Kevin Powell is one of the nicest brothers I have ever met.
We met while standing in line to buy Chinese food @ Ho Kwong’s in DaCosta’s Mall, Bridgetown, Barbados back in 1998.
I saw him out of the corner of my eye, and said, “That guy looks like Kevin Powell,” in my mind and turned away. As the queue moved forward, and I happened to have another look, I said to myself again, “Well, well… this fella, REAL looking like Kevin Powell.”
You must understand: The only reason I knew who he was at all was a combination of being in Trinidad and having cable TV the season that he was on The Real World, and being a music writer in Trinidad and devouring many of the magazines he was then writing for.
I remembered even the first few times I saw him on The Real World, thinking: 1) That brother is smart and wise at a very young age, and totally out of place on this show and 2) that he was going to be somebody one day.
Later, as I read so much of what he wrote… to the point where I actively sought for and looked for his work (LONG before there was an Internet) showed you, I really admired his voice. His writing definitely influenced mine.
For me, to be in DaCostas Mall and turn my head and see one of my writing heroes standing next to me… true to form, before I could even think about it, “Hello there! Are you Kevin Powell?”
His surprise was evident. He was very surprised.
“Why yes, I am!” and smiled.
This led to a conversation that ran for something like 16 hours, a liming session with me, Kevin and my brother that spanned us getting our lunch and walking back to the store I ran then, dinner I cooked later, my brother’s performance in Holetown and beyond. Absolutely nothing but good people, good conversation and good vibes.
I never saw him again, but we stayed in touch via email for a few years, until eventually we fell out of touch. I kept ordering his books, and kept up as much as I could when I could.
I happened to be reading one of my favourite ‘tweeps’ @sistertoldja, and found out he’s running for US Congress! WOW!
All of sudden I feel proud to say I recognised him in that line, said hello and got to know him a little better. Hope the politics game doesn’t take him too far from that wonderfully open young man I met more than 10 years ago. Hope his voice remains true…
Here’s what SisterToldja had to say:
To be frank, I believe in this person and that’s the only reason I’d take the time to write this. A longtime follower of his career, Powell is no longer the angry young man he appeared to be through the lens of MTV’s “The Real World” some 18 years ago. He is approaching his campaign with a level of righteous indignation, tempered with love and a profound sense of peace. Powell has a deep demonstrated to helping others, with a focus on women and Black males I find to be quite admirable. He’s not some lifelong politico, but a member of the Hip-Hop generation who has grown up essentially before our eyes in to the sort of leader Central Brooklyn is crying out for. This is a person who I feel bests represents my interests in Congress and the interests of my community.
(Via The Beautiful Struggler.)