Political activist, poet, writer, and entrepreneur Kevin Powell kicked off Kentucky State University’s Lecture Series on September 8 at Bradford Hall. Powell challenged students to have a plan for the future, but also know their history.

“You are not really educated if you don’t know who you are. If you don’t know your cultural history/background, your ethnic background, or knowledge of the state you grew up in, then you are not truly educated,” said Powell. “Whatever your passion is about, that’s what you should do with your life. I didn’t know that falling in love with books at 8 years old would lead me to fall in love with writing and finding my passion, purpose and plan.”

During Powell’s lecture, he went into depth about his life. He stressed to students that growing up in poverty wasn’t a disadvantage, but a footstool to acknowledge and appreciate the importance of education and purpose.

“I grew up poor on the East Coast, and my mother had an eighth-grade education so education was extremely important to her, which was stressed to me,” he said.

Powell has published 12 books including his bestsellers: “Barack Obama, Ronald Regan, and the Ghost of Dr. King,”  “Open Letters to America,” “Someday We’ll All Be Free,” and his most recent book, “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood.” The prolific writer will begin to work on his new book, which is yet to be titled, about hip-hop rap artist Tupac Shakur. Powell plans to describe the relationship between him and Tupac and outline to the rapper the struggles we face today in the upcoming book.

Powell also allowed students to talk with him more on a personal level. In addition to speaking as part of the university’s lecture series, Powell also talked with students in more intimate, separate workshops geared to just female students, male students and Greek-letter organizations.

“It’s meeting people that keeps me going. I give as much as I get all the time to people and I love to give my best to people,” Powell said. “This is a great institution. I love the people and the students here. This is truly a great place.”

Story by A’lea Cardenas