We all knew this would happen. Did we think it would happen so soon?
A cast member of MTV’s “The Real World” is running for Congress. Kevin Powell, otherwise known as the serious guy with the flat-top from the show’s first season, is mounting a primary challenge against Ed Towns in New York’s tenth district. Notably, he is holding an event with Dave Chapelle tonight.
Powell is promising to clean up crime in his district and provide “immediate relief for those hit by the current recession.” His platform laments the lack of “marriagable males” in Brooklyn’s black communities due to their high incarceration rate.
The 10th District is a majority-minority district, but it includes neighborhoods like Clinton Hill, that are on the edge of gentrification. Powell’s platform seems to oppose this transformation. He wants to protect Title 8 and expand rent stabilization programs. Powell talks about the changing character of Brooklyn as if it were a humanitarian disaster. In his platform he says he seeks to, “Address gentrification with human locally oriented solutions.” Better than inhuman solutions. More concretely, he opposes the Atlantic Yards project which promises high end residential and commercial development around Brooklyn’s new arena, and the future home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
I have always had a soft spot for radicals who stand in the way of “so-called ‘Progress,'” and by that measure, Powell’s platform warms my heart. Powell is running well to the left of the CAFTA-supporting Towns. Powell wants to end the war in Iraq ( a good thing, I suppose), but then he seeks to, “Propose American and multi-lateral action to end Black genocide in the Sudan; the rest of Africa and the Diaspora.” He wants to repeal the Rockefeller drug laws in New York and equalize crack vs. cocaine sentencing guidelines (Take that Wall Street!). He seeks to repeal modifications to the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. It’s hard not to admire a candidate who earnestly wants to discuss banking legislation that is from three quarters of a century ago. And it seems Powell, puts his money where his mouth is. His campaign website was built by Klad Creative, a minority and women-owned firm based in New York.
Of course, I think it will be difficult to win in Brooklyn while opposing the measures that will bring it the basketball team and luxury stores its new and old inhabitants seem to want. And there is no serious conservative who would win in this district. But, with the presence of Chapelle and the strident tone of the campaign, this could be an entertaining race. Perhaps one of the few where the Gramm-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act is a live issue.