the education of kevin powell-a boy’s journey into manhood (part won)

“lots of *igg*s go to prison, how many come out malcolm x? i know i’m not.”

“During one of our interviews, I had gotten the weirded-out feeling that Tupac knew he would not live long. He had said to me, ‘I want you to be Alex Haley to my Malcolm X.’ Of course, I thought, What if I want to be Malcolm X too?” (220)

“But I did find it troubling that Minister Farrakhan only met with me, ate dinner, gave a speech without a question-and-answer session, and was gone immediately after he spoke with that $10,000 check in hand. All that work on his behalf and he had offered no interaction with the students. This, coupled with rumors swirling that year that Reverend Jesse Jackson, my other hero, was having extramarital affairs during his second run for president, left me disillusioned about Black leadership in general, and about these two men in particular.” (163)

“I howled after setting the book down. Nothing I had ever read in my life had had that kind of impact on my mind, on my soul, on my body. I cried tears of depression, of grief, of loss for someone I had never known. I wept because it was Black men who had cocked the guns and squeezed the triggers that murdered Malcolm.” (143)

the only philly rapper more slept on than black thought is dice raw. well, except maybe bahamadia.

this one came to me via the old twitter mention/tpl lookup one-two punch. i am ever great-full for both, as well as the library deeming this as necessary, and the author favouriting (oh, the modern verbs we’ve built) my tweet thanking him for writing it and being so honest about the part that he has played in the ongoing atrocity of violence against women. he is the feminist that i will respect and work with, and he is also the one that i’ll watch like all those “conscious” 90s hiphop cats that hid behind dashikis and incense just to keep slippin’ the dick in a new way. with great freedom comes great responsibility.

“Being out front terrified me, but I had earned this new role. I decided to create a bold agenda by purging the organization of men I thought were weak leaders, and of Black female students who too often brought up how we men treated the women in the organization. In closed-door meetings, I and some of the other male leaders went so far as to tell these women that they must be ‘lesbians’ or have ‘deep emotional issues’ given how much they complained. Slowly, but surely, quite a few drifted away from the organization.” (161)

“The only steady male figure Anthony and I had in our lives was each other. Everyone else around us were women.” (40)

“I was devastated. We had protested police brutality together for years, and this woman-my big sister and mentor-was telling me that she would call the cops on me if I ever contacted her again?” (184)

the coldest souljah ever. a lot of this book was really hard to read, because it was so visceral, but it is so undeniably necessary, and gave me a lot of insight into the lives of the complicated mens that i know who have grown up in similar mental and geographical places. it made me understand just how equal of an impact we as women have on the lives of our men, and that gives me hope because we can always add our influence to that of the dominant present and historical narrative. kevin powell shows and proves that it’s never too late to grow and move.

“I had survived Jersey City, and Rutgers University, and Newark, and my mother kicking me out, and Sister Souljah kicking me to the curb. I had survived the death of my grandmother. At long last, I was going to do something for myself. I was moving to New York City to be a writer.” (185)

“Nothing in my life, not even getting kicked out of Rutgers or getting jumped in Newark, New Jersey, prepared me for the extreme reactions to my ‘character’ on The Real World.” (214)

i remember when i had just joined twitter-it was around time of the political campaign, and i retweeted because i am not an american and don’t live in new york, but he definitely has my vote. i must have freshly read some article or the book or something to have started following him, and i’m glad. i’m going to look for the open letter to his father for essence and the dave chappelle article for esquire, and if i can’t find them, i’m going to ask the source directly, along with some other questions. get ready, mister powell, and thank you.


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