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BrooklynBornThis blog started in my head when I listened in the 90's to friends who feared Brooklyn and newcomers who blogged about BK as if it barely existed before they arrived. Brooklyn as Tabula Rasa. My blog satisfies my need to hear and air feelings of B'klyn from the people whose life experience was born here. Also I hope to provide balance to some of the revisionist historical musings I've seen how Brooklyn and her residents used to be, we're still here. If we can all live as best possible while appreciating the past and neighbors we've inherited that would be great too.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

When Worlds Collide, Kevin Powell stays Real

So as promised last July 4th weekend was intoxicating and as a result I'm still not quite up to divulging and the funtastic details, but an email I just got reminded me of one moment from the weekend that was.
Afro Punk Skate Park
(Above AfroPunk Skaters from the "5Boro" team which is this wed's photo selection)

I slid on into the AfroPunk skate park built in downtown Brooklyn
for the annual Afro Punk festival (til July 13th) where seemingly
disparate worlds were merging in the ways that only Brooklyn can offer.

On the one hand you had unadorned skaters grinding and into the air and on the other you had helmeted Grammy winners (Vernon Reid) feet coolly on the ground and in between it all, none other than candidate for congress, Kevin Powell.

Afro Punk Skate ParkKevin PowellAfro Punk Skate Park
Congressional candidate Kevin Powell (center) Keeping it Real between worlds of Brooklyn

I've noticed that Kevin Powell (yeh I can't help but refer to him with both names)
is a regular presence in the neighborhood as well as in local community affairs.

Kevin Powell and Vernon were rappin (ol'skool definition) and so rather than step in I waited to test him on the issues. He was cool enough to give me a pound and ask how I was doing in a totally believable manner, ( I skipped the part about my childhood traumas ) and before I knew it he was seemingly answering the "what are you doing here?" question by revealing that he was digging the skate demos and that he had been a skater as a kid. I admitted the same, and in our shared moment of realization, that we each were two of a handful of urban black skaters in the early 80's, we embraced and launched into bluesy rendition of "Kick, Push" which swayed me toward voting for him. Okay we didn't but in my imagination we did and Vernon laced the track.
Afro Punk Skate Park
Kevin Powell did share (in addition to his skater cred) his opposition to the current Atlantic Yards project. Making my vote for him more likely although it would be great if anyone had been asked to vote on Atlantic Yards at all.

Finally I couldn't help but ask what he thought of the upcoming "Real World: Brooklyn Edition." Kevin of course was an original cast member as all us ol' folks remember from the mythic 90's and according to reports the next time the world gets "Real" it will happen just a few blocks from where we were standing. Kevin Powell tolerated my question which for him (he's a noted author and columnist) has to be the same as:

Photo: Theo Wargo/WireImage.com
Takeshi Murakami being asked what he thinks of being Kanye's "album cover artist".

Without missing a beat Kevin Powell responds "Hey... Brooklyn's where it's at!" Indeed, Brooklyn is where it's at, I couldn't agree more. And with that natural and diplomatic answer, um sold.

So yeh, based on this thorough vetting and the fact that in my three BK decades I've never even seen my current Congressman (but I seem to run into Kevin Powell in the neighborhood on the regular) I have to officially throw the full weight of the "UBB" blog behind his candidacy and implore you the readers to do the same.

Afro Punk Skate Park
The race is on...

Hopefully that means all five of you will remember to vote this Fall for Kevin Powell, and of course any other cool African-American community activists you find on the ballot.

skate or vote but don't just die!

Btw if you want to see the man in person and contribute to his cause check below:

WEDNESDAY, JULY 9TH, 2008
KEVIN POWELL FUNDRAISER HOSTED BY DAVE CHAPPELLE
7-10PM
THE MADISON/EUGENE
27 West 24th St bsetween 6th Ave and Broadway
***$50 young professionals under 30***
$100 general admission
$1000 VIP admission to hang w/Chappelle & Powell
$2300 VIP reception & photo w/Chappelle
visit www. kevinpowellforcongress. org/contribute to RSVP
featuring a live performance by
EMILY KING
w/ DJ REBORN spinning (***Yay Reborn!***)

(FOLLOW UP: Added Thu 7/10)

So the idea of actual support for Kevin Powell's campaign led me to pay to attend the fund raiser listed above. I really wanna support the brother, but the event was a mess and hopefully not reflective of him. After a long wait I had a short stay and left before the night really went downhill. For more check Gawker, I'm gonna go look for Dave Chappelle.