African American Studies Grad Directs Award-Winning Documentary

A film directed by alumnus Niyi Coker, Jr.—the first student to earn a PhD in African American studies from Temple—received two awards from the International Film Festival, held this year in London. The film, Ota Benga, won Best Scientific and Educational Documentary and Coker won Best Director of a Short Documentary. Coker, the Desmond Lee Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, took some time away from his new project to tell me how he uses his African American studies doctorate to enhance his understanding of theater and film.

“I miss the department of African American studies, and the culture of constant intellectual rejuvenation Dr. Asante has cultivated at Temple. I have never visited and departed “empty minded.” I always leave refreshed with a pool of ideas for new and better projects.”

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