Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Kevin Powell :: It’s Time For New Leadership

Vibe contributor Kevin Powell drops what he has said may be his last essay on the need for new Black leadership in today’s Huffington Post.

It’s a bomb. Not the kind of turn-the-other-cheek thing we have come to expect from Barack Obama every time he’s dissed by an elder Black leader. He writes:

I certainly acknowledge and appreciate what the Civil Righters have done, but we younger African Americans are saying now, loudly, the jig is up and it is time for you to go, especially if you have not created hope and plans of action for our communities. The days of marching and protesting without a clear purpose are over. The days of voting for someone just because they are Black are over. Indeed, the multicultural legion of young Americans who’ve flocked to Obama’s campaign suggest that we want leadership that builds bridges, not be stuck in the rhetoric and realities of the past.

Powell, of course, is in a battle to unseat Brooklyn Congressman Edolphus Towns. He’s raised the kind of money and has the staff and machine that may make this September 9th primary competitive. Politicos predict Powell will run a close race in this changing district, a largely African American district with a sizable orthodox Jewish community that has also become more Latino and Afro-Caribbean in recent years.

Towns, a Baptist minister who has been in the position for 15 years, barely fought off a 3-way challenge in 2006 from Roger Green and City Councilman Charles Barron, who has endorsed Powell and who lost that race by only 4000 votes.

Powell’s list of supporters is no joke. RZA, Chris Rock, ?uestlove, and Fab Five Freddy all made appearances at his big fundraiser last week. Gloria Steinem and Afeni Shakur have offered endorsements.

Although the blogosphere was abuzz with the news that the headliner, Dave Chappelle, didn’t show, that will matter little on September 9th.

The intergenerational struggle that played out in 2002’s Newark mayoral election between Corey Booker and Sharpe James, and again in this year’s presidential election, most certainly will.

posted by @ 12:43 pm | 1 Comment

One Response to “Kevin Powell :: It’s Time For New Leadership”

  1. Anonymous says:

    And Kevin Powell offers what in terms of ‘new black leadership? The call is overdue yet dated. The previous generation f ‘younger’ and talented Black people had a similar call. But what will be different? That we all aspire to Obama-style politics? I think this question deserves more than what Powell and his contemporaries suggest.

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