Kevin Powell Keynote Speaker @ Essence Fest

Weak –SWV
I met Kevin Powell standing up buying what passes as Chinese food in Barbados, about six or seven years ago.

I kept looking at him, looking at him and thinking, “I know this man, but couldn’t place him in my mind.”

When it dawned on me where I had seen his face, “The Real World” and in “Vibe” and when he did the “Vibe Five” for HBO, I took two steps closer and asked, “You’re Kevin Powell aren’t you?”

He looked surprised and a little pleased, and confirmed his identity. We talked for about ten or fifteen minutes standing up there, and somehow he agreed to come back to the cybercafe I was running at the time.

In the end, he came out with me to my brother’s gig in Holetown that night, and we spent the night talking and reasoning and laughing, him, my brother and myself. I thought he was undoubtedly one of the smartest, most eloquent, humble young men I had met in recent years.

I enjoyed our conversation, but alas, I haven’t seen him since and despite some infrequent email communication about five years ago, I haven’t spoken with him recently. However I have been reading and tracking as much as I can what he’s up to. I’ve bought the books he’s worked on, and let me tell you, this man can write. He’s one of the sharpest critics of hip hop and young urban American culture, and his writing snaps and pops.

I admire him greatly, and hope one day I get to catch up with the brother.

Those of you who are in the parts the Essence Fest is going down, by all means make an effort to go. If you do, tell him I said hello…. don’t know if he’ll remember me, but I’d still like to say hello.

——

KEVIN POWELL, one of the most dynamic, provocative, and brutally honest voices of his generation, will be doing a KEYNOTE SPEECH at the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL in New Orleans. His topic will be THE STATE OF BLACK MEN IN AMERICA. “It is an honor,” Powell says, “and I am just glad that I will have an opportunity to not only talk about some of the challenges facing Black males in America,
but to also put forth some practical, proactive solutions, solutions that come from some of the many challenges AND mistakes I have made in my own life.”

At least 5000 people attend the keynote addresses and panel discussions each day of the Essence Music Festival. Here are the details….

ESSENCE Empowerment Seminar Series featuring a KEYNOTE ADDRESS by Kevin Powell
on the topic THE STATE OF BLACK MEN IN AMERICA

Friday, July 1, 2005
at approximately 12:30PM
IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING an address by Bishop Noel Jones

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Blvd.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Hall C

Admission is FREE and seating is on a first come first serve basis

And at 4:30PM Kevin Powell will sell and sign copies of his best-selling book WHO’s GONNA TAKE THE WEIGHT? MANHOOD, RACE, AND POWER IN AMERICA

at Book Emporium
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Blvd.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Front entrance to Hall C

PLEASE NOTE that Kevin Powell will be the GUEST EDITOR for ESSENCE magazine’s annual men’s issue in November 2005

Upcoming Kevin Powell speeches and appearances

Saturday, July 9th…Redefining American Manhood. Presentation to teenage boys affiliated with Carolina Panthers’ football star Julius Pepper and his Empowerment Zone program Charlotte, North Carolina

Friday, July 15th…State of The Black Family Keynote Address at Indiana Black Expo Indianapolis, Indiana

Sunday, July 24th…Harlem Book Fair. Participant in discussion on Political Writing in the 21st Century. Telecast by CSPAN.
New York City

Thursday, July 28th…Panelist on State of Black Men townhall meeting at annual National Urban League conference. Telecast by CSPAN and coverage by BET and other media outlets. Washington, DC

ABOUT KEVIN POWELL

Of Kevin Powell the world famous poet Nikki Giovanni has said “Kevin Powell is pushing to bring, as he has so brilliantly done before, the voices of his generation: the concerns, the cares, the fears, and the fearlessness.” Noted scholar Michael Eric Dyson has called Kevin Powell “a mighty wind of fresh air.”
Legendary feminist icon Gloria Steinem proclaims that “as a charismatic speaker, leader and a very good writer, Kevin Powell has the courage…to be fully human, and this will bring the deepest revolution of all.”

Kevin Powell is a poet, journalist, essayist, editor, cultural curator, hiphop historian, songwriter, music producer, public speaker, political consultant and fundraiser, businessman, and community activist. He was also an original cast member on the first season of MTV’s hugely popular show “The Real World.”
A native of Jersey City, New Jersey and educated at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, Kevin Powell is now a resident of Brooklyn, New York. It is from his base in New York City that Kevin Powell has published six books, including his most recent, Who’s Gonna Take The Weight? Manhood, Race, and Power in America, which is an Essence magazine bestseller. Powell’s next project, Someday We’ll All Be Free, will be published in the Spring 2006 and will feature essays on American democracy, American leadership, and the American dream. Powell is also at work on his childhood memoir, homeboy alone, which will be published in 2007.

Additionally, Powell is compiling his second volume of poetry, My Own Private Ghetto, and The Kevin Powell Reader, which will highlight the first twenty years of his literary career. Indeed, Powell has written numerous essays, articles, and reviews over the past two decades for publications such as Newsweek,
The Washington Post, Essence, Code, Rolling Stone, The Amsterdam News, and Vibe, where he was a founding staff member and worked as a senior writer. It was at Vibe that Powell interviewed and profiled a number of hiphop icons, including, most famously, the late Tupac Shakur on several occasions.

A gifted and highly sought after public speaker, Powell has lectured on diversity and multiculturalism, American and Black American history, the life and times of Dr. King, Civil Rights, American politics, American democracy, sexism from a male perspective, pop culture, social activism, and the history and
state of hiphop at hundreds of colleges and universities, community centers, religious institutions, conferences, as well in corporate settings, the past several years.

Furthermore, Kevin Powell has offered his insights on a variety of social issues, as well as on hiphop and pop culture, to numerous TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, and internet outlets in America, and internationally. Powell is currently producing a series of townhall meetings across America called the State of Black Men Tour, which will visit approximately 25 cities through the end of 2006, and will culminate with Black Men in America…A National Conversation, in June 2007, in New York City. And his future political plans include either a run for political office, in New York City, or launching a new national,
community-based organization.

A fixture in the entertainment industry for the past decade and a half, Powell has, among things, hosted and produced programming for HBO and BET, written a screenplay, hosted an award-winning MTV documentary, and was the Guest Curator of the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s “Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes, and Rage”— which originated at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland,
Ohio, and of which Powell was the exhibition consultant—the first major exhibit in America on the history of hiphop. Most recently, Powell has become the founder, CEO, and president of True York Entertainment, LLC, a new multimedia entertainment company with interests in marketing, film, television, and music, including representation of the talented young singer Shannone Holt.

Of his life work Kevin Powell says, simply, “My life-calling is to be a servant for the people, period. Money, fame, status, personal achievements, and all that means very little to me when pain and suffering are still real on this planet. I am interested in the powerless becoming powerful.”

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mermaid, dayo's mama, water priestess, writer, web developer, omo yemoja, dos aguas, obsessive reader, sci-fi fan, trini-bajan, combermerian, second life, music, music, music!