When Sony Pictures Studios hired Antwone Fisher as a security guard more than 10 years ago, what they really got was an author, a screenwriter, a poet, a sailor and a role model.
Today, Fisher comes to the Special Events Center as a guest speaker for USF’s weeklong celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.
“I think it’s just the perseverance in everything he stood for and his beliefs that represents Martin Luther King … ” said Brian Shulte, marketing director of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center.
Fisher’s story tells of his life as a foster child and overcoming physical abuse to later find a father figure and mentor in his psychiatrist while he was enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Finding Fish, Fisher’s novel and the film Antwone Fisher were based on his life story. Denzel Washington directed the movie in 2002.
While working at Sony Pictures Studios as a security guard, producer Todd Black learned of Fisher’s story and asked him to write a screenplay for the movie, though he had no experience in scriptwriting. While waiting for the movie to begin production, Fisher wrote a more detailed life story in his memoir “Finding Fish,” which was published in 2001 and became a New York Times Bestseller.
Shulte said USF’s Multicultural Activities organization desired Fisher’s presence because his story represents the celebration’s theme, which is “We’re still standing, we’re still here.”
“Multicultural Activities had its sights set on bringing Antwone Fisher to USF. This wasn’t like they couldn’t get someone else, they wanted him,” Shulte said.
Nicole West, coordinator of Multicultural Activities, contacted Fisher in November to invite him to USF, Shulte said, and by mid-December it was confirmed that he would come to Tampa. Shulte said the timing was perfect because they wanted him not only as a guest speaker but also as a participant in the MLK celebrations.
“I think Antwone Fisher embodies what Dr. King went through and stood for,” Shulte said.
Fisher is also the author of “Who Will Cry for the Little Boy?” a collection of his poetry telling of his growth from childhood to becoming a husband and father of two children.
Shulte said that he hopes for 1,000 people to be present since it is open to the public.
Fisher’s lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. in the SEC, and he will be present for a reception and to sign books at 5:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Marshall Center.