BSA President Leaves Harvard To Star in Movie

Ashong to Act in Spielberg Production

Harvard students have been known to go to Hollywood from time to time.

But this weekend, Derrick N. Ashong '97 made it a little bit faster than most.

Ashong, the Black Student Association (BSA) President, resigned from his post over e-mail in order to take part in acclaimed director Stephen Spielberg's next feature film.

Ashong will have a leading role in Spielberg's film, Amistad, which focuses on a slave mutiny during antebellum times.

In the meantime, the BSA presidency will be filled by the current vice-president, Luanda M. Williams '99.

"[Derrick] did an excellent job addressing the issues facing the black community, and he gave his full effort in addressing them," Williams said.

Kishka-Kamari M. Ford '97 said that Ashong's absence has also been felt in his residence, Currier House.

"The house is walking around with long faces on," she said.

Ashong made the leap from theatre to Tinseltown after only three undergraduate productions, according to Naeemah A. White '97.

White was supposed to direct Ashong's senior thesis, a play based loosely on his early life growing up in Ghana, for Arts First Weekend this spring.

The play focuses upon differences in the conception of race between the United States and Africa.

White said she was not surprised that Ashong received the role.

"Although he had done only a few undergraduate productions, he was very good in them," she said.

Ashong's big break came over winter recess when he auditioned for the part in New York City. He received a callback, and this past Friday, got the news that he had the role.

Ashong left Boston yesterday and will be filming in Los Angeles for the next three weeks.