Kevin Powell ‘Open Letter’ to Chris Brown

Everyone seems to have an opinion about Chris Brown lately. Amongst those is former MTV Real World cast member and community activist Kevin Powell!

Kevin Powell is an activist, public speaker, and award-winning author and editor of 10 books, including Open Letters to America (essays) and No Sleep Till Brooklyn (poetry). He’s heavily involved in the urban community and ran for a Democratic seat in Congress during 2010.

Which is why Kevin felt the need to address Chris and his behavior. In a six page open letter to Chris (man that thing was long), he addresses the incident at Good Morning America and his behavior in general. In an attempt to get through to Chris, he had some STERN words for the R&B superstar.

Although I doubt Chris will ever read this, as Kevin mentioned in his letter, it would’ve been better face to face. Which leads me to believe that Chris didn’t care for some one on one time. Below is a (condensed) version of what Kevin wrote. Click the link below for the full letter on Kevin’s blog.

Dear Chris:

I really did not want to write this open letter, and would have
preferred to speak to you in person, in private. Indeed, ever since
the domestic violence incident with Rihanna two years ago there have
been attempts, by some of the women currently or formerly in your
circle, women who love and care deeply about you, to bring you and I
together, as they felt my own life story, my own life experiences,
might be of some help in your journey. For whatever reasons, that
never happened. By pure coincidence, I wound up in a Harlem recording
studio with you about three months ago, as I was meeting up with R&B
singer Olivia and her manager. You were hosting a listening session
for your album-in-progress and the room was filled with gushing
supporters, with a very large security guard outside the studio door.
I was allowed in, as I assume you knew my name, and my long
relationship to the music industry. I greeted you and said I would
love to have a talk with you, but I am not even sure you heard a
single word I said above the loud music. I gave your security person
my card when I left, asked him to ask you to phone me, but you never
did, for whatever reasons. And that is fine.

But I have thought of you long and hard as I’ve watched you, from a
distance, as you dealt with the charges of physical violence against
your then-girlfriend Rihanna, as you were being pummeled by the media
and abandoned by many fans, admirers, and endorsers, and ridiculed on
the social networks. You were 19 when the altercation with Rihanna
occurred, and you are only 21 now. Yes, you’ve achieved both
international fame and success in a way most people your age, or any
age, could never imagine. But you also are at a very serious
crossroads because of the dishonor of your persona derived from your
beating Rihanna. There is no way to get around this, Chris. You must
deal with it, as a man, now and forever. For our past can both be a
prison we are locked in permanently or it can be the key to our
freedom if we glean the lessons from it, and deal with it directly.
All the external pressures and forces will be there, Chris, but no one
can free us but ourselves. And it must start in our minds and in our

Kevin lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Email him at or follow him on Twitter

Read Full Letter Here


One thought on “Kevin Powell ‘Open Letter’ to Chris Brown

  1. Hi Kevin I just called in with Rev. Sharpton. (cut me off too soon) I came in as the show was already in progression. We must hold one another up in our families and communities. We as a people must allow someone to heal from a hurt, if we keep opening the wound it will never heal properly. I’m sure his people told GMA Rhiana was off limits, but for the rush of the rating, she went there. This isn’t a healthy healing process. I was recently unemployed from the medical industry and I returned to school, my former colleges are baffled as to why I’m not continuing my education in healthcare. When I tell them that I’m majoring in Sociology, they insinuate that it’s no money in that field, “it’s more in medical”. This may be true but there is an arsenal of wealth in just knowing that someone will benefit from the work that I put in ( I love my people). We must start at the foundation of society, the family, if we give our children strong foundation it will limit their tendency to buckle. You are right, there is far too much depression that goes unchecked in the black community that later turns to other mental problems. Bipolar disorder is at an all time high in the hood, (maybe other places as well but I say what I see) most deal with by self medicating (drugs and alcohol) and it not helping. We have to teach our men to first be human and hurt and expression is a human trait, not a female trait. Keep up the good works (I will be checking out your work) If it’s meant for you talk to Chris Brown personally, it when happen when it’s supposed to happen, the time of reception may not have matured yet.

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