Hip-Hop Activist to Speak at King Celebration

Posted: January 11, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryan Call

Kevin Powell
Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell, a leading cultural critic and speaker for Generation X, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration program on Thursday, Feb. 2.

The theme of the program is “Empowering Community: Realizing Vision.” The speech will be presented in the Johnson Center Dewberry Hall on the Fairfax Campus at 1:30 p.m.

The day’s events begin at 10:30 a.m. with a read-in and discussion, facilitated by faculty members Rutledge Dennis and Marilyn Mobley. The discussion will focus on such topics as community, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Dream” and Powell’s book, “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight? Manhood, Race and Power in America.” The campus community is invited to take part in this forum, which will occur in the Robeson Room of the Johnson Center.

At 1 p.m., the Anointed Voice of Unity Gospel Choir and other campus NAACP organizations will lead participants on a symbolic unity march. The march will start in the Student Union Building II lobby and end at Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center.

At 1:15 p.m., there will be a choral prelude before the main program begins.

A national and international cultural exhibit of the educational memorabilia of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights era will be on display in Dewberry Hall all day. Presented by Carlton Funn Sr., the exhibit is designed to promote awareness, human dignity and cultural understanding.

A cast member on MTV’s “The Real World NYC,” Powell wrote and hosted the award-winning MTV special “Straight from the Hood,” a documentary on youth life in Los Angeles before and after the 1992 riots.

Powell held the position of senior writer at Vibe magazine, where he worked with many prominent hip-hop artists. He has also contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Essence and Rolling Stone. Of the many books he has published, Powell is known for “Keepin’ It Real: Post-MTV Reflections on Race, Sex and Politics,” and “Who Shot Ya,” a photographic history of hip-hop as documented by Ernie Paniciolli.

Powell is at work on a second volume of poetry, another book of essays and a memoir inspired by Richard Wright’s “Native Son.”

For more information, visit the Office of Diversity Programs and Services web site.

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