Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Interview of Malcolm X's Daughter: ILYASAH SHABAZZ by William Jackson, M.Edu

There are rare opportunities that allow a person to interview the person that he idolizes and respects in life. A man, even in death, his words can continue to mentor, influence Blacks to reach their potential as a great people. My opportunity to interview Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X was an awesome honor, humbling experience and reignited my passion to be a better father, educator, mentor and community activist. 

This unique opportunity afforded me an opportunity to get close to my inspiration that today has influence on the minds and passions of millions of people globally. I have for years read books, listened to Youtube videos, Podcasts and blogged about the life and cultural influences of Malcolm X. 

His passion for Black culture, the undeniable love for his wife and children, embracing the empowerment of education and teaching the historical contributions of Blacks not just in America, but around the world. Malcolm X’s influence is felt even in the 21st century. Ossie Davis at the funeral of Malcolm X reflected on him as a Prince - our own Black shining Prince.

I’m not a member of the Nation of Islam, I’m not a practicing Muslim, nor am I a closet Black Panther, what I’ am is a man who is learning that “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything,” (Malcolm X). Reading both the Christian Bible, and the Holy Qu’ran, learning about the life and teachings of Muhammad just as important the teachings of Jesus Christ, there is no conflict. 

Collectively the teachings are heard in many speeches highlighted by Malcolm X. Learning about loving your brothers and sisters of diverse cultural colors and importantly to uplift all people especially those that are threatened with poverty and lack of educational equality and economic along with political in-equitability. Blacks suffered from these and more, Malcolm X using the power of voice and pen sought to wake up Blacks and inspire them to be better then they were. I believe that through education and sharing the life challenges and accomplishments of Malcolm X this has allowed me to look at my life and see where I need to continue to mature and where I need to dedicate and in some cases rededicate my life to service in my community.

El Hagg Malik El Shabazz was not a complicated man; he was a man of purpose and passion. Malcolm X was sometimes misunderstood, feared and quoted with a dialogue of cultural upheaval and society turmoil. Malcolm X’s words were fuel for the engines of freedom and independence that where also used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Asa Phillip Randolph, and even Nelson Mandela. The words were the foundation for Blacks to wake up and take ownership for their lives, not to rely on the government for handouts, welfare and second class citizenship. Blacks during these times and even
now need Malcolm X to inspire and motivate them, just as they needed Dr. King and Medgar Evers

Malcolm X with his words of, “by any means necessary,” was not a statement of violence, but a passionate plea for Blacks to educate themselves and to unify their communities. In too many cases Blacks are feared because of the greatness that Blacks do not even comprehend that is inside themselves and their children. It seems that other cultures see the potential, but there are too many Blacks that are still in denial and blind to their abilities.

Malcolm X’s weapons were his words, the ability to communicate, to ignite passions in Blacks that were once thought extinguished by racism, prejudice and Jim Crow laws. Too many Blacks forget that if it were not for the words of Malcolm X, Blacks would be too scared to climb out the trenches of poverty, they would believe they could not learn and could not be educated, they would accept the status of ignorance and even embrace the fear of hatred thrust upon them.

Blacks are more than just property; Blacks are more than just consumers of products that distract them into genocidal killers because of music, clothes, shoes and drugs. Malcolm X spoke of this before Michael Jordan had his brand and Hip Hop was the so called music of young Black men and women.

Before there could be any real change, Malcolm X understood for Blacks there needed to be a psychological challenge; this change had to be strong enough to show Blacks that “you are as great as you say you are.” If Blacks heard it enough, thought it enough and said it enough with passion they would understand not to let others define you nor let others dictate where you can or cannot go. Blacks have been taught to hate themselves, to hate their culture, their color and their ability to grow past poverty and ignorance. There needs to be a “decolonization” in the minds of Blacks.

Malcolm X attempted to show Blacks that there needed to be a “negotiable identity”
(Eric Lincoln). This identity is one of self, cultural and societal respect. The will to be anything and do anything that a Black person desires in the world. The daughter of  Malcolm X ilyasah Al-Shabazz is a example of a community organizer and activist, motivational speaker, and author of the book ”Growing Up X” 2002 and others soon to be published. Ilyasah promotes higher education, interfaith dialogue, and building bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world. She is the founder of Malcolm X Enterprises and is a Trustee for The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

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