A Mighty Wind

In describing his history of violence, especially, but not exclusively against women, Congressional candidate and Hip-Hop Philosopher Kevin Powell has called himself a “recovering misogynist” and compares himself to "a recovering alcoholic or a crack fiend who has righted her or his ways," warning that "I can lapse at any time."

But Powell also notes his efforts to cure himself of this illness, citing 20 years of therapy. In a recent open letter to his opponent, Congressman Ed Towns, Powell notes:

“I was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, to a young single Black mother, who was never married to my father. Indeed, my father so emotionally devastated my mother by his irresponsibility, absence, and neglect, that my mother turned that hurt on me, her only child. Yes, like many young people in your district, Mr. Towns, I was a victim of all manner of violence as a child, including physical and mental abuse. I strongly recommend that you Google my poem 'Son2Mother to get the full picture of what an inner city child like me, born on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, had to live through in terms of violence and low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness.“

This I find deeply disturbing, not only because of the sad details of Mr. Powell’s personal history, but also because it seems to me that Mr. Powell has been scammed by a quack or quacks. If there were ever anyone who’s developed a lifetime immunity from low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness, it is Mr. Powell.

I‘ve always thought an overdeveloped sense of self-worth was an essential part of the job description for any successful elected official; if that‘s so, it is possible that Mr. Powell may be the most qualified aspirant for office in the country, as a visit to his website will confirm.



“Kevin Powell is widely considered one of America’s most important voices in these early years of the 21st century. “

“Kevin Powell is a political activist, poet, journalist, essayist, hiphop historian, public speaker, and entrepreneur.”

“A gifted and highly sought after public speaker, Powell has lectured on multiculturalism, building corporate responsibility, American and Black American history, the life of Dr. King, civil rights, American politics and civic engagement, sexism from a male perspective, leadership, social activism, the state of hiphop, redefining American manhood, and being Black and male in America, among other topics, at hundreds of colleges and universities, community centers, prisons, 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.”

“Powell is one of the most prominent voices in the hiphop generation”

“Of his life work Kevin Powell says, simply, ‘My life-calling is to be a servant for the people, period. Money, fame, status, personal achievements, and all that means very little to me when pain and suffering are still real on this planet. I am interested in the powerless becoming powerful.’"

“I have decided to embark on an amazing personal and political journey.”

“I've decided to do this because, as some of you know, I have been a public servant, in some form, for two decades, since my days as a teenage student leader at Rutgers University. I am completely committed to the ideals of freedom, justice, and equality, in America, and on this planet, and I am proof that much can be achieved if we are determined to make a change, personally and politically.” (NOTE: in his book "Who's Gonna Take the Weight,", instead of the term “public servant”, Powell described his role at Rutgers as "student leader pimp")

“Vote for Kevin Powell. Vote for The Plan: A New Way for the 21st Century.”

“Kevin is calling for a fresh blueprint – a New Deal for the 21st Century; programs and initiatives that will finally address the problems strangling the district's opportunities for growth and change. The progressive and reformist spirit of President Roosevelt’s New Deal animates Kevin Powell’s visionary outlook. His policies, outlined in this platform, are designed to bring relief, recovery, and reform to hard-working Brooklynites struggling to make ends meet.”


"as a charismatic speaker, leader, and a very good writer, Kevin Powell has the courage...to be fully human, and this will bring the deepest revolution of all."

"a mighty wind of fresh air."

"When you consider the intelligence and breadth of Kevin Powell’s writing and activism, you come to the conclusion that there may be no better spokesperson and representative for a generation that has too long been counted out."


I myself think there may be a more accurate diagnosis for Mr. Powell issues than low self esteem.


From: “How to deal with narcissists” by Esther Kane, MSW RCC

“It seems that, when dealing with difficult people, one of the most challenging types is someone who is narcissistic. Without getting all psychobabble on you and boringly academic, I would like to simplify things by generalizing. While narcissism is actually considered a mental illness, not all people who display narcissistic behaviors is necessarily suffering from a mental illness. They're just extremely challenging to deal with on a regular basis.

To get us started, I will give you the actual psychiatric definition of someone who has the Narcissistic Personality Disorder just to make sure I don't leave anything out. This comes from the standard text, the DSM-IV, which psychiatrists use to diagnose people. Here's their definition:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of the following:   

a grandiose sense of self-importance;

is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love;

believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions);

requires excessive admiration;

has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations;

is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends (NOTE: As Mr. Powell once said: "My intent was to scare her into submission,");

lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others;

is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her;

shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

Have you ever met someone with at least some of these qualities? Chances are you were dealing with someone who was at least slightly narcissistic. I think what defines a narcissistic personality is someone who thinks he truly is ‘the bee's knees’. He thinks he is better than everyone else, deserve special treatment, and seem to live in his own little world. In common parlance: SELFISH. There's usually an ‘entitlement’ thing going on; where he/she acts like a king or a queen and expects people to drop everything to ‘serve’ him/her”


Moreover, I think that this diagnosis may more prove to be more accurate in getting at the root of Mr. Powell’s problems with violence.


From “Malignant Self Love” By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

“Pathological narcissism is a spectrum of disorders. People suffering from the full blown, all-pervasive, personality distorting mental health disorder known as the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) - are, indeed, more prone to violence than others.

Actually, the differential diagnosis (=the difference) between NPD and AsPD (Antisocial PD, psychopaths) is very blurred. Most psychopaths have narcissistic traits and many a narcissist are also sadists. Both types are devoid of empathy, are remorseless, ruthless, and relentless in their pursuit of their goals (the narcissist's goal is narcissistic supply or the avoidance of narcissistic injury).

Narcissists often use verbal and psychological abuse and violence against those closest to them. Some of them move from abstract aggression (the emotion leading to violence and permeating it) to the physically concrete sphere of violence.

Many narcissists are also paranoid and vindictive.”


This should not be taken in any way as a brief for Mr. Powell’s opponent, Congressman Towns. Frankly, I think my two year old critique of Mr. Towns is far more damning than anything ever offered up by any of his opponents (even Barry Ford, who I voted for in two primaries), although it thoroughly undermines Mr. Powell’s ridiculous notion that Towns hasn‘t brought home the bacon, an assertion almost as ridiculous as Mr. Powell’s fantasy that Towns’ failure to chair a full committee, as opposed to a powerful subcommittee, is somehow a result of Mr. Towns’ lack of initiative--what was Towns supposed to do; stick a knife into John Dingell?

(Not that I’m saying the end of Dingell’s Congressional career would a be a bad thing--and, I will concede that Mr. Powell’s record of accomplishment makes him a far better candidate to implement such a plan by any means necessary).

The fact is, if this were only about the next two year, it might be worth it to suffer Mr. Powell in order to retire Ed Towns.

But, it’s not. If Mr. Powell wins, we will likely be seeing him in Congress for the next 26 years, unless (GACK!!!) he instead favors us with a run for US Senate or the Mayoralty, followed by a decade of watching him debate Curtis Sliwa on NY-One.

It seems to me that two more years of Ed Towns is a relatively small price to pay for avoiding such air pollution. Moreover, a grateful nation will owe us large.