Foster Care and Adoption
While there are countless families having a positive impact on the lives of children, Antwone Fisher is very familiar with the challenges of the foster care and adoption system. From of children aging out of the foster care system to the aftermath of abuse, to parenthood and teens, Antwone addresses these issues with sensitivity, honesty and inspiration.
How To Tie a Tie: and Other Lessons For Succeeding in Life
It wasn’t until Antwone was a navy recruit that he realized this smartly dressed man had never taken the time to teach him how to be well-groomed to reflect on the outside the man he was becoming on the inside. "A boy ought to know how to tie a tie," he thought angrily, as he struggled to master the navy’s required half-Windsor knot. Filled with inspiring stories, wisdom, and practical know-how, Antwone’s presentation to young people (both male and female) helps them to develop a sense of purpose and worth, and lay a foundation for success.
The Antwone Fisher Story
The world first learned of Antwone Fisher’s story of perseverance, determination, and courage film Antwone Fisher, starring Denzel Washington, and the publication of Finding Fish, his memoir of a childhood spent in foster homes. It also learned that within him beat the heart of an artist -- a major factor in his resilience and recovery. In his riveting and inspiring presentation (complete with lots of Q&A), Antwone shares how he learned to rise above his situation, how he found a family he never knew existed, and later how he went on to build a loving family of his own.
Throughout his life, Antwone has used the arts as a form of self expression to get him through his toughest times. He found his voice as an artist, and he talks about how all forms of art, from painting and drawing to dance, music, museums and other forms of culture are so vital to the growth of human character and well being.
Antwone Fisher is an award-winning film and literary writer. Born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother, Antwone became a ward of the state and was placed in foster care. He spent two years in a loving foster home, but was subsequently moved and suffered twelve years of abuse at the hands of his new foster family.
Unable to locate a new placement for him, at age 14, Antwone was sent to a reform school in western Pennsylvania where he remained until he graduated high school at 17. Emancipated from foster care, he found himself in the world alone and homeless, living on the streets of Cleveland.
Antwone set on a course of healing when he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served his country for eleven years. After his honorable discharge from the military, Antwone became a Federal Correctional Officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and, after three years of service, he took a job at Sony Pictures Entertainment working as a Security Officer. It was at Sony Pictures that Antwone was referred to a free screenwriting course.
Antwone has worked in Hollywood for 20 years as a writer and producer, with an impressive fourteen writing projects or assignments with the major studios. Among those projects is the feature classic, Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, written by Antwone and based on his own life. The film garnered numerous nominations and awards. Antwone received the renowned Humanitas Prize, the Screenwriter of the Year Award from the National Association of Theater Owners, and was listed in Variety's "Fifty People to Watch." Antwone was also named among Fade In Magazine's "100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know" in 2005. On May 10, 2003 Antwone received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Cleveland State University. On April 23, 2013 Antwone testified before the Senate Finance committee. The hearing was entitled: The Antwone Fisher Story as a Case Study for Child Welfare.
Antwone’s first book, Finding Fish: A Memoir, about his inspiring story, became a New York Times best seller. His collection of poetry, Who Will Cry For The Little Boy?, a national best seller, creatively disclosed the road from his tumultuous childhood to the man he is today. Antwone’s poetry is featured in Nikki Giovanni's book for children, Hip Hop Speaks to Children. His third book, A Boy Should Know How To Tie A Tie And Other Lessons For Succeeding In Life, won the award for Outstanding Literary Work - Instructional from the 2011 NAACP Awards and is in its third printing.
Antwone continues as a prolific writer with his stage project, Antwone Fisher: A Play. His most recent screenwriting project is Training Day 2. Antwone made his film directing debut with the award-winning short film, My Summer Friend, and produced, wrote, and directed the 2013 documentary, This Life of Mine. Antwone teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, the country's largest continuing education writing program.
About how far he has come, Antwone states, "I think back on a childhood full of longing for belonging, and see my life now as what I have created out of my dreams. An image comes to mind of Mrs. Brown at the orphanage in Cleveland, me sitting at her side, telling her, ‘You'll read about me someday.’ I was definitely dreaming then. With no evidence of that ever being possible, I clung to that preposterous vision and with the force of those dreams willed it and made it happen. Not because I needed to be famous, but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong, so I imagined myself free, I imagined myself loved, I imagined myself... as somebody."