He is one of America's best-known intellectuals. But on issues of race and politics some of what he has said in the past has stirred intense debate and controversy.
|Cornel West joined the civil rights|
movement at a young age [Getty]
Dr Cornel West joined the civil rights movement at a young age, graduated with honors from Harvard after only three years and went on to publish Race Matters - a book that changed the course of America's dialogue on race.
In all he has published 17 books, edited 13 and released three albums.
He also had a hand in developing the storyline for the popular Matrix motion picture trilogy.
Today Dr West is professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University.
Although he has enthusiastically endorsed US Senator Barack Obama for president he says that once Obama enters the White House "Dr. West will become critic in chief" of a President Obama.
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This episode of Riz Khan aired on Tuesday, April 15, 2008
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