New and Selected Poems
No Sleep Till Brooklyn is a searingly honest collection at once powerful and disturbing. Written between 1989 and 2008, the poems encompass Powell’s early career as a slam poet when he regularly participated in slams, open mics, featured readings, and as the original cast member of MTV’s Real World, to a poet operating in a private sphere, away from what is commonly called “the scene.” Within this rich weave of musings, confession, and sometimes painful introspection, he confronts such issues as racism, black self-hatred, gender violence, and his own anguished revelations about sex, love, and misogyny. Powell samples the sights and sounds and scenarios of American life, then reshapes them into a provocative soundtrack for our times.
Kevin Powell (Brooklyn NY) is widely considered one of America’s most important voices in these early years of the 21st century. An activist, poet, journalist, essayist, editor, cultural curator, hiphop historian, songwriter, music producer, public speaker, political consultant and fundraiser, and businessman, Powell is a product of extreme poverty, welfare, fatherlessness, and a single mother-led household. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey and educated at Rutgers University, Powell is a longtime resident of Brooklyn, New York, and it is from his base in New York City that Powell has published six books, including Who’s Gonna Take The Weight? Manhood, Race, and Power in America, an Essence magazine bestseller. He has written numerous essays, articles, and reviews over the past two decades for publications such as Newsweek, The Washington Post, Essence, Code, Rolling Stone, The Amsterdam News, and Vibe, where he was a founding staff member and served as a senior writer. It was at Vibe that Powell interviewed and profiled a number of hiphop icons including, most famously, the late Tupac Shakur on several occasions.
A gifted and highly sought after public speaker, Powell has lectured on multiculturalism, American and Black American history, the life of Dr. King, civil rights, American politics, sexism from a male perspective, leadership, social activism, and the state of hiphop, among other topics, at hundreds of colleges and universities, community centers, religious institutions, conferences, and festivals, as well as in corporate settings. Furthermore, Kevin Powell routinely offers his insights on a variety of matters, to TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, and internet outlets in America, and abroad.
A fixture on the pop culture landscape the past fifteen years, Powell has, among other things, hosted and produced programming for HBO and BET; written a screenplay; hosted an award-winning MTV documentary; and was the Guest Curator of the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s “Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes, and Rage”—which originated at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and of which Powell was the exhibition consultant—the first major exhibit in America on the history of hiphop. Of late Powell has become the founder, CEO, and president of True York Entertainment, LLC, a new multimedia company with interests in marketing, film, television, and music, including representation of the talented young singer Shannone Holt.
Of paramount importance to Kevin Powell, however, is his activism. He has been a leader in some form or fashion for the past twenty years, dating back to his days at Rutgers University. He was a participant in the student-led anti-apartheid movement, the drive to end racism in South Africa; he has been at the forefront of police brutality and racial bias cases; he has worked for years around voting rights; Powell has organized a number of concerts, mc battles, rallies, and forums that stress the use of hiphop as a tool for social change; he has become a very outspoken critic of violence against women and girls; Powell has taught, mentored, and counseled in schools, camps, prisons, and on the streets of urban America; he produces an annual holiday party every December in New York City that benefits the needy; and Powell has been a central figure in Gulf Coast disaster relief efforts, facilitating the delivery of goods and services to the affected regions, and being in on long-term rebuilding plans for the region, particularly as it concerns poor people.
Paper | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | 112 pgs. | ISBN: 978-0-9796636-9-7 | List: $15.95 | 04/10/2008