Estimated reading time: 16 minute(s)
By Brother Jesse MuhammadÂ
I just finished another excellent book. I think you should go and get it A-S-A-P. Not now, but right now!
I am a self-proclaimed member of the righteous nerd ring of book traffickers and read-a-holics who love to digest books; no matter if itâ€™s a hard copy or a digital download. Funny thing is I had told myself I would not buy any new books in 2014, because I felt I hadnâ€™t applied enough of the guidance, principles, strategies, etc., inside of the tons of books occupying my shelves, briefcases and backpacks.
Well, that â€˜goalâ€™ didnâ€™t work because I still found myself getting a few books here and there these past few months. I confess: I am more into shelfies than selfies! (Smile)
So, what is this new book you should get A-S-A-P? Well, interestingly, itâ€™s titled â€œA.S.A.P.â€ which is an acronym forÂ â€œA Street Activistâ€™s Perspective.â€Â Houston-based community servant, organizer, speaker, and author, Deric Muhammad, penned it and released it this summer. Heâ€™s called many other grandiose titles, however, to me heâ€™s my big brother, sibling, and friend, whom I am very happy for and inspired by.
When I was reading this book it had a different effect than most Iâ€™ve read because itâ€™s coming from an author whom I have personally watched strive to have his works congruent with his words. This book is not a mere intellectual exercise in fruitless commentary, hollow theories and analysis with INactivism. (Is that a word? It is now). Itâ€™s what he says in his introduction: â€œThe perspective of an on the ground activist striving to help my people through every-day struggles we face.â€
Â How could he have a street activistâ€™s perspective if he wasnâ€™t out in the streets? Since becoming a member of the Nation of Islam under the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan over 20 years ago, Iâ€™ve seen him transform from a menace to society (yeah, like the movie) to a budding man of God, addicted to fighting for justice for the little man and woman in the streets. He canâ€™t help himself. He eats, sleeps, and drinks the A.S.A.P. mentality. Itâ€™s not a clichÃ©; itâ€™s a way of life for him.
In the bookâ€™s introduction, Muhammad recounts aspects of his upbringing that ultimately shaped him for his unforeseen destiny. I admit reading it brought some tears to my eyes because I was there as his little brother. Weâ€™ve been through much, but you know he was under Godâ€™s Protection when he writes, â€œAs a youth I was invited into the crack house. As a youth minister I was invited to the White House.â€
What makes Muhammadâ€™s perspective unique? He contends that, â€œmost Black correspondents hired by media outlets donâ€™t really speak for the masses of Black peopleâ€ and â€œmuch of what they say does not reflect the reality faced by every-day Black folk in America.â€ Chapter 1 titled, â€œThe A.S.A.P. Mentality,â€ is a swift kick in the pants to readers on how we waste too much time going after and accomplishing those things we keep saying we want to do. â€œThere is something about living through a crisis that gives the human being an â€œA.S.A.P.â€ mentality. They understand the importance of achieving objectives â€œas soon as possibleâ€,â€ Muhammad writes.
The succeeding five chapters cover the power of sincere motive, resolutions for revolution, plantation politics, the adverse effects of White dollars backing Black organizations, and one of my favorites: The difference between a Black business and a â€œNegroâ€ business.
â€œWe must treat the Black customer with the same regard that we would treat a dignitary. It does not matter whether the brother or sister is spending $5 or $5,000. If you treat us like kings and queens, we will return to do business with you once again,â€ he writes.
Â The book then takes a major shift and the next seven chapters are sure to produce a whirlwind of discussions, critiques and even tears. Muhammad tackles the molestation of boys, teen pregnancy, the revealing dress attire of women, lesbianism, rape, and single Black women raising sons.â€œWhile it takes two to make a baby boy, it seems like the Black woman has been left with the burden of being the king maker. Black men are showing up in the bedroom, but not showing up in the delivery room,â€ he writes in Chapter 12, â€œDouble Duty: The Black Womanâ€™s Struggle Raising Boys Alone.â€
Anyone who is working in their community to save Black youth or striving to be the next generation of torchbearers definitely will enjoy the chapters on violence, gangs, conflict resolution, and leadership.
â€œSet trends, donâ€™t follow them! There is entirely too much imitation and not enough originality among the youth of today,â€ he advises on page 82. â€œBe yourself, but more importantly be intelligent about it. A successful (You) will inspire others to do the same.â€
The book is rounded out with chapters on Jewish control over hip-hop artists, the gift and curse of modern technology, why Black athletes should start leagues of their own, ungratefulness toward the elderly, a telling â€˜hoodie experimentâ€™ he did in light of the murder of Trayvon Martin and why no individual can rise above the condition of his people. The bonus chapter is an interview on what attracts a real man that he conducted with online magazineÂ Hurt 2 Healing.
Family, friends and supporters journeyed from various parts of the city to get their autographed copies. I am not surprised that the first printing of this book has sold so quickly because itâ€™s filled with so much substance from a respected community servant who has touched the hearts of the people with consistency, concern and vigor in the fight for justice.