Netflix “Who Killed Malcolm X?” Doc: Nine Thoughts On Malcolm As CSI, Stagecraft Over Sincerity

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.

Funeral Notes–Aretha and McCain: One Question, Three Comments

Yep, I watched Aretha ALL DAY Friday on the livestream. Even after-the-fact caught Meghan McCain’s tribute to her daddy yesterday.

It was a weird weekend for funeral eulogy. W’s McCain eulogy was better than Obama’s! (And, thankfully, much shorter!) I would have never have seen that coming!

Okay, I see most of the news coverage about Queen Ree-Ree is about how the bishop enjoyed himself a little too much with Ariana Grande, who, telling the truth, was wearing a little too little for church. 🙂  And no, Bill Clinton did not keep his eyes in his head, but, c’mon, everyone saw that coming. 🙂 ) But I had one question and three comments:

  1. Why didn’t Minister Louis Farrkahan speak, or get to speak, at the funeral? All the other dignities–former President Bill Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson, and Rev. Jesse Jackson–sat with him, and they all spoke. Also: I’m glad some people noticed what I did–that he was being constantly cropped out of the shots, both photo and live video. He sat up there a long time to get gipped like that in public, if that’s what indeed happened. Whether he got cut from the pulpit or not, at least it seemed that he was enjoying himself. [OCT. 22 UPDATE: Richard Prince tells me today he didn’t want to speak, but he wanted to show up to thank the Queen for what she did for him in 1972 (!)].
  2. I think I was in the kitchen when U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters gave the Wakandan salute. Just found out about that while researching this post.
  3. The MSM are focused on Dyson’s slamming of Trump. But I appreciated his shade on Obama. Without referring to him by name, Dyson said “some” (meaning you, Daddy-O) were too afraid to come and stand in front of the entire Black community –which, FOX News’ confusion be damned, includes Farrakhan! (Sharpton read a letter from 44.I’m not the biggest Dyson fan by a looong shot, but I appreciated that!
  4. As far as John McCain is concerned, well……let’s just say that if Angela Davis–an American hero!–becomes an Ancestor before me, I look forward to hearing tributes to her courage from the Right, Center and Center-Left (liberals). 🙂

My Latest Book Reviews Can Be Found…….

here and here at imixwhatilike.

Four Reasons Why Minister Farrakhan’s Christmas Boycott Will Not Work (And Some Disorganized MMM Comments/Observations)

Boycott Christmas? I have to admit–that’s REAL Black and radical! LOL! 🙂

At the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. yesterday, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said it was a mass action Blacks could use to punish the whites who enslaved their Ancestors centuries ago and whose police shoot them down in the street today.

Here’s four reasons why what the Minister wants will be difficult to implement:

1) Yes, Black people have buying power, but they don’t have wealth. Black people spend money for the same reasons as every other group–to sustain themselves. And let’s be real: many Christmas gifts are practical items people seriously need.

2) Yes, Black people are angry about the public epidemic of police shootings. But historically, boycotts work when an aggrieved community decides collectively that their interests will be served by the group sacrifice. (See Montgomery, Alabama and Martin Luther King.) If there was an actual, practical end result that was measurable for Black people–an actual gain that, for example, would make them safe in the presence of the police–I believe the people would follow Minister Farrakhan and make the sacrifice. But if not, no.

3) Economic boycotts have to be well-organized. Is the NOI going to spend the millions in organizational support, media advertisements, etc., it would take to organize 40 million people in roughly 40 states? To do it right, it would have to be on the scale of a presidential election campaign.

4) Black people love Christmas–all of it. For many Blacks, all of the X-Mas traditions are as important to them as their churches. (It’s why Maulana Karenga, the founder of modern-day Kwanzaa, set up the holiday between Christmas and New Year’s as an alternative/substitute/supplement to it, because he understood the deal.)

What Farrakhan is asking for, and how he is talking about doing it, is admirable, but without the buy-in (if you forgive the expression) of a substantial part of Black America, the call has all the potency of, say, demanding statehood for the District of Columbia: maybe someday it will happen with a lot of struggle, but not today–and definitely not this Christmas.


Near me a Sigma and a Delta brought their children, who sat on their child lawn chairs, eating and working on a puzzle book. Apologies to Sly and the Family Stone, but….

The Nation of Islam showed that it may be the first Black group to understand that youth must be served by publicly serving. The emcees–Tamika Mallory, a former youth leader for the Rev. Al Sharpton, Nuri Muhammad of the Nation of Islam (who talked about Black people’s war with police, which he called the “Blu Klux Klan” and also with “niggativity”) and upcoming leader the Rev. Jamal Bryant, were presented as emerging leaders, not “youth leaders.”

Farrakhan, 82, was a grandfather talking to his grandchildren. He said what the Nation and the crowd knew: “What good are we if we think we can last forever and not train the young to follow in our footsteps?”

My Root Articles On The 20th Anniversary Of Million Man March…..


…..are here.


OCTOBER 14th UPDATE: My friend Linn Washington Jr. went. Here’s his public take:


Saturday’s Justice march was “powerful” in the words of my 12-year-old grandson. I went primarily to take him so he could experience it – I was there as a participant not a reporter.
-But I can report that the 200k participant ‘guess-ta-ment” for the 10/10/15 Justice march is not far off.
-That event did not have anywhere near the million+ of the ’95 M3 event…yet there was that spiritual-like ’95 unity vibe albeit not as INtense and focused as 1995.
-In ’95 I walked from the Capitol steps back to the Washington Monument to get a scope of the crowd (i knew the media/authorities would lie on the count)…and in ’95 it was a solid sea of men on the Mall spilling into parallel streets. Saturday, the multitude did not have the people-per-square-inch density or Capitol to Monument seamlessness of participants…occupying the Mall only and the distance of a few blocks back. (And, fidelity to fact: I didn’t do the Capitol to Monument stroll on Saturday but could see open space around Monument unlike in ’95)
-Below are a few observations from a participant not from a thorough reporter:
Saturday’s event did have a more diverse crowd – 8 to 80, 8 as in eight months old. A striking aspect for me on Saturday was the presence of families (Dad/Mom kids) and extended families lil ones to grands, all rolling as a ‘crew’ – a lot of women were there also…and whites were there (seemingly not on a ‘zoo visit’ attytood)
– Saw a few Native Americans but did not see many Hispanics.
-Yes, there were a lot, A Lot of 20-30 somethings in the crowd and there were organizations galore in ‘see-me’ attire from black Greeks to the New Black Panther Party.
-Of course, in 2015: it was ‘selfie’ city…saw folks popping into the NBPP formation to get their pics taken…
-Judging from tee shirts and other attire items, folks came from north/south, east/west to attend.
-A few similarities between Saturday & 1995:
-Much media coverage was not in-depth…for example, didn’t see mention in articles that I read about the on stage remarks by a sister of Sandra Bland, the father of Michael Brown and the mother of Trayvon Martin — Justice or Else definitely includes police brutality so how can cover an anti-police abuse event and not report on symbols of that struggle???
-Another similarity between 1995 & 2015  (and I will probably get my ‘Black Card’ revoked for this observation): Farrakhan talked TOO much. I respect the Brother Minister deeply, but, Yo, cogent and concise hits harder. (Grandson and I toured the entire Smithsonian Native American Museum from top to bottom, beginning visit 15 minutes into Farrakhan’s remarks, we did all four floors of the museum and when we exited Farrakhan was still talking. Interesting seeing [again] how ameriKKKa JERKED the Indians like they jerked us -broken treaties, abusive justice system, LIES aplenty, attacking the victim for opposing their oppression, etc.)
-The trip Saturday to Justice or Else for me was about the grandson: He said the event was “really cool.” Said he liked that people “are coming together.” Said he doesn’t want to group up and have to “deal with” brutal cops. He liked “the support” he saw at the march Saturday.