Because I usually travel to the Show and Prove the night before I'm often the first person to arrive at the Allah School In Mecca in the morning. When an Elder God arrived to open up the school he recognized me immediately and informed me that I could sit behind the desk and answer any incoming phone calls. "I know you're more than qualified to sit there" he said, as he walked through the rest of the school to check it out. As others began to arrive I was given a tour of our current storefront renovations by Cee Aaquil Allah who is managing the project and also serves on the Show and Prove Organizing Committee as the event's lead organizer. From what I've seen thus far these modern updates are going to be an excellent addition to support our school and the surrounding community. Next I had an opportunity to build with the God Unique who coordinates the computer lab. He has a background in computer science and shared with me a program he built that instructs its user in our cultural curriculum using integrated audio, images and eventually video. For example, a child can click on our 1st degree in the Student Enrollment "Who is the Original Man?" and a pre-recorded voice will then recite the question and answer of that lesson. That pre-recorded audio file could be that child's voice or another Five Percenter's voice -such as an elder Unique had the opportunity to record who is no longer with us. I was honored to archive my voice reciting the 5th degree in the 1-14's; the lesson where I got my righteous name 'Saladin' from. I spoke extensively with the God on its current and potential applications in relationship to my work in early childhood development and pre-teen/teen programming and look forward to using it as a resource at my Atlantis School For Gifted Youngsters. After building with a few brothers/sisters who began to arrive I walked around the corner to the Harriet Tubman School to meet back up with Cee Aaquil and other volunteers to help prepare for the Show and Prove.
|Photo Credit: FadPhotography [Instagram]|
When I became more publicly active as a Five Percenter I began to travel to the Show and Prove each year to volunteer. This experience has given me a unique perspective of what we can do to enhance the event. At the top of that list is VOLUNTEERS! We need more people who are willing and able to do more to add-on. A call is put out every year from the Show and Prove Organizing Committee for VOLUNTEERS and not enough people have been adding on. Willfully more people will be available to assist next year and in the future!
In my article Cultural Capital in a Post Obama America I explained our economy based upon Some may argue that they don't have enough to even do this or they're just a small business. Keep in mind that some of the examples of cooperative economics and collective work and responsibility I shared above were done during the Great Depression and other times in America when people had a fraction of what many of us have today. While many Five Percenters who operate a business are fair and understand that the highest value lies in our relationships, I've heard horror stories of some of us taking pre-order money for products/services and then giving people the runaround or a nasty attitude because they inquired why their order still hadn't arrived in over a month. To add insult to injury, these customers were not even offered anything for the poor service and inconvenience. This is completely unacceptable and this westernized mentality of capitalizing off of people, especially our people, must stop if we're ever going to build an economy that supports national consciousness, community control and peace.
|Photo Credit: FadPhotography [Instagram]|
Something I've also noticed at the Show and Prove is the growing number of street vendors setting up outside of the Harriet Tubman School to sell their products/services instead of vending inside of the event. If we want to vend outside of the Show and Prove event then I think it's appropriate to contact a member of our Show and Prove Organizing Committee to inquire about a street vendor fee; a donation that will help support the services at the Allah School In Mecca. Whether vending inside or outside, to support true economic development we need to change a hand to mouth trajectory of trying to get individually paid. Again, some of us think that we have so little that we really can't give like that. Keep in mind that when we each give a little, we will all have a lot. This sense of collectivism, self sacrifice and protecting ones cultural interests has allowed other people to survive and thrive under similar circumstances. Next year I would love to see more youth vendors and a commitment from inside and outside adult vendors to have a youth vending with them. I'd also love to see more youth oriented products/services for sale at our marketplace. Lastly, I would like to see adults committing to a donation that goes towards an Annual Show and Prove Youth Scholarship and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place cash prize for youth participating in the science and educational fair. I think that it's a fair investment in our future generations.
Out of all of the years I've attended the Show and Prove, this is the first year I felt an overwhelming sense of genuine support and acknowledgement for what I've been doing to publicly represent our culture. I've felt it in the past yet this year was different. It made me feel very proud that old and young alike look upon the work I do as some evidence of what we are. All of the support I received let me know that I'm appreciated and it encouraged me to do even more to make sure that our national activity, narrative and image remains right and exact. So I want to say THANK YOU to each and every one of you whom I had an opportunity to meet and reconnect with.