“I have been through a lot in my life, so I have a lot to say and remember.“
Student. Activist. Organizer. Philanthropist. NYT op-ed writer. NYT op-ed subject matter. One-time hip-hop producer. One-time subject of would-be hip-hop producers. Campus personality. Pine street resident.
Kennedy Odede ’12 is a composite of all these things, on top of everything else that he is. But you probably already know this, if you’ve been keeping your eyes peeled and ears open, and most importantly, if you’ve been following this blog to any capacity. If not from us, then probably from the Argus, the university’s website, Idealist.org, or even your mother. An exemplary representation of why Wesleyan possesses the granola hopey-changey do-good public persona it does, Mr. Odede as a tale and a legacy has consistently been surging upwards in the public sphere. Continuing this trend is the recent addition of two more items to his ever-increasing list of descriptors: book author and book subject. Bouncing off a strong reception to Nick Kristof’s op-ed in the New York Times, he has decided to start working on a book about his life.
No surprise, really. After all, Mr. Odede is, in and of himself, a living embodiment of the rags-to-friggin’-awesome story (a popular variant of the rags-to-riches story). Born into toughness in the slums of Kenya, he fought for social justice all the way into his early 20s, which is when a college girl from Colorado – Jessica Posner ’09 – suddenly shows up, joins him in the fight for social justice, and then transplants him to Connecticut, USA, where he continues to fight more for social justice. The narrative also has a layer of romance; to put it in Nick Kristof’s words: “And one more thing to make the story perfect: In June, after Kennedy graduates, he and Jessica plan to marry.”
That’s a book waiting to happen right there, with some crazy-ass neo-noir film adaptation – written and directed by Charlie Kaufman (or more realistically, Sean Penn as financed by Bill Clinton) – surely to follow.
On Zach’s supreme command, we here at Wesleying got in contact with him to talk about it – and he was nice enough to send a detailed email back (including the picture up there). Read on?