Deric Muhammad Promotes No More Bloodshed Movement @ June 27th Concert in Houston hosted by Lil KeKe at the House of Blues.
The world’s farewell to Muhammad Ali is filled with well-deserved honor and respect. It’s hard to believe that decades ago when he took his historic humanitarian position against the Vietnam War he was one of the most hated men on Planet Earth. Now he is recognized as the G.O.A.T. To borrow the words of Fidel Castro; “history has absolved him.”
As I think over the standing ovation he has received in death versus the thunderstorm of hate he had to endure as a young Activist/Athlete I can’t help but wonder how much of it is sincere. As beloved as Ali has become, the truth is the sports world never wants to see his outspoken brand of Black activist/athlete again. Then I began asking close friends and family to help me identify one Black Activist/Athlete in today’s modern era. A few names were thrown out there here and there, but in the end we could not come up with one. Not one!!! Is Ali the last of a dying breed of athlete willing to take a stand for freedom, justice and equality? Where are today’s Black activist athletes?
Muhammad Ali was truly special. He was gifted athletically and through his study of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s teachings he became a mental giant. What many miss is the depth of his courage and conviction. Black athletes are conditioned to be good ambassadors for the sport, but groomed to never weigh in political or social issues. Those that tried were “tarred and feathered” then stripped of everything. I call it the “Ball and Chain.” If you want to make millions playing with this ball you have to accept the chains that come along with it.
Ali was warned by sports councils, executives, managers and other athletes that if he persisted in his expression of his views toward White America and her war he would lose it all. In June 1967 a cadre of top Black athletes including Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul Jabbar met in Cleveland for what is now called the Muhammad Ali Summit. The objective was to convince Ali to rethink his position on the draft refusal and try to change his mind. Instead of them changing his mind, he changed theirs. They ended up supporting of Ali. This was a pivotal moment for all Black athletes who historically had been considered “well-payed pieces of meat.”
Ali stood on his convictions even in the face of being convicted. He lost everything in the process; yet eventually won his case against the U.S. government. This is why he is lauded as “the greatest.” It has very little to do with what he did in the boxing ring. He is called the greatest because he stood for what he believed and was ready to lose everything, including his life, in the process.
The late rapper Notorious B.I.G. once rapped about liking his women “brainless.” I’m sure he was joking. However, it’s clear that’s how team owners, sports management and others like their athletes. To them it’s no joke. A vetting process has been put in place for Black athletes that weed out the outspoken, Muhammad Ali-minded men before they get started. You cannot be truly activist-minded and exist in today’s professional world of sports. If you are conscious you are not permitted to be vocal about it. The talented Black athlete is groomed from middle school to keep his mouth shut when it comes to racism, police brutality and politics and focus on making touchdowns, three-pointers and record-breaking relay performances. By the time they make it to the pros they are already conditioned to sacrifice their bodies without ever speaking their minds when it comes to the real world around them. Ali set the bar extremely high. Are the athletes of today even bothering to reach for it.
Some of today’s athletes have millions of dollars more than Ali had in his heyday as a heavyweight champion. Some of them have great business acumen and great minds surrounding them. They have millions of followers on social media so they are not as beholden to mainstream media as Black athletes in the sixties. Some are so well-off that if they never played another game of ball they and their families would be fine. But what today’s athlete doesn’t possess is “defiant conviction” in the face of the suffering of humanity. I can’t help but think of how Dwight Howard dared to tweet #FreePalestine and was forced to apologize and delete it from his social media page. How would Muhammad Ali have responded if he were Howard? Again, the goal is to never allow another voice as strong, influential and change-oriented as Muhammad Ali’s into professional sports ever again. He is the last of a dying breed. Or is he?
Black athletes must take a page from the life of Muhammad Ali. He was not content with money, fame, prestige and celebrity. He knew that there was more to life than just screaming fans and big paychecks. Many of you want to speak out about social issues, but you allow fear to strangle you and choke the life out of you. You permit your handlers keep you as far away from “the struggle” of your people as possible to keep you in the dark even though you possess a light from God within. Sadly, the NFL and the NBA does not just require of you your body, it requires of you your very soul. Muhammad Ali did not subscribe to fear. Neither should you. May the death of Muhammad Ali spark life into the athletes of today causing them to be a part of the movement toward equality.
There must be a series of private summits like that of the Cleveland Summit. Imagine if Lebron James, Cam Newton, Floyd Mayweather, Stephen Curry, Marshawn Lynch (an outspoken brother) and other influential athletes came together with grass roots community activists and devised a plan to use their influence for long-term social change. What could be accomplished if Black athletes got rid of their fear and stood against police brutality the next time a Black woman was pulverized by a law enforcement officer? Many of them probably wanted to say what was in their hearts when Sandra Bland was killed, but felt they couldn’t. That, my people, is sad. For God has not given us the spirit of fear. So if the spirit of fear exists in our strong gladiators, who put it there?
In my many conversations about this topic, most people concluded that there will never be an outspoken athlete like Muhammad Ali again. I tend to disagree. One thing that can be said about Black people is that no matter what we suffer, we never stop producing greatness. If we can produce one outspoken warrior, we can produce another. He may not float like butterfly or sting like a bee, but he’ll stand up for what’s right when the time comes. Long live the champ. May he inspire a new crop of athletes who answer to God; not their owners.
(Deric Muhammad is an accomplished Houston-based Activist/Organizer who addresses issues on Social Justice, Black Male Development, Police Brutality, Racial Inequality and other critical topics. He is the author of the book, “A.S.A.P. – A Street Activist’s Perspective”. To stay connected, you may follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Visit his official website: www.dericmuhammad.com)
10,000 FEARLESS:: In following the instructions of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, our brother Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad and the believers of Muhammad Mosque No. 15 doing it BIG in Atlanta from the 10,000 Fearless Headquarters of the South. Had to make a visit alongside Bro. Byron and get the blueprint directly from our brother. Nothing beats being on the grounds and witnessing the work being done. The spirit of those working here is contagious!
Let’s get this work in.
While out pushing in the Southeast community recently with my fellow Houston Fruit of Islam brothers we ran into this group of young gods. As soon as I walked up, one of the girls said, “Hey, I know you. You spoke at our school a few months ago at the Black History Month program.” Another one said, “Yea, he spoke at my school too!” They then began to tell the others the words I shared with them from The Honorable Louis Farrakhan about the importance of this generation owning their own and not working for someone. She also repeated what I said about young girls respecting themselves and why the boys must respect them also. One of them said, “We’ll never forget that speech.” See, you never know who you are touching. Another reason why I love speaking in schools.
Praise be to Allah!!! #OurWorkIsInTheStreets
Does anyone else get these comments when promoting black empowerment or any pro-black movement?:
“Why isn’t there an Asian History Month? Latino History Month? Native American History Month??”
“You’re just making it all about black people.”
“Why hasn’t there been any coverage on ______? Oh right, because they’re not black.”
Yikes! The above said is 9 times out of 10 said by non-black people of color (POC) who choose to derail everything black people do to make our struggles known, whether it’s creating a powerful hashtag on Twitter, or protesting in the streets after one of our children gets killed.
They argue that they can’t get their struggles known because they aren’t black, as though our blackness is a pass to make our struggles known first. FYI: #BlackLivesMatter is not the reason you don’t get recognition for your problems YOUR community faces. You have an opportunity to make known whatever your community is dealing with. As a member of that group, you would know best.
Why is: “you’re just making it all about black people!!” even an argument anymore? For your information, my main concern is with my own, since as a black person, I have the most experience with black people’s struggles. My first love is with my own. I can’t stand up for you, or love you, if I first don’t defend and love myself.
And it’s not like you don’t have hashtags to bring awareness, or a month to celebrate just your race/ethnicity, like us black people.
Asian & Pacific Islander History Month? That’s in May. Latino History Month or “Hispanic Heritage Month” is in September/October. Native American History Month? November.
This not saying you should just be happy with only a month to celebrate your unique cultures. It is saying though, that you should not put down black people for what we have, when you have the exact same thing as us, in this case.
There are existing hashtags on social media to make known the beauty, struggles, and stories of other POC:
#NotYourAsianSidekick (Asian-American Women); #NotYourMascot – (Indigenous Native People); and #ReclaimTheBindi (South Asian Women); just to name a few out of the many. I didn’t name them all, but there are plenty of hashtags on various social media outlets made specifically for other POC, not just black people. By the way: You can create more! You have the ability to bring out any problems your people face on a day to day basis under oppressive systems, with a little ending line to sum up your thought-provoking posts.
You have what black people have, in terms of methods of providing awareness. You want to make more hashtags? Go ahead. You want to call for a protest downtown in your city? Do that. You want to make a big deal out of your history month? Go all out. You want to call for a boycott due to injustices of your community specifically? By all means, please do so. Make the world hear your voice.
What you’re not about to do is derail everything pro black. What you’re not about to do, is blame black people for the lack of attention your cause might have gotten. We will gladly stand in solidarity with you, but do not blame us for a slow growth in awareness. Surprisingly enough, it’s not just white people who don’t like us black folk. It’s some of our non-black POC family too.
Careful… your anti-blackness is showing.
(Follow Nzinga Muhammad on Twitter @QueenNzinga13)
National Action Network (NAN), Muhammad Mosque #15, Unite or Die Campaign and the Atlanta LOC joined forces and took to the streets to “Occupy the Corners” near the West End and AUC Area, which includes Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University. NAN led this initiative behind the leadership of The National Youth Director, Mary Pat-Hector. NAN is a civil rights organization founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, and they work with the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of Justice, decency, and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender. This mission is what brings NAN and the Nation of Islam together because through What the Muslims Want #2, We want justice. Equal justice under the law. We want justice applied equally to all, regardless of creed or class or color, in fact this proves we all are fighting for the same thing.
Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad heard Ms. Mary Pat- Hector speak at the Atlanta LOC meeting regarding the increasing violence in the West End and AUC towards college students and the elderly. Immediately, Student Minister Sharrieff put a call out for FOI and the Atlanta LOC to join forces and back NAN in their efforts to secure the Corners for the students and residents. On both nights of November 6th & 7th from 6-9pm, Ms. Hector and Student Minister Sharrieff led everyone to “Occupy the Corners” and on both those nights there were no reports of violence or crime in the area. Mary Pat- Hector stated, “As we are occupying the corners we want to give our community resources that will strengthen them. I am just disappointed in the local pastors for not doing what they personally told me they would do and stand with us as we occupied the corners. What happened to your word is your bond? We held down 6 corners with NAN, NAACP, Unite or Die, Spelman, Morehouse and Minister Sharrieff and the Nation of Islam.”
During the time on the corners, at one point the FOI helped push a woman’s car to the nearest parking lot after it broke down at one of the lights. It was just a great night of love and unity as people with the same love and passion came together to help to transform a community and follow the instructions of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. This effort was a great demonstration of what Minister Farrakhan said, “What the black community needs is true faith in God, not guns, and men who love God! When you are unafraid of Man and you love God in Man, you can go in the hood like we do and stand in the gap between the guns. That’s what the 10,000 fearless men & women can do in our community.”
(By Kenetta Muhammad)
(Source: FinalCall.com) Janelle Monae and the Wondaland Records artists performed a tearful rendition of their new release â€œHell You Talmbout,â€ a powerful song that pays tribute to those who have fallen victim to police violence to those gathered August 17 in front of Chicago Bean in Millennium Park, downtown Chicago. â€œWe are particularly drawn to all these stories. This (song) is the least we can do. We believe silence is our enemy, but sound is our weapon, music is our weapon,â€ said Ms. Monae.
By Ebony S. Muhammad and Jesse Muhammad
HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Nearly a month after the death of Sandra Bland in police custody, there have been countless rallies, marches and protests demanding answers and justice for what many believe to be a murder made to appear as a suicide.
On August 9 — which also marked one year after the murder of Michael Brown, Jr., in Ferguson, Mo., by police officer Darrin Wilson — nearly 300 people gathered at the Waller County Jail to demand justice and answers for what really happened to Ms. Bland.
Among the speakers were protest organizers Secunda Joseph and Brandi Holmes as well as Congressman Al Green (D-9th), community activist Deric Muhammad, pastor Eddie Andre Deckard, and Prairie View A&M University student and Nation of Islam Student Association president Rasheedah Muhammad.
Not even the sweltering Texas heat could dissuade the growing crowd that surrounded the Waller County Jail. Protesters held signs that read “Black Lives Matter” , “You Cannot Oppress the People Who Are Not Afraid Anymore”, and the words of Sandra Bland from her Facebook wall, “Show me in American history where All Lives mattered.”
There were also signs with the faces and names of other Black men and women who were murdered by police, including Renisha McBride and Christian Taylor. The crowd could be heard chanting “No racist police!”
Rep. Green openly demanded a federal investigation. Activist Deric Muhammad demanded a county-wide boycott of Waller County businesses. Secunda Joseph passionately expressed, “This is NOT acceptable. It can’t be acceptable anymore! Keep fighting!”
After marching around the jail, the swelling crowd crushed through the front doors, overwhelming the entire building foyer while chanting and raising their fists to demand justice for Sandra Bland and others.
Although this day of remembrance and response was a peaceful protest, it was a bold demonstration of what putting aside titles, labels, gender, race and class could produce in sending a much needed message.
This was also another call to action with all roads leading to Washington, D.C., for the 20th commemoration of the Million Man March convened by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan which holds the theme, “Justice Or Else!”
Originally published 11.11.14
On November 8, I was a guest on Thru The Eyes of Faith Blog Talk Radio Show hosted by Imani Muhammad of Portland, Oregon. We discussed why #BlackLivesMatter, The Teachings 2.0 Twitter book of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the Farrakhan Twitter Army, national issues and more. Click below and listen