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Nelson George          

Author / Filmmaker

As a journalist, filmmaker, and novelist, Nelson George has been chronicling the culture, history, and aspirations of black Americans for over 20 years. He has been nominated twice for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The author of numerous books, both fiction and non-fiction, George’s work is centered around the African-American experience. Among his novels are the Blackboard bestsellers, Urban Romance and One Woman Short. Other novels include Seduced, Show & Tell, Night Work, and his first mystery, The Accidental Hunter. His non-fiction career began with The Michael Jackson Story in 1984 and has continued with a series of award-winning titles: Where Did Our Love Go: The Rise & Fall of the Motown Sound, The Death of Rhythm & Blues, Blackface: African-Americans in the Movies, and Elevating the Game: Black Men and Basketball. George also won a Grammy for his contribution to the liner notes for the James Brown boxed set, Star Time.

His most popular book, Hip-Hop America, a history of hip-hop culture, has been published in four languages and was re-issued in 2005 with a new chapter. He also co-authored rap mogul Russell Simmons' autobiography, Life and Def. George’s involvement with hip-hop continues as he is a consulting producer on VH-1's annual Hip-Hop Honors television broadcast.

George’s involvement with film dates back to 1986 when he invested in Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It. He went on to co-write the screenplays for Strictly Business with Halle Berry, and CB4 with Chris Rock. George also wrote the popular short film, To Be a Black Man, featuring Samuel L. Jackson. Additionally, he was consulting producer on HBO's Emmy Award-winning The Chris Rock Show for five seasons.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, George attended St. John's University, from which he graduated in 1979. He worked at the black oriented Amsterdam News before joining the staff of Record World magazine. In 1982, he began a seven year association with Billboard magazine as black music editor. George was published regularly in the Village Voice throughout the 1980s, and in the early '90s wrote a column titled “Native Son for the Voice.”

George recently wrote and directed the HBO movie Life Support, starring Queen Latifah who was nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Actress in a TV Film or Mini Series.

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Black Popular Culture


Nelson George film series opens at NJPAC tonight |
Nelson George is probably best known for his graceful and penetrating writing on African-American music and film. In the late '80s and early '90s, his "Native ...

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