Award-winning actor, writer, director and producer, Nate Parker, will deliver the keynote address to nearly 600 graduating students at Norfolk State University’s (NSU) Commencement Ceremony. The address will take place Saturday, May 6th at NSU’s campus.
With an acting career spanning 20 years, Parker has been featured in notable films including The Great Debaters, The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond The Lights, Felon, and Pride. Parker is the author of the book Birth of A Nation which tells the story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion. In 2016, he made his directorial debut with a film adaptation of the book which won a $17.5 million bid from Fox Searchlight.
Despite the high paying bid for Birth of A Nation, the film attracted increased scrutiny due to 1999 alleged rape allegations against Parker.
In 2019, Parker directed and starred in, American Skin, alongside Omari Hardwick and Beau Knapp. The film received mixed reviews due to it’s provocative message of systemic injustice.
Since the release of his last film, Parker has kept a low profile. However, he is working on a new film,Solitary which features David Oyelowo (Selma) and Olivia Washington (The Butler).
In addition to his work as an actor, he is also a devoted activist. He recently launched the Nate Parker Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to confront disparities within the Black communities in the areas of education, cultural enrichment and social and economic justice. The foundation includes film programs and workshops to help develop young talent in the film industry. He noted, “It is our goal to create a cultural shift by helping young artists bring their stories to life.”
Parker holds a degree in Computer Programming from the University of Oklahoma and an honorary Doctorate from Wiley College.