BIO/CV   |   Quick Facts

Kevin Powell

Legendary feminist Gloria Steinem asserts that "as a charismatic speaker, leader, and a very good writer, Kevin Powell has the be fully human, and this will bring the deepest revolution of all."
  • One of the leading voices of his generation, Kevin is an acclaimed public speaker and college lecturer, writer and author of ten books, and regular commentator on political and cultural issues of the day in all forms of media. His most recent book is Open Letters To America, a collection of essays about America in the era of Barack Obama.
  • Born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. Product of an impoverished, single-mother led household.
  • Long-time resident in the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, New York.
  • Twenty-five years as a community activist and advocate for social justice. Kevin has completely dedicated his life to public service since he was an 18-year-old college student at Rutgers University, where he was deeply inspired by his campus’ anti-apartheid movement and the first presidential run of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Since then Kevin organized in New York City’s welfare hotels; co-founded a summer camp for urban youth; produced numerous town hall meetings, forums, summits, workshops, and conferences; done extensive voter education and voter registration work; advocated for environmental protection, immigrant rights, and an immediate end to the war in Iraq; participated in community protests against police brutality; and actively engaged in the 2006 “Take Back Congress” efforts which led to the Democratic majority in the United States House of Representatives, as well as Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign.
  • Anti-violence and anti-sexism work—Along with men like Michael Kimmel, Jackson Katz, Charles Knight, and Byron Hurt, Kevin continues to play a major role in the redefining American manhood and “anti-violence against women” movement. Since 1992 Kevin’s voice has been consistent and committed. He has written personally and honestly about men’s responsibilities to help end sexism and violence against women. On this topic, his insightful essays have appeared in Essence and Ms. magazines, and Locally and nationally, Kevin routinely conducts anti-violence workshops, drawing on his own life experiences, designed to help males of all races and backgrounds to put a stop to this destructive behavior.
  • Black and Male in America…A Three-Day National Conference—Kevin served as the Conference Director and driving force behind BAMIA, which took place in June 2007 in Brooklyn, New York, and attracted over 3,000 attendees from across America. The large gathering was an extension of and a follow-up to the highly acclaimed “State of Black Men Town Hall Meetings and Workshops,” a ten-city national tour spearheaded by Kevin in 2004. This recent conference brought together activists, community workers, educators, scholars, policymakers, artists, athletes, writers, mental health and social workers, spiritual leaders, coaches, fathers, mothers, and all who are concerned about the fate of the Black male, to discuss issues and remedies for the improvement of Black males’ lives. The follow-up work to the BAMIA conference includes monthly empowerment sessions for Brooklyn Black males, an interactive Web site that doubles as a clearinghouse of information, and publication of the best-selling The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life (Atria/Simon and Schuster).
  • Annual Holiday Party and Clothing Drive—For the past decade, Kevin has activated concerned citizens and clothing companies to donate truckloads of free goods for New York City’s homeless youth via Safe Horizon’s Streetworks Project. The event now stands as the most popular and successful benefit in New York City during the holiday season.
  • Katrina on the Ground—Kevin co-created the initiative that sent 700-plus college students to the Gulf Coast in March 2006 to provide relief and assistance to this devastated region.
  • Studied Political Science and English at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Currently a Phelps Stokes Fellow and a recent Writing Fellow with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Member, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York
  • Member of numerous organizations, including, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., The Sierra Club, The Fort Greene Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Working Families Party, ACORN, FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality),, and Democracy for America.
  • Board Member, Center for Working Families
  • Enjoys biking, working out, guitar playing, traveling, studying Spanish, listening to all genres of music, absorbing historical facts and figures, and collecting art, rare books and vinyl records.
  • Single, never married, no children
  • Essentially a vegan (except for fish periodically), exercise junkie, and advocate for holistic living (the pursuit of physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellness)
  • Founding staff member at Vibe, the fastest growing magazine in American pop culture history (he did the most in-depth interviews with the late Tupac Shakur); writer for numerous publications, including Esquire, The Amsterdam News, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Ebony, Rolling Stone, and Essence
  • Host and writer of the award-winning MTV documentary, “Straight From The ‘Hood,” about post-riot Los Angeles; and he worked as a special BET correspondent covering both the Democratic and Republican national conventions in 2004

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