Sunday, December 11, 2011


I arrived at the lecture hall half an hour early to secure myself a good seat, expecting the room to be crowded. Instead I found a dark empty room. How strange, I was expecting this to be a huge event. After all, the grandson and first male heir of a revolutionary man has come all the way to Toronto to speak to us.
As the event is about to start nearly an hour later, I’m embarrassed that there are no more than 15 people in the room from a student population of 70,000 at the University of Toronto. It seems as if people have completely forgotten how hard this man had fought for our human rights, changing the course of history forever.
His grandson; a young, tall, black man sits at the front of the room. There is a gentle aura around him that very few people carry. He and his family have been through so many troubles, yet, there he sits calmly with prayer beads in his hand, and a warm smile on his face resembling a wise grandfather, who is about to tell his grandchildren an interesting story.
After being introduced, he steps up to the podium, and starts off by reciting verses from the Qur’an in Arabic. His voice is quiet.
In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.
There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his Messenger.
May the praise and blessings of God be upon Muhammed and the progeny of Muhammed.
Then, with his voice full of pride says:
“My name is Malcolm Shabazz, and I’m the grandson, the namesake and personal heir of a great Muslim revolutionary leader, by the name of El-Hajj Malik El- Shabazz, or more widely known to the masses as Malcolm X.”

He asks, “By a show of hands how many of you have read the autobiography of Malcolm X written by Alex Haley?”
Quite a bit of hands were raised.
“That’s more than half. That’s good, Alhamdulillah. By a show of hands how many of you have seen the movie produced by Spike Lee?”
Even more hands are raised.
“Ok,” he nods.
He explained, he asked the same questions at Tennessee State University, which is considered to be a historical black university. He spoke at the African Studies department. There were a couple hundred people present, and when he asked how many of them read the book, surprisingly only one person raised their hand, which happened to be the Christian Baptist Minister who actually came with him. One-quarter of the audience watched the movie.
Martin Luther King
“For me this is something that is totally unacceptable and this is something that’s by design. In the United States, they promote Martin Luther King; we celebrate his birthday. We get the day off from school; it’s considered a holiday.
“But with my grandfather, he doesn’t really have a holiday. We don’t celebrate anything, and the reason for this is because those in power within the United States, they would rather us take the position of Martin Luther King, and not the position of my grandfather, Malcolm X.”
He spoke to a student the day before who said, in her class, they promote Martin Luther King and hold him in high regard, but when her teacher spoke of his grandfather, they associated him with violence.
Shabazz explains the differences.
Malcolm X
“My grandfather said that we should never be the aggressor, but if a man puts his hand on you, then you should make sure that he doesn’t have the ability to put his hand on anybody else. That you should defend yourself; you should defend your family; and you should defend your home.
“Martin Luther King, he had a philosophy, ‘turn the other cheek,’ which he adopted from Ghandi.
“Some people when they meet me, sometimes they say, ‘yeah, we support your grandfather, we don’t agree with Martin Luther King.’ This is divisive. I believe that my grandfather and Martin Luther King were both just as significant.”
Shabazz gave the audience a brief history of Malcolm X for those who might not be familiar.
Malcolm X was described as “well-mannered and highly intelligent” by his white foster parents. He was the only black kid in class yet was voted as class president. Even though he was popular, everyone referred to him as “nigger.” They called him “nigger” so often, that he began to think of it as part of his name.
Malcolm X as a kid
“They didn’t call him nigger because they held any particular animosity towards him,” Shabazz said. “The racism was so thoroughly ingrained within the culture and of the people and politics of the society at that time and even up to today.”
Despite the fact that he was one of the top students at his junior high school, he dropped out in the eighth grade after being discouraged by his teacher who told him his aspirations of becoming a lawyer were “no realistic goal for a nigger.” He suggested him to be a carpenter, to do something with his hands.
Soon enough he began his life filled with crime. Right before he went to prison, he was involved in many burglaries of the wealthy. One day, he came across a particular watch that he liked, and decided to keep it. He left it for repairs at a jewelry shop, and when he came back to get it, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
While in prison, he argued against religion, against God. He was so discourageable, that the worst of the worst of prisoners (rapists, drug-dealers, gangsters) called him satan.
This gives us an idea of his mentality and mind state at this time.
Shabazz says, all of this may seem negative, but sometimes we have to take the good with the bad.
“I believe in something as a Muslim, it’s called pre-ordained; that everything is recorded clearly in a book and that everything happens for a reason.
“I’ve often been in situations, where I thought, ‘Why me? Why is this happening to me?’ But when I look back, I can understand why it is that I went through some of the hardships that I went through. And if I wouldn’t have went through the hardships that I went through, I don’t believe I would be standing before you here today.”
If his teacher had supported Malcolm X and his aspirations of becoming lawyer, he might have became a pretty good lawyer. But that means there would never have been a Malcolm X.
“If there was never a Malcolm X, then who’s to tell where we would be at today? Something that can seem so insignificant in our lives could really change the whole course of the direction that we go in.
“If he would never have went back just to get that watch, he would have never got arrested and went to prison. And if this would have never happened, then maybe there would have never been a Malcolm X. So, Alhamdulillah, Allah is the best of planners and everything happens for a reason.”
He says he tries not to regret any situation because obstacles are placed within our lives to make us stronger.
Early in Shabazz’s life, he was constantly moving from one place to another. He remembers when he was 11-years-old in Texas looking up at the stars one night, asking himself, ‘Where will I be next year when I look up at the stars again?’  Every year, he would look up at the stars and reflect where he was the previous year and where he’d like to be the next.
“From one year to the next, things have never been as I planned them to be. Never.”
As a child, he didn’t know why exactly his family was held in such high regard in the community.
One instance when he realized why was when he was 10-years-old and just came back from summer camp. His grandma was dropping him off with a family he was staying with in Philadelphia. The lady was not home at the time and his grandma was in a rush so, she left him with $3,000 in cash and cheque to give to the lady.
Until the lady arrived, he decided to meet up with his friend, and they decided to go to the corner store to get something to eat. This was a rough neighbourhood, and he pulled out his big wad of money to pay. Naturally, a bunch of 16-year-olds noticed, and stole the money from him. He was too small to fight them.
Distressed, he sat on the steps, not knowing what he was going to do. A Muslim sister, wearing the hijab and abaya all in white, was passing by and asked him what was wrong.
Shabazz told her the story, and she told him, ‘don’t worry about it,’ and went inside to make a call.
Shortly after, 30 or so men came to him and asked him what happened. After hearing his story, they returned again and gave him back even more money than was stolen. The same boys that stole the money from him, returned to apologize.
“We didn’t know who you were, we apologize. If you ever have any problems please let us know,” they told him.
The prison in Attica, New York, where Shabazz was jailed for years has a 100 per cent white workforce and the majority of inmates are black and Hispanic. The prison is the town’s largest source of income; without it the employees would be farmers.
To give you an idea of the environment, the officers in this prison have tattoos of black babies hanging from trees.
“There’s people in here that are in here for life, they’re never coming home, they’re hardcore. And when I got there, one of the things they told me, they pulled me to the side, and said ‘Don’t look at any of them in the eye.’
“It was interesting. They were scared of them. In here, there’s about 3,500 inmates, 300 police. How do they keep control? Through divide and conquer. They throw all of these little things in the mix, to keep us fighting amongst each other. And that’s how they keep control.”
“Me, I just had problems with a lot of the police, who harboured an extreme amount of hatred towards me, simply because of my family’s lineage.”
He had some altercations and found himself in an upstate box with 23 ½ hours of lockdown, in Dannemora, New York next to the border of Canada.
He soon heard about a deputy superintendent there who was black, which is rare, so every time the gate would open, he would jump up to try to have some human contact.
One day he managed to catch up with the black officer, who was walking down the corridor.
Shabazz got excited and said, “Excuse me brother, let me talk to you for a minute!”
The officer came back with a look of disgust on his face.
“What did you call me?” he asked.
“I said brother,” Shabazz replied.
“What do you mean by brother?”
“You’re black. I’m black. That’s why I called you brother.”
“I’m not black.”
“You’re not black? What are you?”
“I’m French Canadian.”
Shabazz became annoyed when he heard that. Shabazz told him that he was born in France himself, but he doesn’t say that he’s a European or a Frenchman; he says he’s black.
“If they put an all-point bulletin on you, are they going to say ‘we’re looking for one French Canadian or are they going to say we’re looking for a black male?’” Shabazz asked.
“I wouldn’t be in that position,” was the officer’s response.
***Importance of education and unity***
When Malcolm X embarked on his pilgrimage to hajj, he had an awakening. This was at a time when few Americans had ventured outside of America. During his time abroad, he realized that the doctrine within the Nation of Islam was completely false. For instance, the Nation of Islam believed everyone in Mecca was black, and that you couldn’t even enter the city if you weren’t black.
Malcolm X was surprised to see white men with blue eyes and blonde hair sitting together with black men, eating from the same plate, drinking from the same cup, praying together. It was the first time in his life that he felt like a complete human being.
While traveling overseas, and meeting with different leaders, Malcolm X realized that we had to stop calling it a civil rights issue and isolating the problem because it was a human rights issue. He realized that their struggles needed to be linked with Africans in apartheid South Africa, with the struggles of the oppressed masses in South America, with the struggles of brothers and sisters in the Middle East, Shabazz explained.
“When he did that, he was then prepared to take the United States up on charges within the United Nations and this is when he became a real threat.”
He denounced his previous belief that the white man was the devil, and that never again would he put a blanket indictment on an entire group of people. There were white people who wanted to help him in the past, but he didn’t let them, which he regretted now.
“This position that the white man is the devil is divisive, and it actually served the agenda of those in power,” Shabazz explained. “It’s not actually about black and white. It’s about those select few in position of power who keep control through various divide and conquer tactics. So anything that’s divisive, it serves their agenda. When he came back and he started promoting unity, I guess they said ‘he has to go.’”
It was his grandfather who said, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow only belongs to those who plan and prepare for it today.”
Sometimes people aren’t aware of their own plight that they’re in because they’re uneducated, Shabazz explained.
An example would be Harriet Tubman who freed many slaves through her Underground Railroad into Canada. One of the things that Tubman said was that she could have freed a lot more slaves if only they had realized that they were slaves. This was during a time of physical slavery, when African Americans were being whipped and bounded by chains and shackles.
“Due to their thorough indoctrination, you couldn’t convince them to try to run away from the plantations. They just felt like they were slaves, doing the physical slavery, and this is something that extends all the way up until today, where we have people that are slaves, and they don’t realize that they’re slaves,” Shabazz said.
It’s like a stray dog, Shabazz explains. You might try to pet it, but since it doesn’t know you, it might bite you, it might try to flee. But once you subdue the dog, put a leash on it, tie it to a tree and keep it there for some time, feed it every time it gets hungry, it becomes dependent on you.
“There will come a time where you can take the leash off of the dog and it won’t run or snap at you, it will stay there right by your side. And it’s unfortunate that this is what happens today.
“If you look at the youth of today, they don’t know what was going on 20, 40 years ago. If you don’t know what was going on 20, 40 years ago, you don’t even know what’s going on right now.”
While students in private schools excel in their studies, public schools are having trouble affording updated books, Shabazz said. As rapper Nas says in his lyrics: “Niggaz play with Play Stations, they build a Space Stations.”
As a kid, whenever Shabazz would watch typical war movies with the two opposing forces marching head on towards each other on a battlefield, he would always think, ‘That seems stupid. Why are they fighting like that?’
Shabazz explained, battles are not fought like war movies today. Instead, there are special forces who use guerilla tactics, with different strategies and techniques. They won’t ever fight head on, visible to the entire world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Last month, Houston had the honor of welcoming two young radicals at the forefront of the conscious revolution taking place among progressive minds. JR Valrey is a well-known author, activist and journalist from Oakland, California. His first book, Block Reportin, chronicles several years worth of interviews with notables in entertainment, politics and beyond. Beyond simple conversations, the book documents some of the most significant cultural events to take place in the new millenium to date in the words of individuals whose lives are now or have been directly affected by their outcomes. From the 2009 police murder of Oscar Grant to the so-called "legal" execution of Stan "Tookie" Williams, JR's brand of unapologetically honest journalism, as demonstrated on the pages of Block Reportin, speaks straight to the heart of the issues behind the headlines and clearly illustrates why he is aptly named the People's Minister of Information.

There are few men who have walked this earth and left such a lasting impression that their names evoke respect internationally from men and women of all walks of life, age group and racial identity. The late, great Malcolm X was a peace maker and revolutionary thinker who ushered the consciousness of an entire nation, and yes, even the world into a new era of healing our racial, social and political wounds. He has been and will always be remembered as one of the greatest leaders our people have ever known, period.  Hajj Malcolm El Shabazz was born nearly twenty years after the assassination of his grandfather. Many would hide in the shadow of such a great man, but Hajj Malcolm has become a force within his own rite. He has experienced more in just shy of 3 decades, than many twice his senior. He lives, not only to tell of it, but to inspire others by what he has done and learned since then. 
JR and Hajj Malcolm have been traveling around the country together on a speaking tour, sharing their experiences and insight into issues affecting the people of the world today with audiences large and small. Their stop in Houston marked an historic occasion for the Bayou City, as we celebrated both leadership and legacy in these two young visionaries.

Both: Tell us a little about the tour. Where have you been so far? Any memorable experiences? Did you ever dream of traveling the world and touching the lives of so many?

JR: On this particular leg of the tour, we have traveled throughout the state of Texas over the last two weeks. We spent time speaking at schools, community centers, and bookstores pushing our people to get organized, and to work together. The most memorable things for me about this tour were some of the old colorful personalities that I reconnected with, as well as the new people I met. In Houston, you and me had some time to discuss media among other things, we met the Black rockers from Peekaboo Theory, in Austin my longtime Oakland homie who recently moved, rapper Queen Deelah, came out. Videographer Eddie Abrams also came out. A family cooked dinner for us, and we stayed with former Black Panther political prisoner Robert King of the Angola 3, and did a presentation for the National Black United Front and at Resistencia bookstore. In Houston, where we were paralyzed from the heat, we met up with a youth summer camp, and in Fort Worth we went to Dock’s Book Shop. I didn’t know that I would touch the lives of so many, but ever since I was really young, I knew my life had a purpose.

Hajj Malcolm: I really stress the importance of education, and unity. So, I’ve been on a national campaign along with the People's Minister of Information, JR, to raise awareness and promote this unity amongst those of us who have a common cause, similar aims and objectives and have the ability to distinguish friend from foe. Some of the places we’ve recently toured include Chicago, Detroit and Gary, Indiana where we connected with the grandson of Jeff Fort who started the Black P Stone Nation; we established a line with Larry Hoover of the Gangster Disciples and sat down with some of the top generals of the Vice Lord organization.  In California, we conversed with Lil’ Tookie who is the son of the late Stanley “Tookie” Williams who was executed on Death Row by Arnold Schwarzenegger. And one of the elders whom I consult with, and respect the most would be T. Rogers of Black P Stone Jungle out of Los Angeles. Though all of these conferences have centered around the promotion of unity amongst those of us individuals & organizations who share general common points of interest. So it was in this same vein that we toured several cities throughout Texas; including Houston, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth. We screened a documentary produced by JR entitled "Operation Small Axe" which highlights the Oscar Grant case, as well as police brutality and terrorism in general and discussed the trappings of the mainstream media, among other things. One of the highlights for me was to be welcomed to stay with former political prisoner Robert King Wilkerson of the Angola 3 who served 31 years in U.S. concentration camps, and 29 of which was served in solitary confinement. 

JR, your book, Block Reportin’ has been very well received. How was that project birthed? Do you have plans to write any others in the future?

JR: The idea was birthed several years ago, most notably when my son’s mother started telling me how interesting my interviews were. She stressed that I get a book organized, and helped formulate a concept for it. This was in 2006-2007. It took 4-5 years for me to finish and be happy with it. I do have plans to write more books. I’ll probably start, by just continuing the Block Reportin’ series, which consists of compilations of interviews; I’m working on part two now, which will include India.Arie and Herbie Hancock, as well as Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, among others.

Hajj Malcolm, how do you balance external pressures regarding your lineage and legacy with your personal mission?

Hajj Malcolm: Growing up people often expected me to be a certain type of way because of who my grandfather is, and the family that I come from, but I often rebelled against that. I don't feel that it's ever beneficial to encourage someone to fill in or replace someone else's shoes, but rather one should be encouraged to grow within their own shoes, and to feel comfortable growing within who they are. So, growing up I often had difficulty dealing with that pressure. However, today I'm more of a revolutionary than a reactionary. It must also be bore in mind that my legacy doesn't just begin with my grandfather, and it won't end with me. The legacy is not about me, and it isn't suspended in the time frame of the here and now... When my aunts are gone and when I'm gone, we have children that will still be here. And ultimately, my daughter Ilyasah won't have to just say that her great-grandfather is Malcolm X, but that her father is Malcolm Shabazz, and that she is Ilyasah Shabazz. 

Both: How did this inspirational partnership begin and what do you hope to achieve with this tour?
JR: I wrote Malcolm, along with my comrade Ra’Shida, when he was in jail in the mid 2000’s. Years went by, Malcolm tracked my number down, and I got a call out of the blue telling me that he was on his way to California. Since then we have been all over together.

Hajj Malcolm: Back in 2003 when I was behind the wall I began to correspond with Yuri Kochiama who is a Japanese revolutionary that spent time in the United States's Japanese concentration camps of the 1940's. She later became one of my grandfather's greatest followers & supporters.  She was there the day he was assassinated, and was the first person by his side giving him C.P.R.  After reading one of my letters she had asked me for permission to have an excerpt from it published in the San Francisco "Bayview" newspaper to which M.O.I. JR Valrey was a writer. Over the course of the next couple years JR published some of my writings, as well as wrote to me and accepted my calls. I felt the energy, and I had made it known then that if there was anything that I could do to support the movement-even from behind the wall-then I would be of service. However, I was just advised to get home safely. Here it is years later, and I wouldn't have thought then that today JR and I would be organizing and traveling the world together. One thing that Yuri always advised me to do was to get my team together and keep my circle tight. Birds of a feather flock together, meaning that you're only as good as the company that you keep. Between me and JR, it will always be love and loyalty; death before dishonor!!

Both: Was this your first trip to Houston?

JR: This was not my first trip to Houston. It was the first time that we organized an event together in Houston.

Hajj Malcolm: I'm no stranger to Texas at all. I actually lived in San Antonio for some time when I was 12 years old. As for Houston, shout out to Al Hadi Islamic Ctr., Sheikh Mekki, Hajj Ali Jaffry, my brother Rashad and the lovely Fatima Licir (Algeria Stand up!).

Both: What, if any, type of impression did the Houston community make on you?

JR: I love Houston and the hospitality of people in Texas as a whole, at the same time, I also recognize that Texas needs some of Oakland’s revolutionary fire and initiative.

Hajj Malcolm: Houston has to be one my favorite cities in Texas.

Both: Is the spirit of the movement in Houston on par with other cities you’ve seen? If not, can you offer any words of advice to help us become stronger?

JR: In my opinion there are some strengths and weaknesses that I have encountered with the people I met in Houston on this tour. The hospitality was great. We never needed a whole lot of money. We had something to eat, and places to sleep. Now, when it comes to discussing practical strategies to deal with community issues, there seems to be a weakness in that department. I met a lot of people who loved to pontificate, but were not talking about anything practical. There’s a certain amount of timidness that exists in our people here more than anything.

Hajj Malcolm: Every where you go in the country there's a different vibe, and you will encounter differences; there are differences in ideology, religion, culture, particular histories and even speech. We speak differently. The Bay area of California is one of my favorite places because the people are very revolutionary spirited and military-minded. When an injustice is perpetuated by corrupt authority, then they generally have to bring out the national guard. I observed a fair degree of dissatisfaction in Texas, yet each time the person felt as if they were alone and that others weren't willing to take action. I'm a firm believer that one is only as good as the company they keep. And my advice would be that people network; meet and work along with others who share similar interests.

Both: Do you feel you have a particular audience that receives your message? More specifically, as young men yourselves, do you have a youth-centered aspect to your agenda?

JR: I have a target audience and that is young Black people living in the hood, at the same time, other people who do not fit that profile can also learn from what we think is important in our community. One of my missions is to get the Black community better politically educated, so that we will be informed enough to fight in our interest, specifically the youngsters.

Hajj Malcolm: I don't have a "particular" target audience. I appeal internationally to many people from various backgrounds, and walks of life. I speak at mosques, churches, universities, alternative high schools, juvenile detention and community centers.

Both: Speak to others, young and old, who say there’s no sense in educating themselves or getting involved with anything. Why is it important for brothers and sisters to learn who they are and to stand for something?

JR: First off, basic U.S. history starts with our people, Black people, being brought here in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which means from the very beginning of the colonization of this place we now call the U.S.A., the powers that be were at war with us and thought that we only survived to serve their interests and needs. If we fast forward to today, not much has changed. It is important to have a political worldview so that you know what side of the fence your interests lie on. Without a political worldview, it is impossible to judge your friends from your enemies. It is important to stand for something, because this world belongs to all of us. So we might as well have a say in how it is governed, since we have to live with the decisions that are made. There are a lot of changes that need to be made to better the living conditions in our neighborhoods and schools, and we should participate in enacting that change, if we truly want to see it.

JR, What advice would you offer to those who have a desire to do be about revolution and activism, but their consciousness is just awakening and they may not know where to begin?

JR: Revolution means complete change, and you can enact revolutionary change in your community, or at least in the minds of its residents when you organize campaigns within your capacity and get the desired results. A huge part of revolutionary community work is working with the knowledge and skills of community members, to collectively take more power over our lives. I would encourage people to learn about the international history of resistance of the oppressed against the oppressors. Some people that should be studied are Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Ida B. Wells, Steve Biko, Patrice Lamumba, Winnie Mandela, Frantz Fanon, Amilicar Cabral, Kwame Nkrumah, Queen Nzinga, Assata Shakur, Mumia Abu Jamal, George Jackson, just to name a few.

Hajj Malcolm, if you were charged with presenting the State of the Union address, what would your main points be?

Hajj Malcolm: Again, I would have to stress the importance of unity and solidarity. Just as you have the European Union which is made up of countries like France (where I was born, unfortunately), Germany, Belgium, Holland, England, Spain,etc. These nations may not necessarily like each other, get along with one each other and might even open display hostility towards one another. However, they at least have enough common sense to come together for a common cause, to achieve a common goal and to stand up against a common enemy. When it comes time to implement their various imperialist/divide-and-conquer strategies and tactics, they come together quite quick.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Texas Tour Lecture Circuit

Texas Tour Lecture Series with Hajj Malcolm Shabazz and MOI JR Valrey
By: Seidah Williams

The People’s Lunch Counter – Dallas/Fort Worth  Chapter (PLC) and The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement – Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter (MXGM) hosted a Texas Lecture Series  with Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), and Bay Area organizer/journalist JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information (MOI), the voice behind Block Report Radio on KPFA and Associate Editor of San Francisco Bay View. The Texas Lecture Series toured Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas through July 5 – 13, 2011.


The events were hosted at the following locations:
July 5, 2011 at 7pm, Nu Deals Book Store, 10758 S. Gessner, Houston, Texas 77071
July 6, 2011 at 7pm, S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, 3903 Almeda, Houston, Texas 77004
July 7, 2011 at 7pm, Sedition Books, 901 Richmond Ave, Houston, Texas 77006
July 8, 2011 at 7pm, Orun Center for Cultural Arts, 1401 B Cedar Ave, Austin, TX 78702
July 9, 2011 at 2pm, Mitchie’s Gallery, 7801 N. Lamar Blvd. Building B Suite 148, Austin, TX 78752
July 10, 2011 at 7pm, Resistencia Bookstore, 1801 South 1st Street #A, Austin, TX 78704
July 11, 2011 at 10am, South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 South Fitzhugh Ave, Dallas, Texas 75210
July 12, 2011 at 7pm, PanAfrican Connection Bookstore, 828 Fourth Ave, Dallas, Texas 75226
July 13, 2011 at 7pm, Dock Bookshop, 6637 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76112
Hajj Malcolm Shabazz and MOI JR Valrey spoke to several audiences of all ages roughly over 300 people in Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas. The events were designed to raise awareness and to inspire the people, especially the youth, to join local movements to fight against police brutality and the issues that we face. They commented on several topics – building a strong network to bring about positive change, the political prisoner movement, the powerless vs. those with power, inferior education, 80 percent incarceration of black people who represent only 12 percent of the total population, and politicians pitting us against each other. From city to city, Malcolm and MOI JR worked together to address the common issues that plague our communities and created a platform for the people to come and network with like-minded individuals to spark the process of organization. Hajj Malcolm calls America “the land of smoke and mirrors” because the mainstream media and political leaders mislead and manipulate the truth to keep the people oppressed and confused. MOI JR also stressed the importance of controlling our own media outlets to enforce what his comrade Hajj Malcolm highlights, education and unity.
In Dallas, at The South Dallas Cultural Center, Hajj Malcolm and MOR JR gave advice and insight to a group of youth. Speaking openly of his imprisonment as an adolescent, Hajj Malcolm stated that he decided to be a positive source of change for other youth. He urged the youth to not repeat the mistakes that he made, but instead to read and comprehend those forces that, by design, keep them from full development of their potential. MOI JR shared his experience with the youth striving to become writers on what it’s like to be a journalist for the people. He shared his experience of being on the frontline with the Oscar Grant case and even the pleasures of interviewing important leaders and artist. MOI JR emphasized the importance of developing the writing skills that could be used for a career with the newspaper or to even write and publish their own books.
Hajj Malcolm Shabazz is the grandson of the late great El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcom X). El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was assassinated in front of his family on February 21, 1965. This was a move by COINTELPRO to silence one of the strongest and most effective revolutionary voices of black people in the US to date. After his assassination, his writings and teachings really took root in the minds of a new generation later known as the Black Panther Party. Even today his life is an example of a true revolutionary and inspires people around the world. Forty-five years later, his grandson and 1st male heir, Hajj Malcolm Shabazz has been touring  across the world speaking on a variety of topics including his own life and legacy – in his words, mainstream media, political prisoners, youth and the criminal justice system, what it is like to be the grandson of the Revolutionary icon Malcolm X and about his recent hajj to Mecca and journey to Libya, Africa for the Pan-Afrikan Conference sponsored in part by the African Union.  
The People’s Minister of Information (MOI) JR Valrey is an organizer/journalist from the Bay area that speaks the truth to the people through his articles and radio shows. He is the voice behind Block Report Radio on KPFA and Associate Editor of the San Francisco Bay View. His work is dedicated to informing and educating Black and Brown people, promoting political artists and sharing vital news about the struggle against oppression across the country. MOI JR screened the documentary that he produced “Operation Small Axe”, highlighting the Oscar Grant murder by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle and police terrorism in Oakland and the Bay Area of California. He also introduced his newly published book “Block Reportin” a collection of interviews with local political leaders, national black resistance leaders, and artists, such as Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Freeway Ricky Ross, Paul  Mooney, Hajj Malcolm Shabazz and many more.  MOI JR Valrey spoke on Police Brutality, his experience as a journalist to Tripoli, Libya for the Pan-Afrikan Conference, and his case with the Oakland Police Department falsely accusing him of arson during the Oscar Grant protest.
The People’s Lunch Counter and The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement would like to thank the many organizations and individuals that made this tour a reality. Our focus is to provide an atmosphere that nurtures and develops self determination by the way of community
You can contact us at: or email:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Malcolm Shabazz Engages Santa Cruz

Grandson of Malcolm X disputes new book on the Muslim leader

Posted: 07/19/2011 10:01:25 PM PDT

Grandson of Malcolm X, Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, talks to a group at Barrios... (John Williams/Sentinel)

SANTA CRUZ - Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of Malcolm X, visited Santa Cruz on Tuesday to talk about politics, prison treatment, the uprising in Libya and the legacy of his grandfather.

Shabazz, 26, spoke to an audience of roughly 50 people at Barrios Unidos, the longtime nonprofit dedicated to preventing gang violence. The event was designed to raise money for the San Francisco Bay View, a largely black publication.

Since being released from prison two years ago, Shabazz, who lives in New York City and attends John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has traveled throughout the world to address matters of social injustice, mistreatment in U.S. prisons and religion. He calls America "the land of smoke and mirrors" because he believes its leaders, of all political parties, don't often practice what they preach to the rest of the world.

For example, he said, the U.S. is the only country to have dropped a nuclear bomb, but repeatedly demands other nations to abandon their nuclear programs.

Shabazz is a staunch defender of his grandfather, a famous minister with the controversial Nation of Islam in the 1950s.

Malcolm X split from the Nation of Islam and founded The Muslim Mosque before his assassination in February 1965 at age 39. "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" is one of the most widely read books ever published.

However, a new book, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" came out in April that paints the Muslim leader in a less than flattering light.

Shabazz, who was born 20 years after his grandfather's death, says the book written by black history scholar Manning Marable - who died in April before the book was published - is full of "off-the-wall stuff made up out of the blue." In particular, Shabazz disputes Marable describing his grandparents' marriage as "loveless," and that his grandfather was unfaithful.

Tuesday's program at Barrios Unidos included commentary about the hunger strikes taking place at Pelican Bay and Corcoran state prisons since July 1.

Manuel LaFontaine, a strike supporter who has served time in a security housing unit, also known as isolation, said the community needs to band together to protect prisoners from mistreatment.

"We gotta be more than just activists," LaFontaine said. "These brothers need us. The body can only last so long. If this continues, we actually have a life and death matter on our hands."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Malcolm X Revisited

Malcolm X Revisited Tour
Posted By NatashaR On July 5, 2011 @ 2:45 pm In Culture Stories |
by Natasha Reid
 [1]The SF Bay View is holding a fundraiser!
Come and meet the grandson of Malcolm X, Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, on his speaking tour hosted by the Minister of Information JR. The tour is addressing the new book, “The Re-invention of Malcolm X [2],” by Manning Marable, which slanders his grandparents.
There are two events being held, one on Saturday, July 16, in Oakland and the other on Tuesday, July 19, in Santa Cruz, both starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m.
The Oakland event will be held at J. Posh Design Studios, 3824 Telegraph Ave. The Santa Cruz event takes place at Barrios Unidos, 1817 Soquel Ave.
Come and join in the lively discussions!
There will be a $10 admission at the door, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Your contributions are much appreciated by the Bay View. Help us to survive the current Depression and return once again to printing our independent Black liberation newspaper on a WEEKLY basis!
We look forward to seeing you all there. If you need more information, call us at (415) 671-0789 or email [3]. To keep up with Hajj Malcolm, visit [4], and Minster of Information JR at [5]. And keep up with the latest news from the Black community and the Black Diaspora at [6].
Natasha Reid is a writer of Zimbabwean and Scottish descent, on a transatlantic mission to explore and reveal new truths whilst volunteering at the Bay View. She holds an honors law degree, though her real passion lies in journalism and political awareness. You can contact Natasha at [7]

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Time: Malcolm Shabazz introduced to Annapolis

My Time: Malcolm Shabazz introduced to Annapolis

Published 06/19/11
On the occasion of his grandfather's 86th birthday, young Malcolm Lateff Shabazz gave a 40-minute multi-themed keynote presentation May 19 in Annapolis.
From Top:
1. Malcolm Lateff Shabazz, center, meets members of the audience and signs autographs.
2 & 3: A group of attendees and program participants gather for a photograph.
4. Eagle Scout Malcolm X. Dirton, Troop 193, introduces the speaker.
5. The audience listens to Malcolm X’s grandson speak.

He spoke to a capacity-filled audience of people from Annapolis, Baltimore and nearby Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas.
His grandfather, the late El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, also known as Malcolm X, was a Muslim human rights icon of the early 1950s to the mid-1960s. His ideas, activism and leadership helped guide the progress of democracy for African Americans in the United States when racial segregation and discrimination were the status quo.
Like many communities around the country, Annapolis chose to honor Malcolm X's memory and celebrate his legacy. Carl Snowden, director of the State Office of Civil Rights, was the master of ceremonies. The invocation was delivered by Imam Talib Shareef from Masjid Muhammad in Washington, D.C. Imam Shareef is a retired chief master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force.
Vincent Leggett, CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis, welcomed the guests, citing the historical setting for the event - the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center. The center is located in a large complex providing senior housing, a senior activity center and a Boys and Girls Club. Called the Wiley Bates Heritage Park, it was named for the prominent African-American businessman who provided the original Bates High School to educate Anne Arundel County black children, from 1933 to 1966, when the schools were segregated nationally. Leggett displayed beautiful art work by three Anne Arundel County high school students.
Local songstress Jessica Henderson gave a soul-stirring musical selection, "Someday We'll All Be Free." Five local politicians related how Malcolm X had influenced their lives. They gave young Malcolm a citation from the Anne Arundel County Council and pinned him as an honorary ambassador for the city. Several other community activists were acknowledged. Saisa Neel, a member of the co-sponsoring group, Concerned Muslims of Annapolis, showed a five-minute clip of the life of the late human rights icon. Unexpectedly to Snowden, CMA and Imam Shareef, accompanied by several Imams from various Islamic centers in the area, presented Snowden with a copy of the Holy Qur'an, the Muslim holy book. It was their way of thanking Snowden for active promotion of the rights of African Americans and all other citizens for 42 years in Anne Arundel County.
Eagle Scout Malcolm X. Dirton, of Troop 193 in Baltimore, introduced the keynote speaker. The audience chuckled when they learned that the Eagle Scout was elated to do the introduction, but needed to leave early to prepare for his senior prom.
Thus, amid the old Bates High School memorabilia, young Malcolm moved effortlessly from one topic to another. He commented how the audience reflected much diversity - people from various races, religions, varying ages and political views. He commented that having unity through diversity is best. He summarized 26 years of living in the shadow of his famous grandfather, a man he never knew personally.
Speaking openly of his imprisonment as an adolescent, Malcolm stated that he decided to be a positive source of change for other youth. He has traveled all over the country, urging them not to repeat the mistakes he made, but instead to read and comprehend those forces that, by design, keep them from full development of their potential. Malcolm commented on several problems plaguing Black Americans - the powerless vs. those with power, inferior education, 80 percent incarceration of Black people who represent only 12 percent of the total population, and politicians pitting us against each other.
While Malcolm had many challenges to overcome as a child, he has been able to live and study in several European countries, throughout Africa, and the Middle East. Earlier this year, he completed the obligatory pilgrimage, called the Hajj, to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. He started studying law while incarcerated and announced that he has been accepted in the John Jay College of Criminal Justice program at The City University of New York. He tries to use his experience to help uplift others who have narrow vision and minimal hope that they can overcome their circumstances. He was accompanied by "urban journalist" JR Valrey, an Oakland, Calif., activist, author and radio personality.
The program ended with a question-and-answer period and with the entire audience holding hands in prayer that our future will be more positive than our past.
The Martin L. King Jr. Committee and the Concerned Muslims of Annapolis thank the many people who attended the program, including a group of detention inmates from Washington, D.C. Judging by the time that the audience lingered to meet and be photographed with young Malcolm Shabazz, the program was quite a success. We are humbly grateful for the contributions of Councilman Daryl Jones, Alderwomen Sheila Finlayson and Classie Hoyle, Alderman Kenny Kirby and for the attendance of several members of the International League of Muslim Women of Washington, D.C. We were delighted that state NAACP President Gerald Stansbury acknowledged one of the greatest legacies of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, that of elevating the battle of African Americans from the domestic (U.S. national) issues to the worldwide stage of international attention. We are humbly grateful for those people who provided security, especially for the excellent work of Annapolis police officer Sgt. Joseph Ridley.
We are most grateful for the hard work of members of both sponsoring groups, without which the program would not have been a reality. This was an excellent example of Christians and Muslims working together successfully.
Saisa Neel
Concerned Muslims of Annapolis

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Evolution of Malcolm Shabazz

The Evolution of Malcolm Shabazz   


Today marks the 46th anniversary of Malcolm X's assassination. His grandson, Malcolm Shabazz's life has mirrored a number of the turns his grandfather went through, including time in prison and a transformative pilgrimage to Mecca. Now he is finding inspiration in his family and redefining his life. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Malcolm X grandson decries Marable biography on 86th birthday observation By NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor Published: Thursday, May 19, 2011 12:05 AM EDT


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Malcolm X grandson decries Marable biography on 86th birthday observation

Amsterdam News Editor
Published: Thursday, May 19, 2011 12:05 AM EDT
Throwing a book at the book, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, is unimpressed with Manning Marable’s hefty tome written about his world famous relative.

Marable’s book stirred up a virtual hornet’s nest when he noted that although there was no evidence, there was a rumor Malcolm X was involved in homosexual acts during the years he hustled on the streets before gaining knowledge of self. Marable went further and mentioned talk of infidelity by both Malcolm and his wife, Betty.

“The rapper M1 stated that we are all human beings, and as human beings, we do have flaws and contradictions, but we can’t apply homosexuality to my grandfather,” Shabazz told the AmNews. “Homosexuality is against human nature. This is an assassination of his character. Slander. There is no evidence, no facts. They put these claims out there to sell books and to discredit him.”

On Thursday, May 19, the world observes what would have been the 86th birthday of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Malcolm X. The annual motorcade of cars and buses leave at 9 p.m. from in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building and travel to the Fern Cliff Cemetery to the gravesite shared by Malcolm X and Betty.

In town this weekend for “Malcolm X Week,” Malcolm Shabazz will be speaking at City College on Saturday, May 21 at the Guillermo Morales-Assata Shakur Center in the NAC Building, located at 137th Street and Convent Avenue, at 4 p.m.

“I haven’t read the entire book; I have read excerpts,” Shabazz said of Marable’s controversial biography, which was released last month, mere days before Marable’s passing.

“This book is about making money,” Shabazz charged, “but I had known the man personally since I was about 16 years old. The three main things that stick out in the book to me is how he emphasized the homosexual acts that [he implied] my grandfather was engaged in with a rich white man during his hustling days; how my grandparents had a loveless relationship and were unfaithful to each other; and how my grandfather may have embellished his criminal lifestyle.

“They can’t apply homosexuality to my grandfather at all. To try and do so does not humanize him, it dehumanizes him.. You know, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI and the CIA were monitoring my grandfather to put out dirt about him. If they couldn’t find anything, what makes anyone think Manning Marable has? Manning Marable is a better researcher and investigator than the FBI and the CIA? The FBI and the CIA put out tapes on Dr. Martin Luther King’s indiscretions and other leaders. They couldn’t find anything on my grandfather, so we don’t try to create something that wasn’t there.”

Shabazz’s point No. 2: “My grandparents had a very unique relationship. It was a model for us as a people. “They had six children together, so they were obviously intimate and they were mating. I have one daughter, and she is a blessing. Unfortunately, her mother and I don’t have the best relationship. I wish I would have more children with one woman, but to have six children to one woman—that shows the love right there.”

The young man further said, “As for my grandmother, after my grandfather passed, she didn’t get remarried a year or two years later or somewhere down the line. You could raise the question, but how could he even know that? My grandmother never got remarried. No one could ever fill that void, fill those shoes. No one out there can ever claim that they had a relationship with my grandmother other than my grandfather. No one can make the claim.”

And for his third point, Shabazz determined, “To say that he embellished his criminal lifestyle…if anything, he downplayed his criminal lifestyle. If anybody is writing about themselves, they are not going to tell all the dirt they did.

“My grandfather spoke out against the social ills that led to situations that produced criminal lifestyles. One thing is though, people from all walks of life, from pimps to a drug addict, drug dealer, convicts, they all can all look at him and think, ‘He’s been in my shoes and look where he is now.’ What did he represent to our people? He is an inspiration. He’s a perfect example of the epitome of change.”

While the 27-year-old father of one said he has not spoken to anyone from Marable’s group, “This is the first time I’m speaking about it. There are way more important things to talk about than the Manning Marable book, which is about making money at the end of the day.”

He questioned why the author “hasn’t relied on any information from the Shabazz family, the Little family, personal family friends, supporters or associates—people who are alive today like Earl Grant, [who is] living in California. He was a member of the OAAU. He was right by my grandfather’s second in command. Or A. Peter Bailey, who was also in the OAAU with my grandfather. Where did this information come from? A third or fourth party?”

Citing the Bible and how it has been revised so many times, Shabazz said sometimes with powerful books, “The truth is there to attract you. And there are falsehoods there to entrap you—and that’s not scholarly.”

“I’ve spoken to Manning Marable several times since I was 16,” Shabazz noted, adding that he never thought Marable would write such a book about his grandfather. In a world where there is a sometimes a state of “education versus certification,” Shabazz said “it’s unfortunate” that there are certain “intellectual leaders” who are able to position themselves to be authorities on issues that they have little or no personal knowledge. “Sometimes we have these people who are raised with a silver spoon in their mouths their whole life, but take the position of being a spokesperson for the people or talk about shared experiences that they just haven’t been through,” said Shabazz.

He quoted the eulogy that actor Ossie Davis delivered at his grandfather’s funeral, in which he called Malcolm X “our Black shining prince, our Black shining manhood.” “They took that and put homosexual on top of that,” said Shabazz. “They want to promote homosexuality at the end of the day. When I was at school, people were not openly gay; today, people are saying they are gay in the first grade. It’s really acceptable today. They want to promote that today to our people with one of our greatest leaders. But there is no proof, there’s no basis, no facts.”

Asked if this is the consensus with the Shabazz family, he replied, “My aunts and my mother are probably more emotional about it than I am. I just want to protect them. That’s their father. They watched him get murdered. They remember that. Everything their father represents is real personal.”

As he finishes his own book, a coming-of-age memoir packed with social political commentary, the man who was 12-years-old when he was charged with setting the fire that killed his grandmother in 1996, said his book will touch on many issues, including previously undisclosed facts.

Shabazz, the father of Ilyasah, his 4-year-old daughter, is about to return to John Jay College to study international criminal justice and government. He will be in New York this weekend to also visit political prisoner Sekou Odinga, who is currently being held at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility.

Accompanying Shabazz will be journalist J.R. Valrey. The Bay Area–based scribe, creative force and producer of “Operation Small Ax,” an Oscar Grant documentary, is coming to the city to promote his fascinating tome, “Block Reportin’.” The 21st century griot has assembled a series of his interviews with a host of notable Black figures, ranging from Malcolm Shabazz to former U.S. Congresswoman and former presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, Mumia Abu Jamal, Ericka Huggins and Freeway Ricky Ross.

Citing what happened with Denmark Vesey, Shabazz said that when the leader of a would-be revolt among enslaved Africans was killed by white enslavers, “nobody could mourn. Nobody could wear black, nobody could cry, nobody could know where he was buried, because they didn’t want that place to become a place of homage. So it is important that we visit the gravesites of people my grandfather,” he said regarding the May 19 annual pilgrimage to the cemetery, which is located half an hour outside of New York City.

“It’s important that we visit the gravesites and honor and keep [our leaders’] legacies alive. It honors their spirits, their sacrifices and their contributions. It helps us to honor their memory, but always we keep God first.”

Starting at noon on Thursday, May 19, the December 12th Movement will hold the 24th annual “Black Power: Shut ’Em Down March and Rally.” The rally will assemble at 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem. In respect for Malcolm, all businesses along the 125th Street business corridor will close from 1-4 p.m.

“Malcolm X fought for the freedom of African people worldwide,” said Viola Plummer, co-founder of the December 13th Movement. “He taught us to take our struggle to the international arena and strengthen Pan-African unity.”

Announcing an evening presentation, Plummer declared, “The current imperialist attack on Africans at home and abroad must be beaten back politically and economically. Hands off, Libya and Zimbabwe! Join us for an evening program May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Oberia Demsey Center at 127 W. 127 St., Harlem, N.Y.”

Meanwhile, the National Black United Front will be hosting a program in Brooklyn from 6-9 p.m. Dr. Betty Shabazz Elementary P.S./I.S. 298 (85 Watkins St., between Glenmore and Pitkin avenues) will be the venue for activists such as Michael Hooper, Jitu Weusi, Felipe Luciano, Daniel Goodine and Maxine Flowers. For more information, call (347) 825-4900.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Notes From Tripoli, Libya, Africa

Meet Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, Monday, Feb. 7, 7-9 p.m., at Debug, 701 Lenzen Ave., San Jose, and Saturday, Feb. 12, 6-8 p.m., at the Peace and Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, and learn about his recent hajj to Mecca and journey to Africa

by the People’s Minister of Information JR
Hajj Malcolm Shabazz spoke at a historic Pan-Afrikan conference called by the president of the African Union and the leader of the Libyan Revolution Muamar Qadafi in Tripoli, Libya, from Jan. 15-17, 2011. This photo was taken on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the late great Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Hajj Malcolm, who spoke about his grandfather's connection to the Organization of African Unity and his connection to the African Union, and President Qadafi were the only two people given a standing ovation for their speeches that day. – Photo: Minister of Information JR
I was extremely humbled and honored to be invited to participate in the historic Conference of African Migrants in Europe held from Jan. 15-17 in Tripoli, Libya, the Great Jamahiriya (People’s government). My comrades and I were invited by international peace activist Cynthia McKinney, former presidential candidate and former congresswoman, to be a part of her delegation, which included Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of the late great Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) and former SF Bay View writer Ra’Shida. Panels and many different speakers focused on issues that were pertinent to furthering a positive relationship between Africans on the continent with those in the diaspora. Some of the topics that stuck out to me were women having a voice, the brain drain on the continent, religious tolerance, and forging a strong connection, whether Africans want to come back to Africa or remain in the diaspora.
The first myth that was dispelled as soon as I got there was that continental Africans did not want us to come back or did not like us. The ones who live on the continent that we met were working towards realizing the dream of Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Seku Ture, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz aka Malcolm X, and Muamar Qadafi of uniting Africa into the United States of Africa, a true African union that would serve Africans on the continent and abroad; they loved us. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner were filled with discussions about politics, business and networking.
Minister of Information JR, Samia Nkrumah, daughter of the great Pan Africanist Kwame Nkrumah and member of parliament in Ghana, Ra’Shida and Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of the late great Hajj Malik El Shabazz aka Malcolm X, were all participants at a Pan Afrikan conference in Libya that joined Africans from the diaspora and the continent together to talk about how to better work together. It was held Jan. 15-17, 2011, in Tripoli. – Photo: Minister of Information JR
I salute the intention, the plan, and the time and energy of African people worldwide who are contributing to the multi-faceted work of uniting our people internationally into a reputable force where we have the power to determine the outcome of our lives, land and resources. I salute the conveners of the conference which made this possible for me to see. It was another example of how the international corporate news keeps the world in the dark when it comes to the accomplishments of Black people worldwide.
The conference was a three-day event where we listened to speakers who consisted of academics, international and national African leaders from around the world, religious leaders, traditional kings and queens of Africa, sultans and regular people who were participants. We met the daughter of the late great Kwame Nkrumah, Samia Nkrumah, who is a Pan African politician in her own right. We met the son of the late great Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, Roland Lumumba.
We listened to African women who fight for women’s rights and against traditional practices that violate the rights of women. We listened to various speakers who spoke on Islamic law, religious tolerance and other issues pertinent to the politics of African people on the planet. We met ambassadors from African countries and politicians from various countries. Some had ideas similar to the Pan Africanist views of Kwame Nkrumah and Seku Ture; some differed greatly.
Roland Lumumba (left), the son of the late great Patrice Lumumba, was one of the participants at the historic Pan-African conference, along with hundreds of other Africans from the continent and from around the diaspora. – Photo: Minister of Information JR
The highlight of the conference for me was when the delegations from the diaspora were asked to submit delegates from their respective regions who would act as an advisory committee to the African Union when dealing with the diaspora in those particular regions or on issues that affect African people globally. Hajj Malcolm Shabazz was picked to sit on this committee and Ra’Shida was selected to be a sub. Other highlights of the conference were listening to the panel that Cynthia McKinney hosted, which was the only panel led by a woman during the conference, as well as listening to the speech of Hajj Malcolm Shabazz who spoke at a televised event during the conference in front of Qadafi and was the only speaker of approximately 20 other speakers, besides Qadafi himself, who was given a standing ovation.
During the conference, we learned about the Green Book, the theoretical philosophy guiding Libya, written by the leader of their revolution and president of the African Union, M. Qadafi. Some of the ideas that I have read up to this point are brilliant and deserve further study and discussion within our communities – similar to how the Panthers made the Red Book essential study for the political scientists of our communities.
The King of Burkina Faso was blinging to the utmost at a Pan Afrikan conference that was convened in Tripoli, Libya, by President Muamar Quadafi of the Jamiriya of Libya and of the African Union. A number of kings, queens, sultans and princesses represented their respective territories in Africa attended this conference. – Photo: Minister of Information JR
In terms of seeing Tripoli, we went to the Old Country of Tripoli, where we saw the Al Saraya, which is the piece of an American ship mast that was destroyed by the Libyan navy, which is hoisted on top of a building. We also saw the wall that the Roman Empire’s Marcus Aurelius built around Old Tripoli, which is close to the Mediterranean and surrounded by a harsh desert. We learned that alcohol is illegal and that there are not any public Western dance clubs in this Islamic country. Our guide told us about how most essential goods are subsidized, especially gasoline, in this petroleum rich nation. A car that would easily have taken $45 dollars to fill up cost around $10 to top off. We saw a few malls in passing, but we shopped mainly in the open-air market that was close to the hotel we stayed in. We were hesitant to venture off to far, be it that we did not speak much Arabic and we were without a car. In the streets we noticed that the closer it got to the evening, the fewer Libyan women we would see in public on any given day that we left the hotel. I don’t know why, but I chalked it up to being a cultural thing.
Overall traveling to Tripoli, Libya, Africa, for the first time was a humbling experience in itself, and to participate in such a historic conference just put the icing on the cake. I’m even more dedicated now to getting our people better organized for power in our countries and communities in Africa, and all around the planet. I cannot fully put into words the way that this experience has affected me spiritually, politically and in many other ways. The only thing I can say is that I think all Black people should travel to Africa, the Motherland, at least once in their life if possible.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Live From Saudi Arabia

by Minister of Information JR
Malcolm: In the middle is Sheikh Faisal Ghazawi, Imam of the Mosque Haramain. The Holy Kabaa in Makkah is in the backround.
El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, formerly known as Malcolm X, was one of the first Muslim Black men on a world stage from the United States to make the Hajj to Mecca. This trip was very pivotal in his life, because it gave him new experiences and time to think, having left the Nation of Islam, where he was the national spokesperson, after more than a decade of service.

According to the “Autobiography of Malcolm X,” it was at this time when he recognized how powerful his voice was. He was greeted by heads of state from around the world, including many of the revolutionary leaders of the time, as well as being refused entry by France and Ethiopia.
Approximately four and half decades later, his grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, who is also Muslim, working in the service of oppressed people, made his pilgrimage. This is the first interview to be published in the U.S. about his experience.
Minister of Information JR: When you arrived in Medina and Mecca, what were the first things you noticed? What did it feel like?
Malcolm Shabazz: In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, I for one have been all over the Middle East – from Qatar to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and so forth. And I must say that Madina [an alternate spelling of Medina, the second holiest city in Islam] and Mecca definitely stood apart.
Malcolm Shabazz: On my right side is my companion brother Muhammad Ali, and on my left is Shazaad Muhammad (Abu Hurairah), president of the Canadian Dawah Association and Ambassador of Peace with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) under the U.N. He has brought Loon, Freeway and Mike Tyson to visit Saudi Arabia in the past.
For one, it’s a main pillar of Islam and obligatory upon every single Muslim around the world to at least have the sincere intention to make the holy pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able. I personally know quite a few people who have been on Hajj, and everyone had spoken of this “holy” experience. I never met a person who expressed disappointment or had something of an ill experience to relay.

I know people who came back from Hajj, and after a few weeks, let alone a few months, they were right back to their old ways. They could damn near tell me about the Hajj with an alcoholic beverage in their hand in the same instance. Yet, I also know others who have made the pilgrimage, and I can bear witness to the awesomely profound impact that it has had on their lives.
It had such a profound impact on my grandfather’s life. So I came over here anticipating much – though not knowing quite exactly what to expect. The most I could say is that my intentions were pure. So before embarking on this journey, I resolved towards devoting my heart to Allah, stripping it of every preoccupation and barrier.
I arrived in Madina on Nov. 5 at approximately 10 minutes before our morning prayer was to begin, which was about 4:55 a.m. One of the things that I immediately noticed was that despite the fact that there were millions upon millions of pilgrims that had all come in to the same place around the same time and from all over the world, the atmosphere was still so calm and serene.
Malcolm Shabazz: Here I am at the Iranian Mission in Madina, Saudi Arabia, with Shia Muslim brothers from Nigeria.
I had never witnessed this many people in one place at the same time nor do I believe I ever will again unless I’m blessed to return again for Hajj. I kind of felt like I was at the ultimate concert. Exception being that this wasn’t a concert for a rapper, singer or any other type of entertainer. Rather we were all here for the sake of seeking nearness to Allah.

M.O.I. JR: How were you received? How do people look at young Black men from America?
Malcolm Shabazz: Well, I personally was received quite well for the most part. Though we must also bear in mind that here on earth every place has its ups and downs, and anywhere you go in this world you will witness that Black people are most generally discriminated against. However, this prejudice has absolutely nothing to do with Al-Islam.
When most people in the Middle East encounter Black people from the States they most likely assume that we are from Nigeria, Sudan or a host of other African countries – unless they take notice to our American style of dress, the fact that we speak English and so forth. When they find out that one of us is actually from America, they become quite curious.
Many of them are unaware that there are many Black Muslims in the United States. And all that most of them know of us is what has been portrayed to them of us on television as being entertainers, athletes, criminals and thugs. It goes to show the power of mainstream media and how they don’t have our best interests at heart.
Malcolm: To my left is Sheikh Saleh Husain, president of the affairs of both the Grand Mosque (Masjidul Haraam) and the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjidun Nabi).
However, I couldn’t wholly blame them for their perspectives of us. The way we most often perceive ourselves to be is the image that will be projected onto others. And what we as Black Amerikkans generally project onto others are images of ourselves that have been fostered to us by our oppressors. Case in point, when our oppressors called us “Niggers,” then we referred to ourselves as such; when our oppressors later came along and told us to call ourselves “Negros,” we began to refer to each other as such; then they later came along and told us that it was more politically correct to refer to ourselves as “African-Americans” and we accepted that also.

Thus, we as a people have the responsibility of collectively standing for something, otherwise falling for anything and continually allowing others to define who we are for us.
M.O.I. JR: What have been some of the highlights of your Hajj?
Malcolm Shabazz: It was a blessing for me of such a profound magnitude to be afforded the opportunity to worship Allah (God) within the Masjid-e-Quba, which is located between Makkah [an alternate spelling of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam] and Madina, and is the first Masjid ever to be built in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is also the first Masjid where Salatul Jama’ (Congregational Prayer) was recited.
I also offered many prayers within the Masjidun Nabi (The Prophet’s Mosque), which was the second Mosque to be built in Madina. This is the city of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself, and it was quite humbling to realize that I was actually treading upon the very soil that he once set foot upon as well. This is the first city in the world where Islam was firmly established.
I also went to visit the battlefield of Uhud, where the second battle of Islam took place. It is also where Hazrat Hamza, the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) uncle, is buried. I met with royalty, dignitaries and various other high ranking Saudi officials, including Sheikh Saleh Husain, President of Affairs of both the Grand Mosque (Masjidul Haraam) and the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjidun Nabi); Sheikh Faisal Ghazawi, Imam of the Grand Mosque (Haramain); Dr. Anwar Eshki, former Major General of Saudi forces and President of the Middle East Center; and Abdulrahman Zamil, former member of the Shura Council.
M.O.I. JR: What are you looking forward to?
: My grandfather once said that “The past is not to be dwelt upon, but rather looked to as a road map or compass – in the present – in order to help us successfully navigate into the future.” Now at present, and by the Will and Grace of Allah, I am a revolutionary Muslim who is in service to the people, especially to the masses of downtrodden and oppressed.
Malcolm: To my left is Dr. Anwar Eshki, retired Major General of Saudi forces, stepson of Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), and to my far left is Ambassador Mohammed Bin Sahl, head of Strategic and Legal Studies.
Malcolm Shabazz

Though if I have learned anything from my grandmother, Dr. Betty Shabazz, it’s that [people] must first help themselves before they could even begin to think about being a savior towards others. So during the most recent stages of my journey, I had been more busy with self-building; however, at this phase I am more inclined and prepared to work on building more extensively with others. Although it must be kept in mind that the act of enlightening others is dependent upon and goes hand in hand with the purification of the self.
After a hajji returns from Makkah and Madina, it becomes an obligation for them to convey that which they have brought back with them (self-building) through their actions. My speech, actions, manner and disposition must be an example for others. And this truly is the best gift that I can bring back for the people.
M.O.I. JR: What new insights have you had since you left the United States?
Malcolm Shabazz: Unfortunately, wisdom doesn’t come with age, but rather with experience, as experience is irrefutably the best of teachers. While knowledge is simply to know-the-ledge through familiarity or awareness, wisdom is that acquired knowledge tried and tested – through trial, error and tribulation – to bring about the best of understanding.

Now at present, and by the Will and Grace of Allah, I am a revolutionary Muslim who is in service to the people, especially to the masses of downtrodden and oppressed. – El Hajj Malcolm Shabazz

If it’s at all true that we are, somewhat, products of our environments, then I suppose it would explain my current circumstances, the events which lead up to these points and why I had ever been as I was in thought and through action – though it is not necessary for me to run down a list of ills that may have affected me in one way or another.
I have quite often been placed in many undesirable situations, yet I alone made the decisions which produced the consequent outcomes. We often find ourselves in situations where we wish that we could turn back the hands of time, to go back and do things differently – though time-travel isn’t a reality. So, the only remedy is to be as conscious as possible in the present, in order to successfully navigate into the future.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Legacy of El Hajj Malik el Shabazz

by POCC Minister of Information JR
Malcolm Shabazz
Feb. 21, 1965, the late great El Hajj Malik El Shabazz aka Malcolm X was assassinated in front of his family by agents of the U.S. government, in front of his daughters and his pregnant wife, and in front of the world with photos of his body all over the media the next day. This was a move by COINTELPRO to silence one of the strongest and most effective revolutionary voices of Black people in the U.S. to date. After his spirit passed on, his writings and teachings really took root in the minds of a new generation even to the point of inspiring young Black people in Oakland to create an organization later known as the Black Panther Party. Forty-five years later, his first male heir and grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, has come to the Bay to speak and take in the politics of the Bay Area for the first time. This is an interview that we recorded a few weeks prior to him touching down. Here he is in his own words …
MOI JR: You are listening to another edition of POCC Block Report Radio with Minister of Information JR. Today my honored guest is Malcolm Shabazz, otherwise known as the grandson of the late great El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, otherwise known as Malcolm X. How are you, Malcolm?
Malcolm Shabazz: I’m good, thank you. I’m honored for this opportunity to speak with you.
MOI JR: Man, I’m honored to have you on here. Well, just to kick it off, man, because this is the first interview I’ve done with you and I haven’t seen too many other interviews done with you. Can you tell us what it is like to be the grandson of the late great Malcolm X aka El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz?
Malcolm Shabazz: I feel just like everybody else, but at times it can seem to be a blessing and at other times it can seem to be a curse, depending on the situation. A lot of people love me and there are also those that hate me. Most of the people that hate me are because they don’t know me or they’re ignorant to certain issues or they listen to the media or certain articles that are written about me by people that don’t know me.
It can be a lot of pressure at times. Like growing up, I was placed in many situations where, say, one person, you can invite them to your house and they might throw up on the carpet. You say, oh they threw up and you help them to clean up the mess. But me, you know, I was under a magnifying glass or a spotlight. So say if I spit on the sidewalk, everyone would be like hey, what the hell is wrong with him?
It’s been a curse in certain situations, dealing with police, certain politicians and government officials. But it has also been a blessing being able to network with other revolutionary spirited individuals that are people that help to put me on to things and gain awareness.
MOI JR: Can you talk a little about your family life? Were you sheltered because of who your grandparents were?
Malcolm Shabazz: I was sheltered early on up until about the age of 9. I was raised in a family of all women. So at a certain point in my life, I started to rebel because there was no real male influence or father figure around. The closest thing I could see that represented strength to me were the cats you would see out on the corner. They were either drug dealers, gang bangers or whatever but those were the only males I could identify with that represented strength that I could immediately seek right there out in the community, so I kind of gravitated towards that. I went through a rebellious phase early on in my life, but prior to that I was somewhat sheltered.
MOI JR: How old are you now and where did you grow up?
Malcolm Shabazz: Right now I am 25 years old and I grew up all over the United States of America. I was born in Paris, France, and came to the states when I was about 3 years old. From there, I have lived in Philadelphia, California, different places in New York, Minnesota, Texas and many other different places. Right now I am in Miami, Florida. I have spent some time recently overseas studying.
MOI JR: When you were younger, you were accused of lighting the fire that killed your grandmother, Betty Shabazz. Can you talk a little about that incident, as well as the media portrayal of it?
Malcolm Shabazz: At a young age, I was about 12 years old and my mother was dealing with a case against the federal government for allegedly hiring a hit man to assassinate Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. During this time, it was a real tense climate and there was so many things going on with my family. I didn’t really understand everything at that age. I couldn’t be with my mother and I really wanted to be with her and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be with her.
So back in New York, not knowing where my mother was and being concerned and worried about her, I started to act out and do anything I could to be sent back to my mother, not understanding the ramifications of all my actions. I started to steal money, steal cars, run away from home and unfortunately one of the last things I did was set this fire.
The reason why I did these things was because I wanted my family here in New York to take the position, “He is out of control. We can’t control him so let’s send him back to his mother.” That was my logic. But when I got the idea to set this fire, I set it and didn’t have any intention to harm my grandmother. It was my intention to be mischievous to be sent away back to my mother but it wasn’t my intention for anyone to get hurt. My grandmother got hurt in the process and she ended up losing her life and it is something I deeply regret.
Me and my grandmother had a strong relationship. We probably had the strongest relationship than anybody else in my family. I loved her a lot and she loved me a lot. I was one of her favorites, you know.
The media portrayed it as it was something that I did purposefully or however they portrayed it. But that was not the case. That’s not what it is. I have even gave interviews in the past and after the interview they have stated that I expressed no remorse. Like I didn’t care, which is not true. This is my grandmother and I loved her deeply. To even have a grandmother pass away, of course, it hurts. But to have her pass away based on the actions that I took is even worse.
For a long period of time, I was just lost. I couldn’t speak to people. The media was coming at me from all of these different directions. All these people were trying to profile me and exploit me.
But basically with that situation, I set the fire to be mischievous to get sent back to my mother and didn’t intend on anyone getting hurt in the process. She ended up losing her life. I deeply regret that. Actually, it is the only regret I have in my life out of all the other mistakes that I have ever made.
MOI JR: Can you talk about your most recent case and what happened?
Malcolm Shabazz: Back in 2002, I was 17 years old and I was at a party in Middletown, New York. There was an individual who was a gang member and a drug dealer who tried to rape a 12-year-old girl. I defended the girl, resulting in an altercation taking place. This individual that I had the altercation with ended up in the hospital.
When I went to court, they didn’t let the girl testify, so it was almost like the rape incident didn’t take place. They didn’t let her testify because she was underage and her parents didn’t want her involved. So her testimony wasn’t admissible. The guy, despite the fact that he was a drug dealer or whatever, they just looked the other way.
I was in a town which was in Upstate, New York. It’s in an all-white area. When it came down to it, it was time for me to go to court. The thing was, was that I was facing all these charges. I was facing kidnapping, burglary, robbery and possession of a weapon. They listed me with all these charges, even though, like possession of a weapon, I had no weapon. You know, certain things they just listed it so they would have it.
So basically, when it came down to it, it’s time to go to court and I’m facing 56 years. My lawyer is asking me, “What do you want to do?” I asked him, “What are my chances of beating this case?” They say 50-50 based on certain things – 50-50 on 56 years? I was not really trying to take the risk.
So they also tell me, the jury could think that they were doing you a favor by letting you off on certain charges and sticking you with one or two. But by that you could still end up with 14 years. So they gave me a plea bargain of two and a half years. I took the two and a half years even though I wasn’t guilty of what they were asking me to admit to, which was a robbery. There was no robbery that ever took place. They asked me to admit to this in order to get this two and a half years. So I took that and they told me to return in 45 days to turn myself in.
Unfortunately, when the 45 days came, I didn’t run but I couldn’t bring myself to turn myself in either. So they ended up catching up with me and added on an extra year and a half. So I ended up with three and a half years. And after I was in the system, I had problems with the police and the racist COs (correctional officers) up north. Of my three and a half years, I ended up doing all of it. I came home on parole and the parole thing was not working for me. I couldn’t last too much in the streets on parole. They kept sending back, sending back. One time they sent me back for a year in the Athens State Correctional Facility for being a half an hour late from coming home from school.
MOI JR: Wow! Well, I think you hit on it a little bit, but can you hit it direct: How were you treated by the police specifically with you being the grandson of Malcolm?
Are you the sole male heir and, if you are or not, can you tell us how law enforcement treats you specifically in prison and on the streets?
Malcolm Shabazz: No, I am not the sole male heir, but I am the first male heir. I have a little cousin named Malik Shabazz. He is 20 years old right now.
When I was in prison, it was interesting because when you first go in, in New York City, like Rikers Island or any prison close to the city, the majority of the COs are going to be Black and Spanish. But then they also have the prisons that are way up in the mountains close to Canada, like Attica, Comstock, Great Meadow, where all the police are from the communities up there, so they are all white.
All white, 100 percent – people that have never been to the city before in their life. It’s about probably six to nine hours away from New York City. They’ve never seen so many Black and Spanish people except for where they work as prison guards in the jail. So the mentality that they have with us is that we are animals.
They wouldn’t keep me in a prison where there were all Black and Spanish COs because if they kept me in a prison like this they were more inclined to treat me like a human being. So what they would do was they would try to break me. When I first went into a correctional facility, I was 17 years old. They put me straight into a maximum security prison and gave me the highest security classification possible. I was classified with like drug kingpins, terrorists, things of this nature. I’m only 17 years old. So I was placed in prison with individuals that were never going home. They have life. They did this as an attempt to break me, but it only made me stronger.
Now when I went up there, one of the things I noticed up north was that you have red-neck racist pigs that have tattoos of Black babies hanging from trees. I couldn’t imagine it. How is it possible that they are allowed to work here? How is this allowed? How is this permitted?
If you are not a racist, you could go into that environment and definitely become a racist because it is a different energy. These pigs would line up and have their sticks out and they would threaten you and taunt you, waiting for you to do something. They would have this deep hatred in their eyes with the veins popping out of their neck. That was the type of environment I was in. So I ended up having a few altercations with the police.
Another thing I noticed was that they had this divide and conquer tactic where they had the inmates fight each other in order to keep control. It’s more of us than them but in order for them to keep control, they got to throw all of these things in the mix in order for us to fight each other.
So when I got there, certain things I noticed and I spoke on these issues and I got some of the inmates to come together and we developed a little more unity and strength in there. When we would walk up the hallway, there wasn’t no more mean mugs; it was Black Power fists.
MOI JR: That’s the business.
Malcolm Shabazz: I basically got set up by the police two times. Ended up having some physical altercations with them and they sent me to the box. They jumped me and sent me to the box. Tried to keep me in there indefinitely, extend my time. Most of my stay in prison, all of my problems, were with the police, never with any of the inmates.
MOI JR: How did the inmates treat you?
Malcolm Shabazz: The inmates treated me with a lot of respect. There are two times in my life where I really understood more of who my grandfather was and the legacy I represent.
One time was when I was 9 years old and I was in North Philly and I got robbed for some money. I was like 10 years old. One of the local kids had robbed me for some money I had. He didn’t know who I was. I told a Muslim sister about it and she made a phone call.
Thirty brothers came and asked me what happened. They were organized and I told them what happened. They went out and said they’ll be back. They went out and came back with more money than the kid took. The next day I saw the kid, who was about 16 or 17 years old. He apologized and said if there was anything I needed, he had my back. That was one time when I was like, hold on. I really didn’t understand because I was like 10 and really didn’t realize what all of this was about.
The second time was when I went to prison. I went to prison, and you would be surprised that people think everybody in prison is an animal, thug or gangsta. But some of the most intelligent people, some of the most intelligent brothas I met in my life were in prison. I don’t even regret the experience of being there. While I was there, it was rough, it was difficult. But after going through it, I’m glad that I met some of the brothas that I met who really put me on and had me reading certain books and they showed me a lot of love.
MOI JR: When were you unleashed and what have you been up too since?
Malcolm Shabazz: I was released Dec. 24, 2008. That’s when I maxed out and all my time was done. The leash was taken off of my neck and it’s interesting because even when I was on parole, every two months they would find an excuse to lock me up. I didn’t even have to commit a crime. Then they would write about it in the paper and make it seem like I was out there ripping and running reckless, which wasn’t the case. But since I have been off of parole, out of the system completely, I’ve been doing real good.
I got out Dec. 24, 2008, and from there I went to spend time with my aunt in New York, Ilyasah, and we went to Qatar, like three weeks later we went to Doha, Qatar, in the Middle East for a Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow conference. I networked, made a lot of good contacts. I came back for a little bit and then I decided to go overseas and study a little bit more. So I went to Damascus, Syria, and I studied there for about a year. I actually just came back from there on April 9. I had a good time. It was a wonderful experience. I was in Dubai, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Doha, Qatar .
Back in November and December, I was invited by a community based organization, Algerian and Moroccan, in Paris, France. They invited me there to speak. I was a guest of honor. I sat on the panel along with two other individuals to speak on various issues like social political issues, education, racial discrimination – things that they were dealing with. I also went to Amsterdam and shot a music video with a Muslim sister that I met in Doha, Qatar. I met her and she ended up writing a song about me. So I went out there and shot a video with her.
Now I’m back in the states working on my book that should be out maybe in 2011. That’s going real good and I’m just taking it easy. I’m giving speeches at mosques, schools, where I’m speaking to the youth and it’s wonderful. I feel blessed and I feel good. I feel like I’m on the right path and I’m moving forward in a positive direction.
MOI JR: Do you have the same political and spiritual beliefs as your grandfather?
Malcolm Shabazz: For the most part, yes. I’m a Muslim. I’m a practicing Muslim. That’s why I was in the Middle East. I was studying Islam. I do believe I have similar political views. Like some places where I go to speak, I don’t feel like my views are too radical or anything extreme at all. But sometimes they will say, “Oh yeah, we understand why you say this or that because of who your grandfather is. But what do you mean by that? You’re extreme.” It’s not extreme; it’s the truth. It’s unfortunate that today the way the mindset of the people is when they hear the truth they consider it radical or extreme.
MOI JR: What is your relationship, if any, with the Nation of Islam?
Malcolm Shabazz: My relationship with the Nation of Islam? To me they are not Muslim. I believe they are a deviant sect. Anybody that believes that the White man is the devil and the Black man is God, I can’t go for that. You just have to learn from history and the situations that happened with my grandfather; it’s all there.
I believe that there is a lot of sincere Brothas and Sistas in the Nation of Islam. But I don’t believe in their leadership at all.
MOI JR: Who do you believe killed your grandfather and why?
Malcolm Shabazz: I believe my grandfather was killed by the same people that killed Martin Luther King, the same people that killed Medgar Evers, the same people that assassinated Fred Hampton. These are all the same people: the United States government. They are behind the scenes and they pull the strings. But you are never going to see a government official with a suit and a badge walk up to you and pull the trigger. They are going to get somebody that looks like you to do their dirty work. So I believe they manipulated people, especially within the Nation of Islam, and they traded time for the assassination to take place.
MOI JR: How do you feel about the government releasing the self-confessed assassin of your grandfather a few months ago?
Malcolm Shabazz: Actually, a lot of people ask me that and I really have no ill will toward that individual, to be honest with you. He was a pawn and he did a lot of time. I believe in the hereafter. Everybody accounts for their actions one way or another in this life or the next life. So I don’t feel any ill will towards him. If I saw him today, I would want to sit down and want to ask him some questions but I wouldn’t feel like I’d have to do something towards him.
MOI JR: Man, you’re more graceful than I am about that issue.
Malcolm Shabazz: If anybody else were to do anything, I wouldn’t hold it against them. I could understand how they feel. But it’s just me personally, you know.
MOI JR: No doubt, no doubt. If people want to keep up with you and what you got going, man, how can they do that? Are you anywhere on line?
Malcolm Shabazz: I’m on Facebook (laughs). But I just got back to the states, so I got to get my little foundation together. There is the internet, but a lot of things on the internet are false.
MOI JR: No doubt.
Malcolm Shabazz: I will be speaking a lot more and my book is about to come out soon, Insha’Allah. And maybe I will have a website up soon, but I’m just getting back from the states. I’ve been back for a month so Insha’Allah, you can just keep your eyes open.
MOI JR: Well, what’s your book about?
Malcolm Shabazz: My book is, I wouldn’t say is an autobiography because I’m too young. I’m only 25 years old. But it’s like a memoir slash “coming of age” with social-political commentary. It’s basically different experiences I’ve been through directly from my mouth. I’m explaining what happened here, what happened there. What decision did I make and why I did I choose to make this decision and what could have been done differently. There are a lot of things people think they know that they don’t know. They read about it in the media, but the media is like, believe half of what you see, none of what you hear, if that.
I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve read a lot of articles people have written about me as if they know me, as if they were there. I’ve never met them. I’ve never sat down with them. They never interviewed me, anybody in my family or anybody that even knows me. So where does the information come from that they get to write about? So this book is very important for me because people everywhere I go, certain things I try to do, they always want to ask me the same questions. So now, by me putting this out there, it gives me the opportunity to clear everything. Clear the record. Set it straight. Expose some things and also move on into other areas.
MOI JR: Last but not least and the most insignificant of all the questions, man, have you ever met Nas? Nas had some lyrics where he directly talked about you.
Malcolm Shabazz: I have never met Nas but I know Nas is a 5 percenter. You know, I always liked his music until one of cousins, LeAsah, told me. She is from California, Crenshaw Long Beach area. One day she asked me, “Do you know what Nas said about you on his new track?” and I was like naw, send it to me. So she sent it to me. I was locked up at the time. She sent it to me and I was like, Wow, because I had a lot of respect and admiration for him. So I felt a little bad about that and at that time when I heard it, I wished I was a rapper . He doesn’t know me; he never met me. For him to say that, I would think he had more sense than that.
MOI JR: Exactly. That is why Chairman Fred ADDRESSED him on your behalf. But thank you, Malcolm Shabazz. If there is anything else you wish to say, go ahead.
Malcolm Shabazz: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure and an honor. I just want to shout out everybody in California, especially Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area. When I was locked up, I was in the box 23½ hours lockdown and most of all my mail came from there. I had somebody from South Central send me a dollar and that meant more to me than anything else. Fred Hampton Jr. and Yuri Kochiyama.
MOI JR: Right on, man. Well, thank you for being on the Block Report. This is the first of many, you know what I’m saying, and you already know this is one of your media homes. You can call on us whenever you need to say something or whenever you want to push something, man.
Malcolm Shabazz: Thank you. I appreciate it.
POCC Minister of Information JR spoke after Bobby Seale at the Black Panther Party's 43rd reunion, held at Laney College in Oakland Oct. 24, 2009. - Photo: Malaika Kambon
MOI JR: All right, thank you, comrade. Malcolm Shabazz: Black power, Black love!
MOI JR: That’s right. Free ‘em all!
Malcolm Shabazz: Free ‘em all!