In His Own Words

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Actor Nate Parker attends the 2016 ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood awards luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 25, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Nate Parker is an award-winning actor, writer, director and producer, who has played lead characters and held starring roles in at least 19 films, including Beyond The Lights, Red Tails, The Secret Life of Bees, Arbitrage, and Pride. He is best known for his starring role as Henry Lowe in the critically acclaimed film, The Great Debaters. Starring opposite Denzel Washington, Parker was handpicked to play the troubled yet brilliant character. Parker’s compelling portrayal earned him an NAACP Image Award nomination for best supporting actor and positioned him as one of Hollywood’s rising stars.


Most recently, Parker made history with the record-breaking sale of his film, The Birth of a Nation, for $17.5 million to Fox Searchlight Pictures at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Parker wrote, directed, and stars in the film, which tells the story of Nat Turner (played by Parker) who famously led the 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia. In his vision for the film, Nate expresses his deep desire to challenge the country to “heal from racial trauma through an honest confrontation with our past.” The Birth of a Nation won both of Sundance’s most sought-after honors: the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. The film will have its U.S. premiere in early October 2016.


In addition to being a prolific artist, Nate Parker is also a devoted activist. Parker says “If I am to be remembered by anyone, I would hope, those people speak my name as an individual who possessed a riotous disposition toward injustice, offering life and career as one of service to the marginalized, subjugated and oppressed peoples of the world.”


Parker recently launched the Nate Parker Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to confront systemic crises and disparities within the African and African American communities in the areas of education, cultural enrichment, and social and economic justice. He is an outspoken advocate for racial equality, dedicating much of his time to closing the opportunity gap for boys and young men of color.


Parker holds a degree in Computer Programming from the University of Oklahoma and an honorary Doctorate from Wiley College.

Click below to hear Nate in his own words

New Schools Venture Fund Lunch Plenary session with Nate Parker

Stanford Lecture | April 20, 2016