….so that’s now two for two. Two bad biographies written by important Black writers losing battles with time and illness. And two Pulitzers for bad or incomplete history. Sad. I wish Columbia University would have found other ways to honor Manning Marable and Les Payne.
The more interesting, dramatic story that still needs to be told the playwright Kemp Powers saw only as a backdrop for Malcolm’s vulnerability. I understand the pop-culture impulse to Black Pack it–to show Sam Cooke, Cassius Clay-cum-Cassius X-cum Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown (who replaces Joe Louis in the broadcast booth as Clay beats Sonny Liston for the fist 🙂 time) and Malcolm X in a Florida hotel room and imagine what they talked about. With Martin Luther King absent from this meeting, the playwright decides in One Night in Miami to treat Malcolm as your annoying Jehovah’s Witness cousin who spoils your birthday party. The quartet are all at their own individual crossroads and discuss racism a lot, but the radical edge that is coming for this fantastic four as the ’60s grow late is blunted, only hinted at, a la Beneatha and Walter Lee in a Raisin in the Sun. By the time the purposely-shrunken (humanized?) Malcolm The Scold gets teased like a nerd, critically assessed (translation: he’s called full of shit! “You don’t have a job, Negro!”), humbles himself, cries, etc., and makes amends, the real film about Cooke (Leslie Odum Jr., showing Hamilton was no fluke!) has already started. One day someone will not be afraid to write about the decolonizing transition that Blacks–particularly Malcolm and Ali–really went through during this period; the weak closing quote from Malcolm shows that integration into American society on Black terms is all that this story was about, the only Black Power it can handle, and that is truly sad. (And when someone from a major studio has the courage to film that harsh-toned future script, that studio should immediately hire Regina King, who makes an extraordinary directorial debut here.) Two of the most radical African-Americans of the mid-20th century–two men that in their own ways personified Pan-Africanism after Marcus Garvey–remain in their comfortable rough-draft form, creatively but purposely.
May 14, 2020
Press Contact Zayid Muhammad 973 202 0745
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HONORING MALCOLM X AT 95!
BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!
On Tuesday, May 19th, join us in our first virtual observation of the 95th anniversary of the birth of our beloved Black Shining Prince, Malcolm X!
Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, this will be a very different May 19th.
The Malcolm X Commemoration Committee (MXCC), The December 12th Movement, the
Organization of AfroAmerican Unity(OAAU), the Sons of Africa and the Malcolm X /Dr. Betty Shabazz Educational Center are uniting to make it a memorable one!
ANNUAL PILGRIMAGE TO THE GRAVESITE OF MALCOLM X CANCELLED TO THE PUBLIC: CAPTURED ONLINE!
Normally, our day would begin at 9 a.m. in Harlem with our Caravan for the annual Pilgrimage to the Gravesite of Malcolm X.
Cemeteries and Funeral Parlors are facing limits that are being put on their service capacity because of the Pandemic. Ferncliff Cemetery, where Malcolm is buried, can only allow ten persons at a time for a service. For these reasons, for the first time since 1966, we are going to have cancel the “public” pilgrimage gravesite ceremony. There will be a ‘Private’ ceremony performed by the OAAU and the Sons of Africa for the benefit of the immediate family and honoring and upholding the tradition, and that can be seen virtually as it will shared on Facebook Live!
At 11 a.m., go to the Malcolm X Pilgrimage 2020-ONLINE Facebook Event Page and join in the moment!…
SHUT DOWN OF 125TH STREET-CAR CARAVAN
We usually shut down the businesses on 125th Street at 12 noon under the leadership of the December 12th Movement.
Because of the Pandemic Shutdown, the businesses will already be closed, but to invoke the honor and memory and the legendary commitment to struggle of Malcolm, the December 12th Movement is leading a Black Power Car Caravan along 125th Street from 1pm and 3pm.
We are calling it ‘Fly the X Everywhere!’ Post it! Wear it! Display it!…
SHABAZZ CENTER’S 2 DAY LONG VIRTUAL CELEBRATION AND EVENING VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE HOSTED BY MXCC
Usually on the evening of May 19th, we join Ilyasah Shabazz and family at the Shabazz Center for the Annual Birthday Celebration.
Because of the Pandemic Restrictions, the Shabazz Center will instead host a 2 day series of virtual appreciations that they will include speakers, performers, liberation music. It will begin with a Watch Party for a Special Malcolm X Film on Monday evening. The time and film to be announced…
At 7 p.m., go the Malcolm Commemoration Committee Facebook Page for the Livestreaming of a powerful virtual Roundtable… ‘Malcolm X Speaks In The 21st Century:Beyond Covid19 and Chickens Coming Home To Roost!’
This will be the first of a series of virtual MXCC events.
Ilyasah Shabazz will join this Roundtable and will give opening remarks with Prof. James Small of the OAAU.
Poet Activist Zayid Muhammad, MXCC’s founding press officer, will host a powerful intergenerational panel of activists and scholars that will include:
- Viola Plummer of the December 12th Movement
- Prof. William Sales, co-convenor of the Malcolm X Speaks in the 90s Conferences and author of From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and The OAAU
- Baba Zak Kondo, Conspiracys (Conspiracies): Unravelling The Assassination of Malcolm X
- Herb Boyd, co-editor with Ilyasah Shabazz of The Malcolm X Diary and co-editor of Malcolm X, Real, Not Invented, By Any Means Necessary
- Basir Mchawi, WBAI’s Education At The Crossroads
- Prof. Todd Steven Burroughs, co-editor with Dr. Jared A. Ball of A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X
- Prof. Kelly Harris, “Manning Marable: Humanizing Malcolm or Denigrating Legacies”
- Prof. Leonard Jeffries, founding chair emeritus of Africana Studies at City College New York (CCNY) and the International Executive Director of the OAAU
For more information about this extraordinary effort, follow our Facebook Page @Malcolm X Commemoration Committee and the webpages of the December 12th Movement http://d12m.com and of the Shabazz Center https://theshabazzcenter.org .
Finally, Muslims all over the world are excited to know that on one of Islam’s most sacred nights Laitul Qadr, the Night of Power, or the night that the Prophet Muhammad received his first Quranic revelation, falls on May 19th, the birthday of a great Muslim, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz-Malcolm X!
We can be reached at 973 202 0745…
1) Now everyone will see Newark the way I see it: as a small town. Treating it as a “small town with deadly secrets” was amusing. It is a place where, if you ride a bus or sit somewhere and be quiet, you will hear Old Heads talk about their time with The Nation. Now I finally understand why, in a city where historically you can get killed for looking at someone wrong, Bradley was able to walk around untouched. You also now know that we, as a group, care more about collective, community advancement than ideology and argument: the comment by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka that he learned from his father to “leave that alone because that won’t advance our cause” is classic Newark. Congrats to my brother, Baba Zayid Muhammad, for his honesty in this documentary. He educated me a lot about what this Black Power city is still like. I absolutely believe that Newark “got there first” in Black Power zealotry.
2) Continuing with Newark: why would Bradley be in Booker’s Newark mayor campaign commercial? Why would New Jersey Lt. Gov. Shelia Oliver be at Bradley’s funeral when she knew?!? Point-blank, Newark is a community service city, and all the community servants know each other. If you do “change your life around” and “do something positive,” particularly for our youth, we wipe your slate clean. That how we be. If Bradley had killed, say, Rahim Johnson, it wouldn’t even be brought up.
3) Last Newark note: I love the irony of Bradley’s high school being eventually being renamed after Malcolm. 🙂
4) It was extremely annoying that Peter Goldman, who wrote 85 percent of this documentary’s content back in the 1970s (!!!!!), was almost invisible, blotted out. The only thing more annoying is that Baba Zak Kondo was “second historical bananna” to David Garrow–this documentary’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Kondo should have been the main voice here, and his wrap-up almost redeems this time-waster.
5) The big winner here was WABC-TV, who clearly sold a lot of footage. (Why did the documentarians keep misdating that Talmadge Hayer interview as 1970? That was very annoying and needs to be fixed!) See how great “Like It Is” was, folks outside of New York? Today I am very proud to have a doctoral dissertation that has a small part devoted to it. I will appreciate this Nextflix series forever if it leads to the show finally getting archived.
6) The “search” for Bradley was ridiculous stagecraft. And where were articles like these, since Bradley was so difficult to find? LOL! This program could have easily been cut by three hours. The phony drama should have been replaced with more on the Ali-Malcolm schism. That deserves its own doc or movie.
7) And speaking of future MX media products, my vote for the next movie or documentary needs to be solely based on his extraordinary travel diary. The fact that Malcolm tried to unify the African-Muslim world–and that he chose to return to America when he had choices to possibly stay alive longer–is a story that desperately needs to be told.
8) Um, where was this part? Did I miss it when I was in the bathroom? Did I miss any mention of the Minister? What’s going on? And if Goldman and Kondo were read so carefully, why didn’t Obi-Wan tell Luke that the FBI reported that Louis X was at the Newark mosque on the day of the assassination?!?
9) This could have been a lot worse, seeing that Henry Louis “Skip” Gates was the exec producer and Manning Marable’s wife a consultant. At least this is better than Spike’s treatment. This puts Spike’s movie in the fiction category the way Marable’s disastrous bio, at its best, put The Autobiography in that same category.
…..can be found here.
……for jump-starting Alex Haley’s career and indirectly being responsible for “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
Here’s the block that got cut out, about the biographer and the his approach:
If there is ever to be a Hall of Fame for post-World War II American biographers, David Garrow has worked undeniably hard for his statue. The energy and sweat required of a great biographer are present. The book’s promotional material says Garrow does research worthy of Robert Caro, the man who has devoted half his life to writing about Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the hype is right. His thousands of resources include The Chicago Defender and several weekly newspapers, which allows him to use facts and statements others have forgotten. He had access to an incredible amount of detail, and decided to use (almost all of) it, to give the reader almost a month-by-month portrayal of 46 years.
Since the fable is so well-known, Garrow needed to perform a tragedy to give the reader a reason to re-visit this territory. He constantly prepared the reader for disappointment, showing that the potential compromises were there all along under the winning smile and Black Kennedy mystique: “[W]hile the crucible of self-creation had produced an ironclad will, the vessel was hollow at its core.”
The so-called hot news of the book—that Barack Obama, a young, over-educated, tall, handsome, single Black man, had a lot of sex before he got married and that he asked his serious live-in girlfriend, a half-white, half-Japanese woman named Shelia Miyoshi Jager, to marry him—is a complete yawner. The story that Garrow tells as he outs Jager is that Obama broke up with her because he needed a Black woman (World History, meet Michelle Robinson) to be a successful Black politician. So what that he asked another woman to marry him? Choosing a wife is a life-effecting process, not just a political one. It is possible that Obama made the decisions he did for purely Machiavellian reasons, but it is equally possible that Obama, a Half-rican, purposely chose a one-hundred-percent American Negress so he could have an authentic Black family. Just because he loved Jager doesn’t mean he was supposed to spend his life with her, and just because they wanted to marry doesn’t mean history was somehow thwarted by ambition.
Garrow is filled with critique—of Obama and of crush-ing Obama journalists and biographers. In his blistering epilogue, Garrow skips the most obvious reason his presidency was impotent: the intent of the Republican Party to oppose him on everything, from the administration’s first day. The epilogue is so intent on being critical—and it should, considering it’s about a man constantly compromised in ways he sees as pragmatic and necessary—it seems not to care where the criticisms originate. Meanwhile, Garrow ignores the most biting Leftist jabs. Strange choices for a left-of-center author. Garrow finds every disappointed friend, every Obama enemy, every teacher and influence he can, and includes them along with seemingly every colleague who at any point praised him. Jager accusing the president of political cowardice is the high-note of a critical symphony.