"Well, you know ... cats have better representation in the comics than Black people."
-- Keith Knight
Comic artist and rapper, Keith Knight is the creator of the "K Chronicles" and "(th)ink" and heads up a hip hop/garage band. Knight talks to Spark about what it takes to be a cartoonist and how it relates to his music career.
Born in the greater Boston area and educated at Salem State College, Keith now lives and works in San Francisco, where he develops his cartoons and performs with his band The Marginal Prophets. His weekly K Chronicles comic strip, which ran in the "San Francisco Examiner" for five years, is often an irreverent combination of politics, race, family and humor. He highlights the "aha!" moments and the "huh?" questions we share as humans struggling to make sense and meaning of our complex, contemporary urban society.
Since Knight crafts his comics from his own life and experience, they regularly address issues related to his experience and observation of racism. As an African-American cartoonist, Knight raises issues of race with the same poignant combination of witty insinuations and gravity he uses to handle sensitive political topics and personal epiphanies, balancing the obligations of humor and insight without compromising the veracity of the content.
Knight has received praise from cartoonist Garry Trudeau "Doonesbury," filmmaker Spike Lee and author Maya Angelou, among others. Knight's work has appeared in a number of magazines, including "MH-18," "Cracked," "Futures," "Fabula" and "Pulse!" He has published three books of the "K Chronicles" with Manic D Press, the most recent of which, "What a Long Strange Strip It's Been," came out in July 2003.
Keith Knight is committed to sharing his voice, not just through his images, but also as a speaker through Speakout: The Institute for Democratic Education and Culture, offering his experience and perspective to schools and other community venues to inspire colleagues and young people alike.
Also on KQED.org this week ...
KQED Celebrates Black History Month
KQED proudly celebrates the diversity of our community by commemorating Black History Month. During February, KQED Public TV 9 and KQED 88.5 FM schedule programs that focus on African American themes and issues.
"Boomtown" History of the San Francisco Bay Area
KQED's "Boomtown" series will seek to identify what is happening in real time in the current boom, and also draw out the causes and possible solutions to the conflicts and pressures between the old and the new.