Kevin Powell and Black Men in America

LAST NIGHT (Friday January 16th) I had the opportunity to hear Kevin Powell give a message on the topic, "Black Men in America: What Obama Means to Us."  Mr. Powell was the Keynote Speaker for a quarterly men’s gathering which took place at the Bethesda Baptist Church of New Rochelle.  Let me tell you… it was one powerful presentation!  When he speaks, his humility, passion and intellect commands your attention.

For those of you who may not know, Kevin Powell is a multi-talented individual, working successfully in numerous areas revolving around Activism, Journalism, Business, Cultural Awareness, History, Politics and Entertainment.  He’s also the author of several books, the latest being The Black Male handbook .

His speech impacted the men who were present and gave us a lot to consider.  I thought about it all night and even went to sleep with it on my mind.  When I woke up, my next action was clear – I had to write.

Below is the poem I wrote Saturday morning, inspired by Kevin Powell’s message on "Black Men in America".  My desire is to begin a dialogue which impacts the lives of Black men, women and youth in America and around the world.  And as our lives are positively impacted, then the quality of our relationships with one another and others of different cultural and geographic backgrounds will benefit as well.

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"BROTHER YOU MOVED ME…"
by Allen Paul Weaver III – Saturday January 17, 2009

Brother you moved me…
Gave a view of history larger
Than I could see
Demonstrated the connectedness
Of all that be
From continent to continent
And city to city
Times past, present and future to be.

Brother you moved me…
As you spoke with such intensity
That dangerous kind of selflessness
Talking about issues that matter to men
Your heart at the center of time well spent.

Brother you moved me…
Exposing the dichotomy between young and old
Challenging the old to continue to be bold
Daring the young to learn stories untold
Encouraging us all to go further down the road.

Brother you moved me…
As you talked about Black men in America
Of which I am one…
As you talked about those Black women who have held up shop for years
While raising their sons… and daughters
While many men ran from their fears
And faced systemic oppression which still exists in many forms
Countless neighborhoods accept the reality of lesser norms…
Our Hip Hop youth fight back tears while digesting an absence of hope
Fed to them by social systems entrenched in their own devices…
Yet we are called to greatness twice this!

Because brother you moved me…
As you declared we can fight this!
Barack Obama in the White House
Raises the standard high since – King and Malcolm X
And all those who have gone before us
The souls of Black folk remembered and forgotten
Stretching back all the way to Mother Africa
Where civilization began
Down through the generations
When we were stripped from our land
Forced through the mid-Atlantic slave routes
Millions who died in horrible ways
While even more who lived to see new days
Made their ways on islands far and wide
And every part of America’s southern tip
Who suffered, bled and died on fields at home and away at war.

Brother you moved me…
As you named so many great men
Who went before us
And as you named fallen brothers whose lives were taken
While many eyes watched even though their conscience did not awaken.
Sean BellOscar Grant … pause a moment… and think about that…

2009 is a time where
In America a man of African descent
Has all the qualifications necessary
To be the President
Ascending those great steps in a moment forever etched in history
While our brothers and sisters on the other side of the pendulum
Live and die in misery
And we ask God, where does Justice reside?
And then God replies, why do we continue to run and hide?
If you know to do right and don’t – then sin is on your side
You talk and live justly and know that vengeance alone is Mine.

Brother you moved me…
As you told us about our opportunity
And then compelled us to declare
In the vein of Mahatma Gandhi
We are the change that we want to see
To live in the world responsibly…
Brother you moved me.

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One thought on “Kevin Powell and Black Men in America”

  1. “And we ask God, where does Justice reside?
    And then God replies, why do we continue to run and hide?”

    Allen, what a powerful response to what I can only imagine was a powerful, inspiring, challenging, life-giving message from Kevin Powell! I am familiar with Kevin Powell, in fact it was he and his cohorts that planted the seed for my reality TV vice. I am also familiar with the work he has been doing to date. With that in mind, I know that the men of Bethesda (and the community) were held to a greater accountability. I cannot wait to witness the fruit that is born from that friday evening worship service.

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