A celebrated author breaks from tradition for more control over his latest literary endeavor.
From reality TV star, to congressional candidate, to best-selling author, Kevin Powell has lived a life not unlike a real-life Forrest Gump (or so his friends say). His uncanny ambition, open-mind, and big heart have taken him all over the world and allowed him to experience diverse people and perspectives – uniting them all under the simple concept of helping your fellow man.
"Life isn’t a straight line," says Powell. "It is an all over adventure."
Powell is sure to remain true to his humble beginnings in New Jersey and Brooklyn and the life lessons his southern single-mother provided him as a boy. It is this amazing balance between where Powell came from and where he is today that makes him more personable and more real than most folks you’d encounter.
"There was a point in my life where I needed to step back and figure out what was important to me. It wasn’t fame or attention; it was making the world better – helping people. I love people. If you can remember where you came from – be proud of where you came from – and love yourself, then you can start to love others too."
Powell has published his 11th book, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King on Lulu.com. It echoes many of these fundamental concepts and how they fit into a rapidly changing American society and culture in the modern day.
Powell’s love for writing started when he was just a child. He remembers his mother taking him to the library every Saturday and Sunday and being fascinated by books and their authors. Powell’s mother didn’t exactly see his artistic vision quite as clearly as he did however.
"My mom came from farm life," says Powell. "That was working to her – not writing. At first, my mom thought I was out of my mind."
Powell continued writing throughout college where he fell in love with journalism. He spent the entire summer of 1987 sitting on the steps of the New York Public Library writing in his journal. He soon found himself on a popular MTV reality show, then landed a spot writing articles for Vibe Magazine and working for childhood idol Quincy Jones.
"Now my mom started to come around," Powell laughs. "People in the neighborhood started talking about me. Now my mom is the first person to tell people about my book. Whenever I release one, she’ll call and say: ‘Did you say anything about me?’"
So how then does a successful author and speaker who has run for congress find self-publishing?
"If you’re ever in the world of media, you inevitably think to yourself: ‘There has got to be a better way,’ says Powell. “I’ve had agents and publishers turn to me and simply say: ‘We’re not gonna represent you anymore.’ They try to force you to make choices like ‘are you an artist or an activist?‘ A person can be both. The people at Lulu have been some of the coolest to work with and there is something to be said for feeling like you’re dealing with real people, where the CEO will actually reach out to you if you need him. Lulu really practices what I personally believe in how you should treat people."