Steve McQueen, the Academy Award–nominated director of the acclaimed film "12 Years a Slave," will be the keynote speaker at the launch of the UCLA Anderson School of Management's new speaker series, "Entertainment That Matters," on Friday, Feb. 28.
The event, which takes place from 10 to 11 a.m. at UCLA's James Bridges Theater, will feature McQueen in conversation with Darnell Hunt, director of UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, followed by a discussion with education influencers.
"The critical and commercial success of McQueen's Oscar-nominated movie '12 Years a Slave' clearly demonstrates the power of storytelling to educate a new generation about an important period in America that is currently omitted from most school curricula," said Sanjay Sood, a UCLA Anderson professor of marketing and faculty director of MEMES.
The film is based on Solomon Northup's autobiographical account, published in 1853, of his ordeal as a free man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana in 1841. McQueen has been working to make the book required reading in U.S. high schools, and his efforts recently received a boost from the National School Boards Association, which plans to distribute copies of the film, the memoir and a study guide to public high schools across the country.
The event is presented in partnership with ICON MANN, a sports and entertainment brand-management company that celebrates the contributions of black men in entertainment and media. ICON MANN recently named McQueen one of its "Men of Change" for 2014.