Morgan U. alum, David E. Talbert, award-winning filmmaker, to deliver the early spring keynote on May 21
By Special at AFRO
Acclaimed author and 1989 Morgan State University graduate David E. Talbert will be the keynote speaker at Morgan’s 145th Spring Kickoff Exercises to be held May 21, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
An accomplished and award-winning filmmaker, Talbert is set to deliver an inspirational message reflecting his profound ability to tell stories and capture the transformative spirit of African-American storytelling in front of hundreds of graduates and their guests gathered at Morgan’s Hughes Memorial Stadium.
“Leadership and Morgan are synonymous. And over the years, we have produced a number of accomplished leaders in various professions and disciplines around the world, but no one has been happier to see progress than David E. Talbert,” said President David K. Wilson. “We welcome David to his beloved alma mater and look forward to him inspiring the class of 2022, in an authentic and meaningful way that is sure to resonate with our graduates.”
Heralded as one of America’s most prolific theater makers, Talbert has written and produced 14 national tours, surpassed box office records, and captured the hearts of audiences around the world.
Talbert earned 24 NAACP nominations and won Best Playwright of the Year for The Fabric of a Man. He won the NAACP Trailblazer Award for his contributions and achievements in the theater field. He also received the New York Literary Award for Best Playwright of the Year for his musical Love in the Nick of Tyme. Bolstered by his various production credits, Talbert has cemented his place among the highest echelons of today’s entertainment visionaries.
“I am honored to share my journey with the next generation of innovators and influencers at my alma mater as the premier speaker for Morgan State University’s 2022 graduation,” Talbert said, in a statement released by the university. “Who knew all the good things that would happen once I finally paid off my student loans!”
Talbert made his feature film directorial debut in 2008 with the Sony Pictures comedy “First Sunday,” starring Ice Cube, Katt Williams and Tracy Morgan. This successful venture was followed by the hugely popular romantic comedy Baggage Claim, a Fox Searchlight production adapted and directed by Talbert’s bestselling novel of the same name.
In 2016, Talbert wrote and directed the holiday movie, Almost Christmas for Universal Pictures with an all-star cast including Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union and Oscar winner Mo’Nique. The film became the highest-grossing and most critically acclaimed theatrical release of Talbert’s career up to that point. All three of these feature films debuted as America’s top comedies upon release.
More recently, Talbert celebrated the pinnacle of an already successful film career with Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, the first Netflix original live-action musical that Talbert wrote, directed and produced. This 20-year-old passion project and the brainchild of Talbert has delivered a completely original and inclusive cinematic vacation experience for every family that has been a significant hit among critics and audiences alike. Showing in more than 190 countries and translated into 32 languages, the groundbreaking film was nominated for 10 NAACP Image Awards and shortlisted by the Academy for the Oscars.
After Jingle Jangle and its growing global audience, Talbert signed a first multi-year deal with Netflix, launching Golden Alchemy Entertainment, a partnership with his wife and producing partner Lyn Sisson-Talbert. Through this agreement, the Talberts will write, direct and produce event films, and launch the careers of underrepresented filmmakers through their production projects. Talbert is currently writing to direct two feature films for Netflix, as well as the musical series Madelyn Square Garden for Disney+.
Grateful for doing the work he loves and understanding the many challenges facing the entertainment industry, Talbert recently launched Lights Camera Access (LCA), a mentorship program designed to give underrepresented students in the entertainment industry access, insight and employment. Opportunities. He is also an active participant in the Motion Picture Academy Gold Mentorship Program.
David Wilson, David Talbert, and Congressman Kweisi Mfume all earned their bachelor’s degrees in marketing from Morgan State University and went on to attend New York University’s accelerated film program. A visible alumnus, Talbert remains connected to the Morgan community after serving as grand marshal of the Homecoming Parade during Morgan’s sesquicentennial and guest speaker with Morgan’s Screenwriting and Animation Program (SWAN) engaging aspiring writers and filmmakers. .
Morgan will host its Graduate School Spring Commencement on May 19 and its undergraduate Spring Commencement on May 21. Both will take place outdoors at Hughes Memorial Stadium. For more information on Morgan’s Beginning Spring Exercises, visit the official Beginning Online site.
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