One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision."
West is a current professor at Union Theological Seminary but has also taught at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. He burst onto the national scene in 1993 with his bestselling book, Race Matters, a searing analysis of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, selling more than a half a million copies to date. In addition, West has published 18 other books, has edited 13 texts and has received more than 20 honorary degrees.
West earned two bachelor's degrees from Harvard in three years, magna cum laude. Martin Kilson, one of his professors there, describes West as "the most intellectually aggressive and highly cerebral student I have taught." After earning his PhD at Princeton, he became a professor of religion and director of the Afro-American Studies program there. West has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris.
In his book, Democracy Matters, West analyzes the arrested development of democracy both in America and in the crisis-ridden Middle East. In his latest book, Hope on a Tightrope, he offers courageous commentary on issues that affect the lives of all Americans. Themes include Race, Leadership, Faith, Family, Philosophy, and Love and Service.
He also has produced 3 albums his latest CD, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations is a collection of socially conscience music featuring collaborations with Prince, Outkast, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli and KRS-ONE. West also offers commentary weekly on The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI.
West was an influential force in developing the storyline for the popular Matrix movie trilogy and has served as its official spokesperson, as well as playing a recurring role in the final two films.