Monday, December 22, 2014

Of course 'All Lives Matter'

According to US Census data, females outnumber males throughout the United States between 50 percent and 56 percent. Niagara and Erie counties are both 51 percent female. Have you ever wondered how females are defined as a minority even though they’re actually the majority of our population?

Demographically, it doesn’t make sense. Maybe issues concerning females are a minor concern of the dominant society. Maybe it’s because females don’t share the power, opportunities, rights and privileges as their male counterparts. Here’s some facts to consider:
• Even though females are out-graduating males in college they’re still under-earning males in almost every degree.
• Females earn about 75 cents on the dollar compared to males.

• Unlike many countries, the U.S. still doesn’t have a national law to guarantee paid maternal leave for females.

• Females make up only 4 percent of the CEOs of the S and P 500 companies.

• There has never been a female vice president or president of the U.S.

Because of this historical and present day reality affecting our female population, there have always been people, organizations and movements dedicated towards establishing human/civil rights and fair economic opportunities for women. The facts I’ve shared, and other statistics, show a historical sexist and misogynistic sentiment that has pervaded American society since its 1776 conception. Females lives matter and we cannot diminish, minimize or trivialize this. That would be equivalent to going to a woman’s rally against domestic violence and arguing that they need to stop talking about this because “All Lives Matter” and men are DV victims too. Some may even advocate that dogs lives matter because x amount die every year protecting their owners from home invasions. 

Whatever a person’s reasoning is for hijacking an important narrative like this, and redirecting attention away from the main concern that females lives matter, it’s one of the main reasons institutional sexism persists. The same lack of consideration and engagement also applies to the infamous “R-word” — Racism.

On Dec. 13, in conjunction with an International Day of Resistance, there was a rally held at Legend’s Park to bring awareness to the disproportionate instances of police brutality toward African-American citizens. The rallying cry was, and is, “Black Lives Matter.” According to data from 1999-2012 from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice on police brutality:
• A black person is killed extra-judicially (unlawfully) every 28 hours by law enforcement.

• Black men between ages 19 and 25 are the group most at risk to be shot by police.

• Black youth are 4.5 times more likely to be killed by police than any other age or racial group in America.

• Black people comprise 26 percent of police shootings we only makeup 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Like females, and various segments of our population deemed “minorities,” African-Americans are also disproportionately affected by socioeconomic conditions including police brutality. Although some of you would love to believe these issue are because black people are on welfare, criminals by nature and/or uneducated, many times we are discriminated against simply because of the color of our skin — the same way many females are discriminated against because of their gender. This also gives you some insight into the degree of scrutiny, bullying and outright attacks black women, double minorities, have historically received when they play prominent roles or hold executive positions within this society. Of course “All Lives Matter,” including females and black lives.

In this critical day and time it’s important to understand that in the U.S. there are still marginalized segments of our society, deemed minorities, that are outright disrespected and discriminated against simply because they’re female, they’re black or both. These problems specifically affects these groups, not all people, and it must be discussed and resolved because whatever is allowed to happen to the least of us eventually affects us all. We share neighborhoods. We are your co-workers, doctors, public officials and prepare your food at restaurants. We are your children and grandchildren’s peers. We are your family members through marriage or birth.

Learn more about the plight of your fellow citizens and what you can do to be a positive agent of change. Knowledge empowers you to “know” the “ledge” or limitation of certain ideas that no longer reflect our changing societal landscape.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Photograph: Dan Cappellazzo [Niagara Gazette]
 Black Lives Matter
The following article by Philip Gambini appeared in the Niagara Gazette highlighting a December 13th Rally I organized on the National Day of Resistance against police brutality:
"Legends Park gathering in support of national protests focuses on community issues"
Community members and city leaders gathered in Legend’s Park Saturday in solidarity with national protests speaking out against police violence in America.
The gathering, organized by local activist Saladin Allah, was attended by a dozen residents young and old, including Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and Council Chairman Charles Walker. In the formidable cold, it became less a rally and more a forum on the issues facing members of the Niagara Falls community and across the nation.

"We are showing publicly that we take responsibility of ourselves," Allah said. "We are not relying on somebody to speak for us and we are not relying on somebody to take care of us."

The group stood in a circle in Legend’s Park, discussing a range of topics from the historical treatment of African-Americans, to the family’s importance in a productive community, to the responsibility of individuals to learn for themselves about this country’s heritage and history.

"It’s important that we are mindful and aware of what we need to do for ourselves," Allah said. Resident Ezra Scott braved the December air to show his support. He spoke about critiques of the national protest, whether they were to identify police brutality or community violence. In the end, he said, it is not localized to a specific issue. Rather, it is a gesture of strength to identify that community members who are not often heard have a voice. "Whether it was because of an unfortunate event," he said, "we need to take charge, take initiative, keep it moving, and people are going to follow."

A focus of the forum was that it was not organized specifically around faith, color or denomination. Those present talked of a common humanity that must be elevated and honored if we are to live in a truly equal, just society. The group took time to congratulate the presence of the council members and thanked them for standing in unity with their cause.

"The power behind it," Grandinetti said, "is once you take the risk and use your voice one time it becomes easier and easier ... It’s not about being angry or violent, it’s about having a voice." She discussed her involvement in women’s and children’s rights. She asked for those present to raise their issues with positive energy in city government. "We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and this city should be thriving," she said. "But it’s because there’s a small group of people who want to be big fish in a dirty little pond. They are keeping it down."

The group also touched on an understanding of historical context. Allah spoke of immigrant community members who had changed their name to conceal themselves from persecution, while Grandinetti recounted her father’s own efforts to do the same. "Out of the 238 years we have been in this country, 189 of those years we were not allowed to participate in American society. Eighty-nine years we were slaves, another 100 years we were segregated," Allah said. "That’s over 75 percent of the time we have been in this country we’ve been looked at as less than, as thugs, as savages." Walker spoke how American civil discourse had devolved, rather than progressed, with election of President Barack H. Obama. He recounted his shock at how this president had been spoken about in media, while other members of the crowd noted that his very citizenship had been questioned from the start.

"Our voices are the importance," he said. "We are not going to take this. Collectively speaking out is the only way we’re going to change things." Unfortunate as the circumstances in Ferguson and New York are, he said, they have to happen in order to gather peoples’ attention and focus their efforts on change. Though the numbers in Niagara Falls paled in comparison to the protests in Washington D.C. and New York City, many of those present dismissed the consideration outright. Any turn out, they said is a valued and important show of support. "In the Bible it says faith without work is dead, and obviously we are a people of faith," Allah said. "But we need some work, straight up work, to go along with that faith. That’s what we are, we represent that work."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Journey of Sight and Sound

Kontact is my third musical project; a concept album released through my company Quanaah Publishing. Reminiscent of the 1997 film, you are the album's lead character; a scientist listening to coded radio transmissions seeking evidence of HipHop's Extra Celestial life. You learn that each song contains lyrics of technical drawings that reveal a complex world of advanced civilizations, subterranean folklore and self exploration. Through this sequence of sound sent from a star light years away, you've been chosen to make first contact.

Official Track Listing

Kontact is now available globally and can be ordered through any store that sells music, here at this Amazon Link, my E-Store and my Quanaah Publishing Store.

Peace and Thanks for your Support!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Brand Ambassadors
In Search of Coretta Scott
Towards the end of the Summer I was having a very in depth conversation with a close female friend of mine. After explaining to her some of the things I deal with as a public figure, and the considerations/challenges that come along with finding a mate, she said something to me that was both hilarious and insightful in terms of compatibility. She said, "Dang, you sound like you're looking for Coretta Scott King."

Her statement made me reflect upon my past relationships in comparison to where I'm at today. In my teenage years the major qualities I looked for in a girl were how attractive, nice and smart she was. Of course this was before I had my first sexual encounters, and when I did.., this also became important to me. Two decades later, I never thought I'd be considering other qualities that are important to me when it comes to compatibility. Qualities that some of my contemporaries often don't understand because there are things I deal with that others don't have to consider. For example, this niche website now receives over 120,000 visitors a month. Although some of these visitors purchase my books/music via the links I provide, this traffic is primarily for the purpose of reading my articles. This translates into emails, messages and inboxes I receive every day from people throughout the world for various reasons; which means a certain portion of my day, every day, is dedicated to following up with people who are reaching out to me. Mind you, this has nothing to do with correspondences I receive in the postage mail or my other social networks Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn. Add the various initiatives/events I organize or participate in, my STYA youth program I facilitate in my local community, other projects I work on as a creative artist/book publisher and it gives you a partial glimpse of what my world entails. It's a lot, and sometimes feels overwhelming, yet I love what I do! 

All of this got me to thinking about how my perspective of relationships has evolved to the point of seeing each other as Brand Ambassadors; someone who is capable of effectively representing your relationship [the brand] at home and abroad [nationally and internationally], in person or via their social media networks. Your brand is your mark, label, identity and what you represent. Therefore, when we're considering potential mates, dating/courting is really a rebranding process and how we're living is a graphic representation of that brand. Fresh off of the campaign trail running for public office in my City, I came upon an online discussion where women were talking about attire to wear at formal events. Some of them, although sweet, were totally inexperienced and didn't understand that flats/sandals or other accessories were inappropriate for such a venue; especially when your companion is the guest of honor where you may be called upon to say a few words. Although this may appear to some as a small thing, in terms of cultural competence, etiquette, social graces and the level of sophistication required to recognize certain social cues and navigate various environments, a woman like this would not be readily compatible for me, brand-wise. Consider if President Barack Obama had Joseline Hernandez (from Love and Hip Hop Atlanta) as his first lady instead of Michelle Obama as his Brand Ambassador... Sure she may be perfectly compatible with someone else, yet she is not presently compatible with The President of the United States [POTUS] for various reasons. Can she become compatible? Possibly, in time. Yet a POTUS doesn't have time, they have at least four years and that's a lot of public image/relations work and public scrutiny to deal with while striving to fulfill the duties of that Office.

Ironically, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose a woman, who by her own account, was incompatible with him at the time of their marriage. As a young Coretta Scott, she aspired to be in the music industry and had no real interest in MLK or his future as a Minister when they met in College. Coretta wasn't smitten, she looked at Martin as short, literally, and in time he grew on her. Even months before their wedding day Coretta was still uncommitted to marrying him and confided these reservations in a letter to her elder sister Edythe. This wasn't a case of cold feet, she understandably didn't want to give up her promising career and become a Preacher's wife. So on their June 18th, 1953 wedding day, in which she had the vow "obey your husband" removed from the ceremony and retained her name "Scott", Coretta Scott-King reluctantly sacrificed her dream of becoming a classical singer and became MLK's Brand Ambassador. It was actually in the years following the death of her husband that she was brought to the forefront and became the face, political impetus and momentum to carry on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. She wasn't down from day one, she learned to love Martin and his mission. I mention this to illustrate that even Coretta Scott King, as notable and world renown as she is, was unresolved about her commitment to the brand. Today, with the proliferation of professional women asserting their autonomy and pursuing their careers, men are more likely to find women who will face this same dilemma when it comes to compatibility. And many of these women are remaining career women because they're not enountering men with an actual mission.

Keep in mind that everything I'm saying goes both ways! A woman should also consider if a man is capable of representing their brand at home and abroad [nationally and internationally], in person or via their social media networks. Sometimes I see brother's women leisurely post statuses/comments via social media that a woman by my side would get publicly burned at the stake for, but I have to remember, "That's their brand." Some people exist in a world where they only need to consider how their words/actions affect their family members, friends or co-workers because that's the extent of who they deal with and their sphere of influence. In my world I may get an email from France or South Africa about something I say/do or meet some random person who recognizes me in a different State/City who'll ask me about it. Its happened and happens so I have to consider differently what I say and do. I also have to consider differently how I respond to what people say and do against or in alliance with what I do. 

You know, I've been intimate with women over the years, more often than I'd like to admit, yet as I've grown in my purpose I understand the level of responsibility, accountability and scrutiny that has come along with being a public figure. Even if we aren't, I think being responsible and accountable is important. I also understand that the women by my side will immediately inherit that responsibility, accountability, scrutiny and probably more so because 1.) How society defines females and 2.) The lens females assess each other through. It's a lot to deal with and in some cases I've only shared a part of my world with women in order to not burden them with everything I do. The more I shared, the more they learned they would have to share me with the world, and would ultimately be expected to speak for me in my temporary [schedule conflict/sickness] or definite [death] absence. Some women are simply not prepared to be an active part of a legacy and I've learned to accept that, sometimes reluctantly. The opposite is also true; Some men are simply not prepared to be an active part of a legacy and women must learn to accept that. So No, respectfully, I am not looking for a Coretta Scott King. Although she grew to embrace his mission, Coretta was a career woman who wasn't looking for MLK and didn't recognize him, or his purpose, when she saw him. I am looking for someone different.


Monday, November 03, 2014

Veiled Prophets, Profits and Veils
~The Racial Backdrop of Ferguson~

First and foremost I would like to THANK ALL OF YOU who helped support our Ferguson Fundraiser Initiative thus making it possible to send two of our community members Saia HuKeekui and Pocahontus "Cush" Sanchez to Ferguson Missouri on October 10th. Following their return, we held a Community Information Session on October 28th  at our public library where they shared their experiences and insights about their journey and some of the ideas we have in terms of organizing locally and continuing to support our community members in [Ferguson] St. Louis. I also want to THANK my Universal Family in Saudi and other Community Activists in St. Louis who have been a tremendous help to all of us for providing an accurate narrative of the events happening in Ferguson. 

October 15th edition of the Buffalo Challenger News

One of the common phrases I've continually heard from people living in St. Louis and reiterated by our community members and others who traveled there is, "There's a long history of racism here!" From the 1857 Dred Scott Case declaring that black people had no rights to claiming citizenship, the 1917 Race Riots in East St. Louis and the history of police brutality leading up to the recent murder of Michael Brown, it seemed to make perfect sense until I began to hear about a hidden history, veiled even, that began to provide a clearer socioeconomic backdrop of this divided city.

People with a level of prosperity bankroll Politicians, to produce Policies, that protect their Profits and Property with the help of the Police. In other words, the law is only as strong, and legit, as the people who write it and are willing to enforce it, and these are usually those in a position of power pulling the strings; the elite. In order to understand who is pulling the socioeconomic strings just follow the money. You'll see an elaborate often tangled web weaved with Politicians, Policies and the Police. So in considering [Ferguson] Missouri, let us examine that web. 

Approximately 20 years after the Dred Scott decision, a group of Caucasian businessmen got together to found a [Secret] Organization called The Veiled Prophet Society. Because this special interest group was comprised of strictly members with money/political clout, this was more like a Veiled "Profit" Society. A year before its founding, the City of St. Louis suffered a major blow to its economy due to a strike of its railroad workers, many of whom were black and obviously working class. So the founding of this Society, under the auspices of being civic minded, was really about reestablishing the idea of who was top billin'. And what better way to flaunt this than with a parade? Thus in 1878, this Veiled Prophet Society held its first Veiled Prophet Parade and Fair leading up to what became its annual Veiled Prophet debutante Ball held in December. Aside from the Mardi Gras-like pomp displayed as prosperity to the public, and racial stereotypes depicted in the floats, what was most notable about this Parade, smack dab in the middle of the post-Reconstruction South, was the regalia and symbols associated with the Veiled Prophet; he wore a white hooded costume carrying a pistol in one hand and a shogun in the other; replicating another Southern-based Organization called the Klu Klux Klan [KKK]. And history teaches us that the Klan's sole purpose was to intimidate, harass and murder blacks and other people of color who sought to do anything for themselves socioeconomically. Their mission, in the words of many white Political Candidates, was and continues to be to "Take Back America" and the Veiled Prophet Society's Annual Parade, which is one of the oldest in this country, Fair and debutante Ball, simply echoed those elitist sentiments. Reinforcing this Society's idea of hegemony, prominence and legacy, the Ball culminated with the Veiled Prophet crowning a Queen [of Love and Beauty] from his Court of Honor and given an expensive piece of jewelry to be kept as a family heirloom. In 1972 Activists successfully infiltrated the Ball and tore the veil off of the prophet, revealing the identity of Monsanto Executive Tom K. Smith. I think it's also worth mentioning that 11 years later, the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm [M.O.V.P.E.R.] or The Grotto [Cave], was founded in the North as an appendant body in Freemasonry. So in terms of special interest groups, there's an obvious link between the ideology and socioeconomic associations of these groups that whites often belonged to simultaneously. To research this correlation further, check out my article Pike Dreams.

The Veiled Prophet and Gandalf The White (Lord of the Rings)
Fast forward to 2014. This public display of power, with some modifications, has continued to exist as the socioeconomic backdrop of St. Louis, especially in a municipality like Ferguson where only 3 people on its 53 police force are black while the population is almost 70% black. Yeah the Veiled Prophet Parade is now known as the VP Parade and Fair Saint Louis. Yeah people of color can now participate to some degree. Yeah their official throwback flyer looks like a benevolent Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings, but there still remains one common denominator; the same elite controls it. It is this perverse mentality of white supremacy, elitism, exclusivity and privilege that sets the sick backdrop of systemic racism that continues to erode this country and undermine the relationships of the human family, whether it's being carried out through police brutality, redlining, tokenism, crony capitalism or the demonizing/objectification of people of color in their media. This is the backdrop of Ferguson and every other city in America. Regardless how primitive or progressive it appears to be, the power dynamics of race relations are present and wherever you see people of color in proximity to whites, we are not in the seat of power. Even in a Chocolate City like Atlanta, whites still control the major financial institutions, traffic system, utility companies, zoning boards, medical facilities and of course the food/textile industry. This article is not to imply that the Veiled Prophet Society is some new age Illuminati that put a hit out on Mike Brown. What I am saying is that in the eyes of the elite, the lives of outsiders have little to no value. It is only until we look behind the veil and realize that we, people of color and poor whites, have been and are being kept apart from their own socioeconomic equality, can we organize to transform our collective condition. There's a longstanding history, yes his-story, of racism in St. Louis. The kind of racism that helped shape and mold the cultural consciousness of people such as Dick Gregory, Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, Redd Foxx, Donny Hathaway, Maxine Waters, Nato CaliphAli of the St. Lunatics [Power God Allah] and Tef Poe to name a few. The events in Ferguson are successfully removing the veil, not just in St. Louis but throughout this country and the injustice there is a threat to justice everywhere. Be studious to learn what's going on, assist our organizers in Ferguson financially, with consumables or etc., organize locally to establish a network of support in order to help prepare each other for incidences happening like this where you live. And above all, keep in mind that our "Unity" is the key and answer to solving social ills like this. Whether it's unifying to police our own communities, unifying to support our own businesses, unifying to privatize our own schools or just being a unified voice in rearing our children. It is through this unity can we forge our own special interest groups and ultimately rival the power and shift the dynamics of the elite. 


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Plumb Line: used for finding the depth of water or determining the vertical on an upright surface.


I recently had a conversation with a brother about naysayers, haters or people who are simply jealous of what you seemingly have and/or who you are. I say "seemingly" because in the grand scheme of things, in a universe that's one where every force and object is interdependent, it's impossible for someone to actually have something you don't. In other words, whatever a person has, whether it's materialistic such as clothes, or immaterial such as patience, it is not a personal possession. Those clothes didn't come out of thin air; they were created from the materials of the planet, with the hands of many people, including those who contributed to its marketing and promotion. Patience isn't an immaterial quality that one person on the planet personally owns. Every one, in some capacity, demonstrates it; some more than others and even a child with ADHD has some degree of patience. Even on a subatomic level we're all composed of the same stuff; undifferentiated matter energy. Psychologically and Socially? The source of all thought processes is one Collective Consciousness or Universal Mind. Our brain is a conductor, our bodies are physical vehicles and as sentient beings we interact with one another and our planet. So at the root of any naysayer, hater or person that's jealous of what they believe someone has, is a cosmological glitch. Somewhere along their journey they never evolved to the degree of grasping the oneness of the universe, understanding how interdependence works or recognizing the role of dynamic opposites.

When a child is incarnated [born] and they're discovering themselves and how to attend the world, one of the first lessons they must learn is how to share and cooperate. Developmentally, psychologically and socioeconomically the world revolves around a child for a number of years because its very existence [ex. food, clothing and shelter] depends upon what its parent/guardian must do for them. Every person began from this state of only receiving and giving nothing in return, yet not all people evolve beyond this parochial mindset to understand the importance of equality, reciprocity and the interdependence of our universe. The jealous banter adults make about what someone has or is doing is no different than the teasing five year old children do in a kindergarten classroom. The pouting response a middle schooler gives you when they're asked to clean their room is no different than the antagonism a neighbor shows you when they're encouraged to clean up their community. The petty competitiveness, constant comparisons and insecure commentary 16 year olds make amongst each other in high school hallways across America is no different than the petty competitiveness, constant comparisons and insecure commentary adults make across social media. Some of us have not grown up. Some of us are striving to grow up and some of us could care less about ever becoming a mature adult. As my Enlightener's Enlightener Life Justice once told me, "The child doesn't go willingly, it must be driven out of a person in order for them to evolve."

Toys R Us Kids
So what does, "The child doesn't go willingly, it must be driven out of a person in order for them to evolve" actually mean in quantifiable terms? For one, it means that life needs to show a person how to share and that lesson may come in the form of giving away one of your most prized possessions. If we never learned how to work in a group and cooperate, life may teach us the need for cooperation and teamwork with the policies and procedures of our place of employment, or risk being fired. Sometimes people have a toy hording mentality; they're like a child that only plays with other children if they have control of the toys and make up the rules. A person with this mentality often only learns when life puts them in a position where they have no control over all of their toys [material possessions] being taken away from them and they're forced to follow the rules of someone else. This is what I alluded to earlier in this article about recognizing the role of dynamic opposites. Because every child comes into this world polarized, leaning in a way where they depend upon everything for their very existence, part of its evolutionary process is to learn independence and ultimately interdependence. From the beginning, a child is on one side of the scale of interdependence. That side is dependence. The other extreme, or polar opposite is independence. Both perspectives, dependence and independence, are 'horizontally' the same on a vertical scale of interdependence. In mathematical terms, interdependence is the right angle of this horizontal plane. In some circles it's also known as the living perpendicular, being upright or symbolized by a plumb line in the building trades. A person who is heavily dependent and a person who is grossly independent both fail to realize the importance of equality and reciprocity. While the dependent relies on what you give, the independent relies on what they can get. Both of them are primarily concerned about their singular needs and wants, and neither of them have evolved to the point of considering the needs and wants of the collective. Throughout the chronology of humanity, from our most classical endogenous societies to our most contemporary, the greatest examples of peace and harmony have always existed amongst people who demonstrate(d) the highest expression of interdependence amongst each other and our environment. The opposite is also true, the greatest examples of war and disharmony have always existed amongst people who demonstrate(d) the lowest expression of interdependence amongst each other and our environment. This also implies civilization and the degree to which a people are civilized. You can measure the level of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, culture and refinement of a society by how well it provides for and protects its most vulnerable members; its women, children, elders and the disabled. If those provisions and protections are in place, that society will function with a high level of civilization. Whenever you see those provisions and protections not in place, that society falls into a pit of savagery and despair. The story that Yacub was a six year child playing alone when he came up with his epiphany of making a Devil when he got older is not a game. This, amongst other things about his upbringing, suggest many things about his maturation process and his personality later in his life. We also learn that central to his life story are the themes of dependence, independence and how this ultimately exposed the importance of freedom, justice, equality, reciprocity and interdependence of the human family.

In closing, I want to remind you that everyone does not mature at the same rate. Some people may chose to never grow up and that's their choice. Sometimes I witness my seventeen year old daughter behaving more maturely than women approaching their forties. Personally speaking, I am far more mature than I was five years ago. With that in mind, it's important to respect where people are and not try to force them to be something they clearly aren't right now. "The child doesn't go willingly, it must be driven out of a person in order for them to evolve" doesn't mean that we go on a crusade to change adults who behave like children. That advice is for our own children and/or children we may work with professionally as educators, counselors and mentors, within the legal guidelines, rules and regulations of our organization and business. When it comes to adults, life itself and the experiences that come along with their behavior is what will change them -if they live to tell about it. Of course we must make knowledge born or share advice with people to save their life, yet when we realize they're not in a place to receive it, we must move out of their way and all of the obstacles they're creating. If naysayers have something negative to say about you, remove yourself from the situation and let your positive works be the consistent response to their criticisms. They project upon you the idea that you think you're more because they actually believe they're less and have less than you. They criticize what you're doing to assist others to try and keep others from critically examining what they're really not doing to assist. They never learned that in a universe that's one, where every force and object is interdependent, it's impossible for someone to have something you don't. In fact, there truly is no "you" and "me" essentially, it's only "we" and "ours" that represents the collective "All." How we reconcile that reality, with our dependent or independent ideas, will define the degree of peace and happiness in our lives. It also sets the cooperative stage to advocate any society of men [women and children] or group for one common cause. The only way we can truly want for our brothers and sisters what we want for ourselves, and genuinely support each other in what we do, we must know and understand that we are one. That degree of unity and sense of cooperation cannot be taught to some of us. Through the growing pains of experience, it must be driven out of us.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Controlling The Narrative!
~The role of our Emissary~

     The majority of people that are watching what's going on in Ferguson aren't actually there. So I wanted to share what we we're presently doing and what others can do to take advantage of this opportunity to assist and learn from our people who are in Ferguson. Young black males have historically died and continue to die like Mike Brown for no justifiable reason and we need to continue to do what's necessary to stop this.

     In addition to the obvious injustice surrounding the cold blooded execution [murder] of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, another concern people have is the media blackout, media bullying by law enforcement and the outright inaccurate reporting on behalf of mainstream media. Because of this, the people have been echoing the importance of "Controlling the Narrative." Well what does that mean? Controlling the narrative is accurately relating and elaborating on a clear sequence of events that occur over time. In regards what's going on in Ferguson, that narrative began when a 17 year old unarmed youth named Micheal Brown was executed [shot six times] by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Outside of accurate 'on the ground' Ferguson sources some of us are connected to directly or are following on social media, the overall narrative has been manipulated and controlled by Fox News, CNN and other mainstream media sources that do not represent the eyes, ears or identity of our people in Ferguson. Historically, this has been a living nightmare for any unrepresented, marginalized, oppressed or disenfranchised group of people living in America and any society where European Colonialist/American values serve as its status quo.
     Several years ago when I started this website A.S.I.A. I had three faithful readers; me, myself and I. Fast forward to 2014 and I've nurtured a consistent readership of over 100K per month with 60% of July's web traffic being new visitors. That's phenomenal for a niche website that's not selling secrets, streaming porn, razzle dazzling you with products or entertaining you with gossip and paparazzi pictures. As a writer and public speaker, my goal was to do my part in positively controlling the narrative of black, oppressed and poor people in general, and Five Percenters [Gods and Earths] specifically. Before I embarked on this endeavor, I understood that when we're not in a position to accurately relate and elaborate on any sequence of events that occur over time to the world, we're relying on others to do it for us. We've empowering others to write and define our destiny so our narrative, by forfeit, becomes his-story, not even herstory and definitely not ourstory. So from this platform I expanded to establishing a popular youtube channel/vlog A.S.I.A. TV and took it further by founding Quanaah Publishing; a company I've successfully published and distribute eleven of my books through and assist other independent artists with producing, manufacturing and distributing their own literary [Book] and audiovisual [CD/DVD] projects. During that time when I started A.S.I.A. there were various other writers who were an active part of controlling our narrative as well. Today, there are few if any. Today we need them, videographers, creative artists and others, more than ever to be a consistent source of information, empowerment and perspective of this world. If we aren't that worldview, than who will or can be?
     On a local level one of the things we're doing is we created a Ferguson Fundraiser Initiative that's two-fold. First to help fund the travel expenses of one of our community members trip to Ferguson and to provide financial assistance to any families that are in need of food, clothing or shelter when they get there. Secondly to send our own Emissary there on a fact-finding mission to publically document what's actually going on and to connect with local organizers to learn strategic planning that can be shared to prepare our communities here for potential incidents like this. Again, in the interest of controlling our own narrative, if you live in a City/Community outside of Ferguson and aren't able to get there to see for yourself and learn what's actually going on, support someone in your City/Community who is able to get there. I think it's a worthy investment and makes more sense than just complaining about the propaganda and bias reporting in mainstream media; establish and invest in our own main stream of media by supporting our own Emissaries. Even if you're the type of person who isn't interested in actually doing anything yet appreciates a good debate around the water cooler at work, supporting a local Ferguson Fundraiser Initiative is like buying a new reloadable Talib Kweli VIP Card. Anytime you get into a discussion with people that have opinions based upon second or third hand information about Mike Brown or Ferguson, you can pull out your VIP Card and own the conversation by letting them know you personally helped send someone there and THIS is what's actually going on. Think about it, you're actually putting money where your mouth is and can talk all the sh*t you want for a $5, $10 or even a $50 donation! If you would like to support us, just click on this link: Ferguson Fundraiser Initiative. Anything you're willing and able to give is much appreciated.

     In closing, I would encourage those of you who are reading this article to continue to be informed about what's going on in Ferguson and involved in events/initiatives in your area in support of Mike Brown. Continue to put pressure on your local, regional and national public officials to get involved and work to make our communities safer. Sign online petitions and participate in National Blackouts to leverage our economic power! Also, here are a few other reputable sources I encourage you to follow and support:


Monday, August 11, 2014

"The Pookie Chronicles" available HERE
The Art Of Knowing
By Allah Universal Lord Life Justice Shabazz
It’s natural for man to have doubts.  It is the thing which makes wise men go on quests.  Doubt is the taming power of the great.  Without doubt, man will likely become arrogant and unreceptive to what life has to offer.  True indeed, all life comes to earth from the great sun and this makes it a singularity, but due to our education in Western society, we have tendencies which lean individuality.  Truly man is a social creature, for civilizations have their universities, man unites with women and makes babies which leads to families, and knowledge of what came before gets disseminated amongst the people, even if they think they are all different (7/1-14).
Doubts should produce uncertainties.  Uncertainties arise from not knowing.  Knowing is not believing, although many base their lives on faith in the unknown.  We who have Knowledge of Self are gently persuaded to consider otherwise.  In other words, those who know—know better than that. We are scientists, and scientists are devoted to knowing.  We have a way of proceeding to remove all doubt; in this world, some call it a Scientific Method.  A scientific method, are methods undertaken in order to form theories.  Theories are defined as a supposition or system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained: In other words, one does not go out to prove what he believes to be true, he bases his theories on general fundamental truths reasoned out of experiments or rules extracted out of general behavior.  For the scientist, belief manifests as an educated guess or hypothesis—made on the basis of limited evidence or feelings as a starting point for further investigation; but the key words here are further investigation.  For the scientist, all theories must be put to the test (to see what the results manifest): For how often do we hear the words SHOW AND PROVE?

Further investigations are proven through a chain of reasoning, leading to the truth.  Reasoning isn’t beliefs but knowledge established by a means of widely accepted truths called theorems.  This works within the scientific community; because the given premise is, they all are devoted to knowing.  In general civilization, this is not the case because there are forces of good and evil at work, amongst the society; preying on the unsuspecting millions (13/1-40).  The powers that be, in western society, continue daily to teach that all that one sees and hears comes from that mystery god (that no one will be able see before he dies).  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [trial/test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”—1 John 4:1.

We who are wise need to distinguish between our lessons and the world we are living in: The lessons teach us the truth about the colored man and his Western society; we are only occupying a world in which Europeans created—called the New World; we call it, The Wild-erness of North America.  A scientist should always examine anything which comes into his or her sphere of awareness.  This is not a society that seeks to elevate the consciousness of its members like the Taoist, Buddhist or Five Percent: America is a capitalist society, whose primary goal is to capitalize off of people’s needs, desires and pursuit of happiness [17/1-40; 18/1-40]. The ungodly will not make this distinction between the society we are living in and the civilization they are living under.  They will read the papers, watch TV, go on Facebook and Twitter and take popular consensus as their basis of established means of widely accepted truths.  Donald Fagen says of this, “Don’t believe I’m taken in by stories I have heard, I just read the Daily News and swear by every word.”

Recognize family, it is our wariness which keeps us from falling a victim to the devil’s civilization; and our use of mathematics and lessons that helps us establish our theorems or widely accepted truths or knowledge.  Don’t let popular opinion or peer group pressure or conformity fool you.  We are original people, we are older than the sun, moon, and stars.  Our knowledge precedes all human form. Stick to what you know, not what you feel or believe.  Don’t let "nobody" fool you (25/1-36).
Allah Universal Lord Life Justice Shabazz

Friday, July 18, 2014

Jay Electronica
The Freshman Jinx

On Saturday July 12th at the annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, all eyes were on Rapper Jay Electonica, adorned in a Fruit of Islam [FOI] uniform and flanked with an entourage of Nation of Islam [NOI] believers. After bringing out J. Cole, Talib Kweli, Mac Miller, Jay Electronica finally brought out Jay Z and they performed four songs together before exiting the stage. Since this Festival, many have taken to social media to articulate what they believe to be the significance of this event, and today I want to share my perspective on this subject matter.

Heralding Jay Electronica's performance as an iconic return to take his throne, some have declared him as the rightful King of Hip Hop. Others are defining this demonstration with his Muslim entourage as an Islamic Renaissance of rap music; being led by Jay Electronica as a Farrakhan-like figure, reminiscent of the days when the God MC Rakim defined Hip Hop's Golden [Conscious] Era. Jay Electronica himself appears to echo many of these sentiments with the tweets/photos he's posted after the Festival: LINK

Whatever those sentiments may or may not be, I think that many people overlook the fact that Jay Electronica is a Rapper who has never put out an album before in a music industry he does not control. That in itself is a tremendous amount of pressure and level of expectations that a Rapper putting out a sophomore album doesn't even experience. A sophomore jinx is when artists prepares to drop their sophomore album after putting out a classic freshman album. Because their first album was classic, it's often believed that they jinxed themselves from creating a classic sophomore album because the first one was so good. Aside from A Tribe Called Quest, the Wu Tang Clan, and arguably others, there are not many artists who've been able to escape the sophomore jinx. Since Jay Electronica has only successfully recorded some classic verses as a lyricist, he has set a high mainstream bar to put out nothing less than a classic album, classic music production and classic features on his first long awaited album. This is equivalent to a freshman jinx.

You know, the music industry is a very fickle thing, and just as easy as the media loves you, they can hate you the very next day. Ask Chris Brown. So as I'm sitting back watching all of these Jay Electronica fans sharing pictures of him and his entourage on facebook/twitter and philosophizing about how this is a demonstration of Rap's Time and What Must Be Done, I'm wondering if these people realize they need to actually support him, financially. I wondering if they know what soundscan is, what first week albums sales means, if they understand what "merch" is, a HHQ [Hip Hop Quotable] and what a paradigm shift in an industry they don't control will require. Because if not, then all of this social media posturing will be all for not and this critical mass, or 85% of the people I see acting like they support him, will be one of the main reasons for his freshman jinx if it happens. Let me explain why.

Because Jay Electronica has shown himself to be a Muslim affiliated with the NOI under the leadership of Minister Louis Farrakhan, there are many Muslim believers and those whom are affiliated with the NOI, that have expressed their admiration and support of him via sharing pictures, links and comments on social media. Because he is a Rap Artist, in a music industry, that support is great yet it must be demonstrated in concrete quantifiable terms. In other words, unless this critical mass of people are actually supporting him by buying tickets to his concerts, downloading his album, buying his album in record stores and purchasing his "merch" [merchandise], it would be difficult for Jay Electronica to grow into the cultural arts leader some are declaring him to be. Worst than that, his resources to do more will be limited and you will give the media the means to actually destroy his career. I can see the headlines now: "Iggy Azalea goes Double Platinum, Jay Electronica goes Wood", "Rap's so-called King is Crucified", "Jay Elec-flop-ica's long awaited album is a dud", "Jay Electronica Concert cancelled because of low ticket sales" and etc. Most of my favorite Artists are not mainstream, yet in my opinion, they're some of the most lyrical and creative. In many ways, Jay Z publically knighted Jay Electronica into mainstream Hip Hop on July 12th. So the whole idea that "Jay Electronica makes music for the listeners" is no longer the driving force or marketing strategy of his music going forward. It's business and the bottom line is he must now appeal to the masses.

In closing, I want to encourage those of you who are watching this moment in time, and think/feel that it's truly a paradigm shift in rap music, to get involved. Don't just get involved by sharing pictures, links or commenting on statuses. I'm talking about supporting what you think/feel in concrete quantifiable terms. Just because Jay Electronica is giving Minister Farrakhan a shout out and you're feeling good because you're a registered Muslim in the NOI is not enough. Buy a ticket to his concert even if you don't go to rap concerts; gift it to someone who does! For those of you who are 5 Percenters and kith with Jay Electronica, rep his brand by purchasing his merchandise! And those of you who simply like his music, make sure you buy his album when he drops it. If there is any worthwhile demonstration in all of this, then this is what it needs to be demonstration; financially supporting any creative/performing artists whom we truly believe have something of substance and significance they're offering to this world. Chuck D and other artists have been advocating this for longer than I remember and its importance is still relevant and timely. All of the other empty posturing and "I'm affiliated" politics/pictures mean nothing if we're not invested in artists, or striving to encourage others to invest in them. On a personal level, I am not a fan of Jay Electronica although I do think he is lyrical and I like some of his songs. As an artist myself, artists that have more clarity in terms of their determined idea, a sense of consistency with their body of work and their art itself is what resonates more with me, regardless of the art form or genre I'm critiquing. As I've stated, Jay Electronica is still waiting to release his first album and willfully with his release he evolves to manifest a positive determined idea and body of work that inspires, empowers and educates people.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Five Percenter Table Talks
Featuring: Artist Ramel Jasir

Anytime we have an opportunity to follow a career path that reaffirms our life's purpose, makes a positive contribution to society, and produces a legacy for our future generations, it is an important story to share with others. I recently sat down with Ramel Jasir, a successful self taught visual artist, to talk about his life's work, family, and how he balances it all during a time when a visual art renaissance is happening throughout the world. This interview is part of Ramel's journey that I've been more than excited to share with all of you. And I will that it inspires, empowers and educates others to pursue their passion, or continue pursuing their passion, in life. Enjoy!

Saladin:  Peace Ramel! First I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to interview you. Although we've recently began to build directly, we've known each other indirectly for many years now, via those who we've taught. I've been checking out some of things you've been doing for some time now and I wanted to expose my readership to works too. To get right into it, let my readers know who you are, where you're from, and a little about what you do?

Ramel:  Peace Brother and yes indeed we have been in tune with each other indirectly over the years and I must say have been a great admirer of the many things you have been doing over the years in regards to the growth and development of our mighty Nation.

My righteous name is Ramel Allah Mathematics and as a visual artist I am known as Ramel Jasir.  Jasir is actually a combination of two of my son's name.  My oldest son's middle name is Jamal and my next to the youngest son's name is Nasir.  So I combined the "Ja" and "sir" as tribute to two of my greatest inspirations; my children.  I have been an "active" member of the Nation of Gods and Earths since 1988 in which I have spoken at universities, radio stations, churches; organized conferences, founded our annual Family Day in which we will be having our 17th Annual Family Day this August in Victory Allah [Virginia].

In 2007 I was going through a lot of financial issues and the loss of a seed caused me to deal with a lot of anxiety for the first time of in my life.  There was an Earth on the west coast who was going through cancer for the 3rd time that recommended painting as a form of therapy and deal with the stress.  Needless to say, stress or depression untreated does not get better so decided to follow her suggestions.  All I can say is from the beginning I never looked back.  Art and creativity became my passion.

Saladin:  At what point in your life did you realize that being a creative artist was your path and purpose in life?

Ramel:  I think in 2009 is when I decided to focus on taking my art to the next level and actually make a living as an artist after losing a job that I was on for about 10 years.  The problems with anxiety was directly related to me losing the job but it was also a pinnacle point in regards to my healing, mentally.  I had a lot of money saved up so I was able to go about six months and focus on my craft before going back to work.  Within about one year I had developed enough to be offered a gallery exhibition from a very reputable gallery.

Saladin:  Some people look at the creative arts as a hobby and something people do on the side, not something as a career. As a creative artist yourself, what has been your biggest challenge when it comes to this being your actual career that produces income? For example, how long does it take to complete one of you art pieces?

Ramel:  I think one of the biggest challenges is balancing family life because being a creative artist or what I like to say "creative entrepreneur" is a 24/7 deal in order to really be successful.  If you're not represented by a good gallery, you not only have to spend time creating, but you have to spend a lot of time marketing and building your brand as well.  You are your brand.  You have to spend a lot of time not necessarily finding new collectors, but more importantly, retaining and following up with collectors you already have.  As we use to say back in the day "wisdom travels" so if you keep them happy they will show and tell others.  Yet this is very time consuming in which you also have to prioritize in regards to family time.  Of course the Earth and our seeds want as much time as possible.  Luckily, 99% of my work is done at home with my seeds in the same room I create so it is not very hard at times.  Yet you can only image what I go through to create with a 2 year old and a 4 year old in the same room.

In regards to how long it takes to make a painting, that varies.  Some paintings that may seem some what elaborate and time consuming may have only taken an hour or two.  On average though even one of my small paintings can take anywhere from two weeks to three months.  It really depends on how detailed it is.  I have a solo show coming up in the autumn of this year in Miami in which I have about four large pieces that will take me about two to three months to create. So I will be likely working on them right up to show time possibly.

Saladin:  As a writer and musician, one of the things I often consider is family, and how finding a companion who is compatible with our career is important. What advice would you give a creative artist who is considering a companionship, and what are some of things they should look for when it comes to compatibility?

Ramel:  Honestly I have to say that it has to be someone who is just as passionate as you about that particular craft or at least supportive.  Meaning if you are a sculptor, you may get a lot more understanding and patience from a companion who happens to be a sculptor as well because you share the same passion.  You can grow together, collaborate, learn from each other etc.  If your companion does not happen to be an artist, it helps if he/she is just as passionate and supportive of your craft as you.  Either way you have to find ways to support each other and be involved in the process, whether it is giving you the space and time to create or making calls, marketing, talking up your work and building rapport with potential collectors at exhibition.  I think it is like just being a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths [Five Percenters] and having a relationship with a devote Christian or Muslim etc.  Some find ways to make it work maybe but it will likely not work in the long run.  You don't share the same passion in regards to your said way of life and it will likely clash unless you just find ways to ignore the differences altogether, and focus on the things you have in common, but who wants to do that?  For me that is just settling; which does not work.  I learned a long time ago that the first time you settle for less, is when you get less than what you settled for in the first place.

Saladin:  Checking out some of your pieces, accessories, and etc. you create, I don't get the impression that you're doing "art for art's sake." Everything I've seen appears to have a cultural significance to it, whether it's a certain theme, the people you use, the patterns, or the vibrant colors. How important is culture to your work?

Ramel:  This is true, I do not create for "art's sake."  I don't create what I think people will like, I create what I have to say about Life.  Culture is very important.  When I started painting in 2008 I was also learning more about my multi-ethnic background that I was previously unaware of until after my mother passed away and then my older siblings/aunts started to reveal a lot of information about my mother and my real father that no one seemed to feel that I needed to know earlier in life... lol.  Everything comes in time and on time I guess so I took a lot of the information in and started to research a lot of things for my self.  As I researched more, the story started to spill out onto the canvas like hieroglyphics.  My background is very diverse that span several continents and the one thing I found in common regardless of the said race or continent is art.  There are cultures/people long gone and languages going extinct everyday, but the artwork and the stories they tell still survive.

I was heavily influenced by aboriginal art when I first started creating which also lead me to Northwest Indian art.  My Earth is of Dominican decent so you see a lot of African and Taino symbolism in my work as well.  You see Hip Hop, Asian, European, Native American influences and etc.  My goal is to introduces people and educate them to the different forms of art and cultures that they may have never learned about had they not came to one of my exhibitions.  You see, even though many seem to see the world through the lens of just Black and White, the world is so much more diverse if they would only take the time to see the world community for what it is, not just what they want it to be, or what someone told them it is or should be.  One of the must unfortunate things that seems to happen when some get "knowledge of self" is that early on they are given questions and answers yet never question the questions or the answers and recite them with no understanding.  That is why Allah gave us Supreme Mathematics and the Supreme Alphabet.  He gave us the Knowledge and the Wisdom so that when we become a "student enrolled" we can approach the lessons from the degree of Understanding and not take things on face value; always questioning, always be critical.  What understanding is there in knowing the price of everything yet the value of nothing.

Saladin:  Indeed Lord. As an active member of the Five Percenters [Nation of Gods and Earths] for over 25 years, I see that you also create various pieces and accessories that bear our symbol, the Universal Flag. Because its been customary not to just give/sell our flag to any or every one, what method do you use to insure you're not giving/selling your pieces that bear our symbol, to someone who doesn't represent it?

Ramel:  I think one thing I do that's different from others that may sell items that bear our Universal Flag is that I do very little to no marketing and it is normally spread word of mouth or photos via social networks.  This is usually from Earth to Earth.  The closest I may get to marketing is maybe telling an Earth to feel free to share with other Earths.  I do it that way because for one they are very time consuming to create and it is for those that are in the know.  There are sites out there now that do not ask any questions at all and you can just make a payment and your shirt or earrings are in the mail.  Another thing I do is when I see a purchase come through, I send the individual a message advising them that I create the item they purchased only for members of the Nation of Gods and Earths.  I let them know respectfully that I only sent them the message because I did not recognize their name or they did not have a righteous name.  It would be impossible to keep up with calling every God or Earth that purchases an item to make sure they are on point.  There is no way to be 100% sure that a person who may purchase one of my items truly represents our Nation.  One thing that is for sure, is that the Universal Flag is large and clearly seen and everyone that wears our flag is subject to examination.  Our peers are our greatest defense of those wearing something they do not truly represent.  Unfortunately, and as we have learned over the years, just because a person can quote 120 lessons or dress a certain way, that does mean for certain that they truly represent our culture.  It is up to us to examine all of those that we come across in our travels wearing our flag, even if we have known them for years.

Saladin:  In closing, do you have an art shows coming up and where can people go to check out and purchase some of your work?

Ramel:  Yes, I current have some of my work on display at the KROMA Gallery in Miami as part of a group show.  I am in the process of planning and creating pieces for a solo exhibition that I will be having in the fall at the same gallery so I may do a few small events over the summer but that will be my main focus.  You view some of my earring designs at Atabey Hand Creations on Etsy and you can check out some of my Paintings.  I just started updating that site and should have everything up over the next couple of days.  You will be able to see available works and links to my site for available prints.  If anyone is interested in commission request for paintings or earring designs feel free to contact me at:

Saladin:  Thanks again for taking this time to add-on, I appreciate what you've done and continue to do to make your contribution to this world, and look forward to all of the great things you have planned for our future. Peace Lord!

Ramel:  Peace and Thank You as well.  I am truly honored and grateful for the opportunity you have given me to share some of my story and creations.  Your contributions to this world and this mighty Nation is very inspiring and I look forward to following more of your work in the future.  Peace!

Check out an interview with Ramel Jasir on Virginia Currents powered by PBS Video
Interview with Ramel Jasir at
Interview with Ramel Jasir at Futuristically Ancient 
Ramel Jasir sharing his Recycle Art Series