Legendary feminist Gloria Steinem asserts 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
- 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,
- 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
huffingtonpost.com. 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,
- 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 Moveon.org, 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), ColorofChange.org,
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