Poet, Journalist, TV Personality and Author Kevin Powell Named New PVAMU Writer-in-Residence

Prairie View A&M University has announced the appointment of beloved poet, journalist, television personality and author Kevin Powell as the second writer-in-residence of the Toni Morrison’s Writing Program.

Powell has written articles, essays and blogs for a wide range of major newspapers, magazines and websites. His writing has 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 editor for many years, interviewing public figures as diverse as Tupac Shakur and general Colin Powell.

Powell’s upcoming books include The Kevin Powell Reader, a collection of his writings, interviews and speeches spanning 30 years of his work and a long-awaited biography of Tupac Shakur.

Originally from Jersey City, Powell was raised by a single mother in a community stricken with extreme poverty and violence. His life was 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 U.S. states and five of the world’s seven continents.

Now in its second year, PVAMU’s Toni Morrison writing program continues to thrive under the leadership of Provost Emeritus Emma Joahanne Thomas-Smith. One of the most celebrated African-American poets, Nikki Giovanni, completed her appointment as the program’s inaugural writer-in-residence this spring.

“Kevin Powell’s selection as Writer-in-Residence by the Toni Morrison Writing Program serves purpose: Powell studies; Powell thinks deeply. He takes a stand on a multitude of issues, including, but not limited to, social justice, interpersonal relationships, hip hop culture, and environmentalism, you name it. It challenges a multi-generational audience and gives them a call to action. Given the current socio-political climate, nothing could be more timely, especially for HBCU students for whom the college years are a learning curve for thoughtful participation , meaningful and intentional to the change they want to see,” Thomas-Smith said.

Powell began his appointment Sept. 1, with his first public lecture scheduled for later this month.