By Siobhan Stewart and Ashli Ferguson Howard University News Service
Describing Howard University as a place that defined his consciousness, successful Hollywood producer Charles King paid tribute to the institution on the 152nd anniversary of its founding.
King was the guest speaker at the school’s convocation held at its campus in Washington D.C.
“I knew of Howard as a warm and safe refuge that enveloped you with love but also pushed you to be better, demand more, expect more from yourself and others around you.”
Students, faculty, distinguished guests and more filled Cramton auditorium on Friday to listen to the alumni of the Howard University Law School. King has produced popular films such has Mudbound, Fences and Sorry to Bother You. He is also the founder and CEO of Macro, “a leading authoritative media brand representing the voice and perspective of persons of color.”
King attended Howard Law with an interest in not only entertainment but also civil rights. When he was 19 years old, he and a friend were harassed by a police officer.
“That incident opened my eyes to the tremendous flaws in our legal system and the lack of adequate representation for so many in our communities.” he said. King worked on commercials and print ads to pay for the legal fees regarding the mentioned incident.
While at Howard Law, King dedicated his time intertwining entertainment and civil rights, hoping to show black people in a positive light in the media.
“When I graduated, I journeyed to Hollywood. Without a car, without a job, without a computer.”
Six weeks later, he got a job in the mailroom of William Morris. Two and a half years later, King became the first African American to go from the mailroom to a film and television agent in the company’s history.
King went on to give opportunities to give hundreds of artists. Moving on from the agency world, King created Macro which in four years has earned nine academy awards.
“Remember your true greatness and know that you are a seed… always listen to your heart. Follow your dreams. Have faith, be authentic, work with purpose. Never give up and then be ready to fulfill your greatness that has been planted at you here at Howard.”
Before his speech, President of Howard Wayne Frederick presented King with an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
King said he was grateful he shared the honor with individuals such as President Barack Obama, actress Cicely Tyson, businessman John H. Johnson, and U.S. Senator John Lewis. and
“I’m honored to have my name in one of these and so many more. It’s with the unspeakable joy that I come back to Howard University this week,” he said.