Books   |   Essays   |   Poems   |   Articles

Kevin Powell

The titles below can be ordered by clicking the book cover.

The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood (2015)
In the spirit of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets, this powerful memoir by writer and activist Kevin Powell vividly recounts the horrific poverty of his youth, his struggles to overcome a legacy of anger, violence, and self-hatred, and his journey to be a man and a voice for others.

Driven by his single mother’s dreams for his survival and success, Kevin Powell became the first in his family to attend a university, where he became a student leader keenly aware of widespread social injustice. But the struggle to define himself and break out of poverty continued into adulthood, with traumatic periods of homelessness and despair. As a young star journalist with Vibe magazine, Powell interviewed luminaries such as Tupac Shakur, writing influential chronicles of the evolution of hip-hop from his eyewitness view. Now, with searing honesty, Powell examines his troubled relationships, his appearance on MTV’s first season of The Real World, his battles with alcohol and depression, his two campaigns for Congress, and the uplifting trip to Africa that renewed his sense of personal mission. Finally, Powell embarks on a search for the father he never really knew in a redemptive passage from abandonment to self-discovery.

A striking memoir by a child of post-Civil Rights America, The Education of Kevin Powell gives eloquent testimony to the power of the soul to heal.



Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and The Ghost of Dr. King (2012)
22 raw, unfiltered blogs and essays on topics as diverse as The Super Bowl; violence against women and girls; filmmaker Tyler Perry; actress Ashley Judd; singer Chris Brown; comedian Dave Chappelle; America’s gun culture; his own financial missteps during The Great Recession; the battles over immigration; the ongoing saga of race in America; the failures and fumbles of Black American leadership; gay marriage; the Occupy Wall Street movement; the Penn State child sex abuse scandal; and the often conflicted and controversial legacies of Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.
Open Letters to America (2009)
Open Letters to America is writer Kevin Powell’s celebration of the sudden, mass political engagement of America's youth, of Americans in general; his thoughts in the aftermath of Obama's magical and historical presidential campaign; and his open acknowledgment that if 21st century America is going to be the great world democracy it promises to be, it will be Generations X and Y that make it so. While other books will focus upon the significance of this period in American history, few will come from the perspective of someone so engaged in the political and community process and popular culture on so many levels.
The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life (2008)
The Black Male Handbook is a collection of essays for Black males on surviving, living, and winning. Kevin Powell taps into the social and political climate rising in the Black community, particularly as it relates to Black males. This is a must-have book, not only for Black male readers, but the women who befriend, parent, partner, and love them. The Black Male Handbook answers a collective hunger for new direction, fresh solutions to old problems, and a different kind of conversation -- man-to-man and with Black male voices, all of the hiphop generation.
No Sleep Till Brooklyn: New and Selected Poems (2008)
Written between 1989 and 2008, the poems in Kevin Powell’s powerful new collection encompass everything from his early role as a renowned slam poet (and original cast member of MTV’s Real World) to his current incarnation as a poet operating away from the scene. Within this rich tapestry of musings, confession, and introspection, Powell weaves issues like racism, black self-hatred, and gender violence with his own anguished revelations about sex, love, and misogyny. Sampling from the personal and the political, Powell reshapes them into a provocative soundtrack for the times.
Someday We'll All Be Free (2006)
In Someday We’ll All Be Free, Powell widens his lens and skillfully dissects the dreams of American freedom and democracy in these early days of the 21st century. Be it the reelection of President George W. Bush, the colossal tragedy of September 11th and the policies and wars that have followed, or the historic destruction of the city of New Orleans before our very eyes, Powell tells us the uncomfortable truths about America, his country, and yours, too. These coolly observant essays, quilted together, firmly establish why Powell is widely considered one of America’s brightest leaders and thinkers.
Who's Gonna Take the Weight: Manhood, Race, and Power in America (2003)
In three mind-jolting essays by one of the most passionate and eloquent voices of his generation, Who's Gonna Take the Weight? by Kevin Powell leads us to the heart of the searing issues facing us today, from manhood, violence, and gender oppression to celebrity culture and hip-hop. Using compelling personal stories as the connecting thread, he examines what this nation has become since the monumental upheavals of the 1960s and where it might be headed if we're not careful.
Who Shot Ya? Three Decades of HipHop Photography (2002)
Who Shot Ya? Three Decades of Hip Hop Photography is the first major pictorial history of hip hop culture based around the work of one photographer. Culled from a vast archive, the approximately 150 images in Who Shot Ya? represent the visual diary of a generation, essentially following this socio-political art form from the streets of New York City to the billion-dollar global industry it has become.
Step into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature (2000)
Kevin Powell has assembled the essays, fiction, poetry, criticism, and journalism of more than 100 young writers. Most entries are engaging and provocative, with stand-out work by Malcolm Gladwell, Daphne Brooks, Erin Aubrey, Scott Poulson-Bryant, and the very beautiful and often disturbing fiction of such talents as Junot Diaz, Christopher John Farley, John Keene, Victor D. La Valle, Phylis Alesia Perry, and Bernardine Evaristo.
Keepin’ It Real: Post-MTV Reflections On Race, Sex, and Politics (1997)
In Keepin' It Real, writer, poet, and cultural critic Kevin Powell puts both himself and society under a microscope and creates a searingly honest collection that is both powerful and disturbing. Powell's letters and reflections take us on the dizzying tight-rope walk between two worlds. From the poverty and misery of his New Jersey childhood to the excesses and successes of his mercurial rise to prominence, it is a life lived on the cutting-edge.
Recognize (1995)
Driven by hip-hop music, popular culture, national and global events, and the specifics of his own life, Kevin Powell's voice is one of the boldest and brightest in the 1990's poetry renaissance. Passionate and witty, Powell's poetry is filled with fly girls and lost loves, grandmothers and absent fathers. His poetry conveys the hope, anger and fear of a generation.
In The Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers (1993)
In The Tradition is a provocative collection of works by some of America's most articulate young writers. Covering subjects which range from politics to love, this book crystallizes for its readers that the younger generation of Black poets and fiction writers have a serious grasp of the perils that beset their lives, their families and friends, their community-the writing is strong intelligent and mature.

Facebook Twitter Linked In Huffington Post