, experiences the pain of losing a loved one to police brutality. He witnesses community violence when gun shots reign out at night, finding out the next morning that his best friend Amir life was taken from those same bullets. Malo overcomes all of this and he rises like a phoenix.
BUCK speaks for Our Generation, what Asante calls the Post-Hip Hop Generation. I can relate and feel the hopelessness of Malo, young version of MK Asante, when he witnesses his brother Uzi being sentenced to years in jail.
I saw my own mother taken away in handcuffs when I was a little girl about 8 or 9 getting ready for school. I still can envision the police taking my mother away in handcuff while her four children cried tears and screamed in anguish. There was nothing we could do to stop oppression from coming through our doors and rocking the very foundation of my life, my mother. When I became a teenager, and I visited my mother on Riker’s Island or another correctional facility in upstate New York, I had the same thought process as Malo; who said “I wish I was a Black Panther right now.”
On Aug. 7, 1970, Johnathan Jackson, 17 year old Black Panther walked into the Marin County Courthouse with a bag that contained several pistols and wearing coat that concealed a carbine. Jackson and his comrades was quoted saying: “We want the Soledad brothers freed by 12:30.” Jackson, the other Black Panthers, and the hostages were all murdered. You see, I too wanted my mother freed at 12:30, but as 15 year old African in America, I had no idea what the road to freedom looked like.
I appreciate the creative genius of integrating Hip Hop lyrics into Buck’s memoir. When you look up the songs displayed in the book and read the lyrics, it just resonates on a higher level. Malo’s love for hip hop is something myself, my peers, and the youth relate too.
I remember how I felt the first time actually listened to 2pac lyrics. When I was about 14 I heard 2pac’s “Dear Mama” blasting on the radio.
“And who’d think in elementary/ I’d see the penitentiary one day… It was Hell hugging on my Momma from a Jail Cell!”
Like 2pac, and like Malo, I understood the pain and anguish that comes with a loved one being incacerated. Being told you can’t hug, or kiss your loved ones. Being treated like a criminal when your going to support people you love sucks. And Similar to Malo, I used Hip Hop to keep my mind sane.
BUCK not only tells it “like it is”, but shows you positive possibilities of what Life can be. 14 year old Malo went from hustling drugs on the streets of Philly to becoming a legit entrepreneur by investing and selling vending machines at his High School.
BUCK is not your typical rags to riches story. BUCK is raw, crazy, inspiring and educational journey into the life of a young Black man in America. Malo witnessed the raw devilish destruction of the drug game, when his hustling friend was willing to sell drugs to his own grandmother. Malo experiences the depths of war, destruction, love, learning, and pain.
BUCK will help one understand the experience of the Hip Hop Generation living in inner cities. This phenomenal piece, was endorsed by the late and great, Maya Angelou.
“In an environment where race, religion, creed, and financial status have painful power, this book, Buck by MK Asante, was inevitable… I commend MK Asante. Buck is a story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.”
BUCK has a poetic rhythm that reminds me of the classic work of Richard Wright’s Native Son.
MK Asante is a phenomenal writer that continues to live by his mantra of transforming an observation into a obligation, and by poetically telling a true story of the struggles of being young and Black in the inner cities. MK Asante didn’t become a statistic, he overcame hardships and is now an award winning writer, film maker, hip hop artist, proud father, and tenured-Professor at Morgan State University.
You can purchase your copy of BUCK from MK’s website or purchase it here from Amazon. Did I mention that their was a BUCK soundtrack with hip hop legends featured like Talib Kwali? Audio format and eBooks for my listeners also available. Treat your mind and spirit to a powerful, entertaining, story about overcoming diversity. As Maya Angelou once said
“Yes, MK Asante, please continue to live, to accept your liberation, to accept how valuable you are to your country and admit that you are very necessary to us all.”
Listen to all the Songs from
MK Asante’s BUCK on Spotify:
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YES, it's official. We're making a movie. My production company has secured full funding to adapt my memoir "Buck" into a major motion picture. This epic deal includes development, production, and the release of the feature length film. I'm thrilled to be able to make the movie I dreamed about making—and to do it on my terms! This is beyond major. I will be leading the business and creative direction of the project alongside some of the world’s most talented film professionals. Developed in part by the Sundance Institute. A huge thank you to all of the people—there are so many of you!—who have helped me get to this point! More at mkasante.com Much LOVE! ❤️
“WHILE BLACK” ON SNAPCHAT:
Written by Shantel Nubia
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