Prairie View A&M University announced today the appointment of the highly-regarded poet, journalist, TV personality and author Kevin Powell to serve as its second writer-in-residence of the Toni Morrison Writing Program.
Powell has penned articles, essays and blogs for a wide range of newspapers, magazines and major websites. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, CNN.com, The Nation, NPR, ESPN, Essence, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Complex, British GQ, The Guardian, and ESPN.com. Powell worked at Vibe Magazine as a senior writer for many years, interviewing such diverse public figures as Tupac Shakur and General Colin Powell.
Powell’s forthcoming books include The Kevin Powell Reader, a collection of his writings, interviews and speeches covering 30 years of his work and a long-awaited biography of Tupac Shakur.
A native of Jersey City, Powell was raised by a single mother in a community stricken with extreme poverty and violence. His life transformed after studying at Rutgers University in New Brunswick thanks to the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund, a program created during the Civil Rights Movement to benefit poor youth. Today, he has lectured, worked and traveled in all 50 American states and five of the world’s seven continents.
Now in its second year, PVAMU’s Toni Morrison Writing Program continues to flourish under the direction of Provost Emerita Emma Joahanne Thomas-Smith. One of the most celebrated African American poets, Nikki Giovanni, wrapped up her appointment as the program’s inaugural writer-in-residence this spring.
“The Toni Morrison Writing Program’s selection of Kevin Powell as writer-in-residence meets the objective: Powell studies; Powell thinks deeply. He takes a stance on a cornucopia of issues, including, but not limited to, social justice, interpersonal relationships, hip hop culture, and environmentalism, you name it. He challenges a multi-generational audience and issues to them a call to action. Given today’s socio-political climate, nothing could be more timely, especially for HBCU college students for whom the college years are an apprenticeship for thoughtful, meaningful, intentional participation in the change they wish to see,” Thomas-Smith said.
Powell began his appointment on September 1, with his first public lecture scheduled later this month.