November 1st, 2015, a Sunday, the day of the 2015 NYC Marathon...what a great day!
Not only were one of my dearest friends participating but my favorite artist of the written word, Kevin Powell, was running. I had told Kevin we would be out there supporting and with supplies via Facebook and asked if he would want/need anything. He told me bananas, so you know your girl went out the night before to have fresh bananas for Kevin. But as fate would have it (probably best...because I might have ended up running the marathon just to keep talking), we just missed Kevin at our first stop (Bedford & N. 7th in Brooklyn)! I was bit devastated that we were never able to catch him as I didn't want him to think I flaked on his bananas! However, he had a great run and I had an AWESOME time!
I can't recall when Kevin Powell announced his memoir would be out in the latter part of 2015 but I do remember the excitement I felt about the possibility of learning more about this man that has intrigued me since 1992! Now, 23 years later, having just finished his memoir, The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood, I'm even more intrigued.
I've written here before about Kevin and it may have not been clear the connection I feel and even to me I thought it was more an attraction to a handsome, talented man but I now know it's a cosmic connection. It's something similar to to what I still feel for Maya Angelou, however I didn't feel the connection with Maya Angelou until after seeing the made for TV movie for I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing. It was my wish to meet this dynamic woman before either of us departed this earth. I felt that if I met her, spoke to her, embraced her that life would somehow make sense and fall into place. I felt she could understand me the way I felt I understood her. Now that the this earth is no longer blessed with her presence, I truly feel there is something small missing that can never be fulfilled.
Interestingly enough, if you have read introductions to Kevin's memoir you would have read the following in some places: "In the spirit of Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 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.". Do you see that, "in the spirit of"? It makes my heart smile!
Kevin Powell has long been a staple in the literary world. Many not clear on what created such a being to be able to communicate ideas, provide alliterative words that describe the musical prowess of some of music’s finest and grace the pages of magazines, books, newspapers etc. with such raw talent. This book a memoir of this well known author, reality television personality and activist introduces the reader to his world in such a way that you can almost imagine yourself a part of the story. Having long been a fan of the author and his collective works this read was more enjoyable than even initially anticipated.
Mr. Powell’s memoir is a hard-hitting series of well written recounting of periods of a life worth living. A life of a male child raised by a single mother who, as many poor boys in the ghettoes of the inner city faced poverty, feelings of hopelessness, insecurities and displaced anger. The author takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions. The reader will find himself or herself crying with young Kevin, wanting to embrace him, feeling like giving up on him and celebrating with him in his triumphs. There are also times when the reader will wonder if they will ever look at Mr. Powell the same ever again in both a negative and positive way.
If the author ‘s intention was to bring the reader to a place of darkness in order expose himself so the audience could see the whole picture, like photo development, then he achieved that. In providing the story in which he was educated not only by his mother at home, the inner city school system, a fine institution such as Rutgers University and obviously the streets of Jersey City, the author educates the audience on finding self, loving self, being honest with self and most importantly the age old never give up or stop. As a whole no matter your background or lifestyle we are all in class and this book is part of the curriculum. Can you survive not reading this book, sure but why would you want to? With over 50 notes on various parts of the text it felt as if the there was a conversation happening. It didn’t feel as though it was written for the world to read but as personal letter.
As far a recommendation, I couldn’t begin to find the words that could properly convey how strongly I believe this book should be read by not only young black males whose life mirror that which Mr. Powell has lived but even young girls of any color who need to know that the color of his skin isn’t what should be intriguing them but the possibilities that lie under the surface. Not only for the single mother raising a young man in the inner city but the married father with all girls, a father who is aware of who he is will raise a young woman who will choose a mate that deserves her mind body and soul. The young budding writer, the science geek and even those who don’t like to read anything but Facebook meme posts. This book is for all!
I'd love to list every single note I made in my nook version but I'd be exposing a little more of my crazy than is necessary! But I do pray I get the opportunity to share them personally with Kevin Powell, the author over a cup of Chai Tea in a quiet coffee shop in the city and have him sign a copy of the hardcover book I also have. Until then, pick up the book, read it, "learn it, live it, love it"! And when you're done with the memoir, if you haven't already read this well written artist some more. You can find a list of his work here.
Where am I? : Home on the couch in the TV room
Who am I with?: Bailey!
What am I wearing?: PJs
What am I watching?: Antenna TV (old school shows love it!)
What am I listening to?: The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood Soundtrack
What's next?: Dinner!