Kevin Powell is known most famously for his role as a cast member on MTV’s first season of “The Real World,” and as a notorious hip hop head. However, he is more than just that. Powell”s first important role in life was serving as man of the house in the absence of his father. With a tenacious spirit and dedication to helping others, he moved up the ranks to become an international activist who recently ran for Congressional Office in New York’s 10th District for the third time. Through his life’s work of poetry, essays, and books, he highlights his dedication towards social, economic, and political, change in America.
The Early Years
Powell grew up in a single mother household with a mother who had a limited education. Because of this he was faced with many socio-economic obstacles. Kevin endured poverty, including having to go hungry, crime, and painful violence inflicted upon himself and others. Determined not to remain in the same situation, he took on many jobs; he delivered newspapers, groceries, and held other odd jobs to help make ends meet. Powell learned that helping others also helped himself. This way of thinking made him contemplate, Can one man alone help improve issues such as racial profiling, economic equality, and unfair ethical practices? With no guarantee, he set out to do just that.
The People’s Advocate
Powell began his journey to help shape this country’s attitude towards global humanitarianism by advocating to end human suffering. Powell has focused his platform on changing the way the world feels about the poor, the suffering, and the uneducated. He is a voice for the people without one. He attributes his caring attitude to those he calls his “lifesavers.” As a youth, his mother had him involved in programs such as the YMCA, The Boys and Girl’s Club, and Police Cadet. In these programs, Powell learned focus, dedication, and determination from adults and peers dealing with his very same issues.
Powell has accomplished many things in his life, from being one of the first staff writer’s at VIBE Magazine to television fame. However, none has touched his heart more than his plight to end human suffering. Speaking out on issues on race, violence, politics, voting rights, and sex, he was even been bold enough to help negotiate a conflict where 6 of his fellow Brooklyn natives were held for ransom in Antigua and Barbuda. Powell put his own life and reputation on the line to save people he did not know, and was successful in assisting in their safe return. Powell has also led movements to aid individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina, September 11th, and The Gulf Coast Disaster Relief.
In his own words, “I love people, all people. My very rich and very broad life experiences — both here locally in New York City, and as I have journeyed America and abroad — led me back to the great passion of my college years about a decade ago: helping people to help themselves. For I could not imagine doing anything else with my life now other than being a public servant in some form or fashion.”
Powell has dealt with his own personal demons of alcohol abuse, depression and financial struggles. How many of us could take on the world with a straight face while dealing with obstacles such as these? Powell has talked about his personal obstacles over the years to eager audiences, reporters, and therapist and will be releasing his highly anticipated memoirs titled, My Own Private Ghetto. Powell’s book will delve into his impoverished and violent childhood, and spotlight his rise to becoming a speaker for the people. Powell shares his truth in hopes of helping others learn from his mistakes.
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.” Powell is a true example of what determination and dedication can lead to. Coming from humble beginnings has not stopped Kevin from pursing his passion. Though many have tried to halt his courageous efforts through slander and lawsuits, Powell refuses to stop. Powell says, “what is the point of a life, any life, if it is not to experience everything possible, be everything possible, and, most importantly, touch as many other lives as possible in the most positive of ways?”