Artist: Kevin PowellTitle: Someday We’ll All Be Free (Book)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana
In the rapid blood rush that is American society, very few leaders pause to make sure everyone is informed about the events that define our time. Prominent activist and former Vibe Magazine staff writer, Kevin Powell releases Someday We’ll All Be Free (Soft Skull Press), a book of essays that delve into the major political events that effect minorities. And yes, Donny Hathaway, from whom the book borrows its title, would still be singing cold lamentations as the twin towers fell, after Bush performed grand larceny on two elections, and as Hurricane Katrina followed New Orleans homes to the top of their roofs.
In essence, Someday We’ll All Be Free is a handbook for minorities geared to ensure that as many souls as possible can understand today’s current issues and how they reveal America’s apathy toward Black people. The book spares its audience all that overstated sophistifunk that tends to intimidate readers and summarizes the issues in simple straightforward language with the aid of a little Hip-Hop. True, writing “mad” instead of “a lot/very” as Powell does from time to time can come across as corny sometimes, but it is a step in the right direction of educating a Hip-Hop generation that has a reputation for being politically idle.
The Hip-Hop generation is a generation that needs to bear more tears. When Powell recalls the tragedy of Amadou Diallo, a young man who was shot 41 times by NYPD officers, the injustice of the situation blares like the neon bulbed streetlamps under which Diallo died. Powell does well to elucidate the horror of Diallo’s death writing:
“He [Diallo] had come to this country looking for his slice of the American pie. But alas, he and his aspirations were no more.”
Someday We’ll All Be Free is Powell’s embittered war cry and he rattles off a list of American injustices in the essay called “September 11th”. He pleas, “And why haven’t the ancestors of those slaves been given one shiny brown Abe Lincoln penny in reparations? Why do they hate us?”
Every motive is twofold and there is no doubt that Kevin Powell is making a pretty penny off this activism hustle. Yet, save for the interjected Christian doctrines that Powell sprinkles in from time to time, Someday We’ll Be All Free should be in every black person’s catalog. The fact remains that what is worse than being oppressed is not knowing who the oppressor is. There are more slaves than masters, and Powell reminds that revolution, if anything, is numerically in our favor.