Harold D. Powell is passionate about a number of things, chief among them being communication and community.
So it’s no surprise that Powell has been offered and accepted the role of Community Correspondent at The Keel, a position made possible through a partnership with the Community Foundation of St. Clair County
“I’m beyond thrilled. I don’t think there’s words to express my feelings and gratitude,” Powell says.
“Even beyond me getting the position, I think the Community Correspondent role is something that’s much needed. Someone’s life will be touched in a positive light. I really believe that.”
The Community Correspondent role appreciates Powell’s value as a member of our community and provides The Keel the opportunity to tell even more stories of positive change and innovation in St. Clair County, to provide our readers a more complete picture of the Blue Water Area. Powell is immersed in the community and provides an important perspective as a Black man in the region who can help tell the stories of people of color, a voice that is all too often left out in our country’s media landscape.
“The Community Foundation looks forward to Harold being a consistent voice and adding a diverse perspective in our local media,” says Randy Maiers, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.
“Our organization and board felt that it was important to bring a local lens to the growing and important national movement to increase diverse media voices and bring more positive attention to our communities of color.
“With the support of two of the Foundation’s donor advised funds, we are proud to fund this community correspondent position to cover local transformative projects, social justice, neighborhoods and more from our Thumb coast region.”
Born and raised in Port Huron, Powell graduated from Port Huron High School, class of 1996. As a young man he would spend time living in Detroit, perhaps most notably when he attended Specs Howard School of Media Arts, but Port Huron kept calling Powell home. His teenage son Devon keeps Powell rooted here.
For the past several years, Powell has been working at a local manufacturing facility, working to provide for his son. The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic would leave him without a job but Powell took that development as an opportunity to start his own company, Phantom Pen Media
. He provides promotional services for local businesses, creating logos, social media campaigns, videos, and other marketing materials.
It’s a skill he developed while pursuing one of his other passions: Music. Powell has been rapping and creating music under the stage name Choze since he was 16 years old.
“Pursuing music, I didn’t have someone to promote me. I had to learn how to do that myself. I always thought, Why don’t I use those skills for myself?” Powell says.
“Starting my own business is something I’ve always wanted to do, it’s something me and my friends always talk about. At the factory, I’d come home exhausted and couldn’t work on Phantom Pen. Now I had the free time to work it all out.”
As Choze, Powell raps with a positive message; he would perform Hold On
, a song about mental health, at a recent Bridge Builders Counseling & Mentoring banquet.
Spreading positive messages through song and working with Bridge Builders are the type of actions that would foreshadow Powell’s future role with The Keel. He’s especially interested in providing more opportunities for the region’s young people.
“I hope to bring a spotlight to our community, to shine a spotlight on our minority population. All of our minority populations are a beautiful people and a productive part of society. How we are portrayed in the media is far from the truth,” Powell says.
“We’re all people and we have feelings that are important. This position can shine a light on people of color and make people’s lives better. That’s more than enough for me.
“I want to give back to the community any way I can. There’s not enough of that.”