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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Brother Malcolm

By Judah
There is a new biography on Malcolm X that just hit stores by a celebrated author named Manning Marable. The title of the book is Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. This book is suppose to be Marable’s life work and that in itself is something that I can truly respect. When you dedicate yourself to a craft and spend endless hours of dreg work perfecting it, I can admire that. This book is suppose to shed more light on the life and death of one of our most important civil rights activist brother Malcolm.

Before we get into the controversy behind the book I’d like to share how Malcolm personally effected my life even though he died decades before I was brought into this world. My favorite rapper by the name of Nas would had a tendency of teaching in his rhymes even though he didn’t always intend to do so. He would rap about topics such as knowledge of self, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and supreme mathematics. Since he was my favorite MC I became fascinated by the subject matter that I never even heard of. As the inquisitive teen I was, I researched everything I could about the subject. In my research I came across the 5 Percent Nation and learned about their “Lessons”.

In learning the lessons I found that there were somethings I agreed with and some that I didn’t but it was the first time I came across points of views that were different from my own and those in my surroundings. From there I learned about the founder of the movement who went by the name Clarence 13x. He was the first person who taught these lessons to the masses outside the Nation of Islam.

Clarence 13x, before he started to bring about the movement  of the 5 Percenters, he was a member of the Nation of Islam. During this time he was a member of the mosque where Malcolm X was a minster. This was the first time I had heard about Malcolm X that wasn’t in a text book where he was was portrayed as a renegade or hateful man. It was another point of view of his life that I had not seen before. People love them some Martin and equally love to throw some shad on Malcolm.

During this particular time HBO started to play Malcolm X the movie starring Denzel Washington. It instantly became one of my favorite movies. This is probably Denzel’s greatest role. He really dug deep and played that role well. If he was ever to win an Oscar it should have been for that masterful portrayal rather than him playing a dirty cop in Training Day.

At this time I am a freshman in college and my brother called  my cell phone telling me about this book that he read. It was Malcolm's Autobiography as told by Alex Haley. The next week I come back from a dorm party and my roommate is sitting in his room reading the book. We never really talked about the subject before so I thought it was odd that he was reading something that I had been considering picking up also. A little later my girl friend at the time tells me she is thinking about reading book also. It is the same case in that we didn’t talk much about the subject expect some small talk here and there.

So now all of these people in my everyday life individually take it upon themselves to read this book. It was at this time my turn. So over the holiday break I open up the book and started to read. After I put down the book my life was never the same.

I value two books in my life. One being the King James bible from which I learn of the concept and love of God, the impact of sin, and repentance. The other book is The Autobiography of Malcolm X. In this book I learned about the importance of being well read, understanding history, respecting the concept of time, and how to be a man of character in this world. Passion....I learned a great deal about passion.

In a nutshell I value Malcolm. I have reread the book probably a dozen time and could most likely break down his life of the top of the head because I can appreciate and understand his worth to the world.

Now, there is a new book about the life of Malcolm and there is a bit of controversy lingering. There are many claims that this brook brings about but the one that I would like to focus on is his sexuality. The author states Malcolm had many homosexual relationships throughout his childhood and early adulthood while he was hustling in the streets. He also claims that he preformed sexual favors to men for money.

Personally after reading his first biography with Alex Hailey I understood the nature of his hustling in the sense that Malcolm had done and seen everything under the sun in the mean streets of Detroit. He was coked out of his mind and lived that lifestyle. In jail he was able to sober up and learn a new way of life that helped him become the man he was meant to be. After he joined the Nation of Islam he eventually met his wife by the name of Betty and had several children. Does this mean he stopped being Gay? I don’t know if he was or was not but I can say that one shouldn’t look at such things in focus. The light of Malcolm was his teaching and work within civil rights.

He had a deep love for his fellow man and died trying to undo 300 years of conditioning. Whether he liked men or women has nothing to do with his contribution to society nor should he be the poster boy of a sexual movement. My hope is that this new book will spark an interest in his life that will encourage people to examine his life and learn something. If not learn, form an educated opinion as to why you may not agree with him based on factual information.


Anonymous said...

I think the gay stuff is probably just smears.

In Spike Lee's biography film, Rudy (a half-black, half italian guy) panders to an "old white faggot" whose house Malcolm and Shorty burglarise.

Guilt by association?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. Its a great film. It could be a smear campaign. Im pretty sure he wasnt without flaws but I think as time passes people will focus more on his human qualities and less on his theories of the human experience.

Anonymous said...

I love the film too. I was completely blown away by it. I'm not a black guy, but I can identify with Malcolm's intensity.

He never did anything by half measures, which was both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.

Anonymous said...

Couldnt have said it better myself. As men in 2011 we taught to be Tame and without passion. Regardless of the subject matter or race I can respect anyone with a shred of intensity or passion. People with a high level of intensity are the real world changers.

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