From The Final Call Newspaper

Rapper DMX remembered, honored in touching homegoing

By Naba'a Muhammad
- April 27, 2021

INGLEWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 04: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) DMX performs onstage during the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour at The Forum on October 4, 2016 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation)

The day after thousands turned out for a celebration at a nearby arena, rapper DMX’s family, fellow artists and leaders came to the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn with about 2,000 people in the 7,000 seat facility, according to BET, which broadcast the service live on its cable and channel.

The service opened with music as singers performed below an image of “The Legend, Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons,” with wings above their heads. “It is well with my soul,” sang a soloist. Prayers, songs and encouraging words exhorted the audience to appreciate the faith DMX believed in and the unity of his children.

The Black community and world said final goodbyes to the man who impacted the world through sharing his pain, spirituality, musical innovation and talent. It was a moving five-hour service.

Rapper DMX performs in concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on March 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

“Sometimes we don’t know why circumstances in our lives were like they were. Sometimes we are upset with mom because of this or that, upset with dad because of this or that upset with siblings because of this or that, but what we may not know or realize it’s these circumstances when you were in the womb, it’s these circumstances that were in your environment when you came from the womb, that have shaped you and marked you for the future and for that which you are going to do like dad to affect the whole world,” said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam in live message April 25 delivered via Zoom.


“Did you know that your dad’s life and love and pain and suffering shaped him to be a voice for our young people and young people all over the world?” said the Minister to the children of the rap icon in the sanctuary.

DMX was genuine and connected with people around the globe, he said.
People gather for a “Celebration of Life Memorial” for rapper DMX at Barclays Center on Saturday, April. 24, 2021, in Brooklyn, New York. DMX, whose birth name is Earl Simmons, died April 9 after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest.” The 50-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper delivered iconic hip-hop songs such as “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here).” He also starred in several films including “Belly” and “Romeo Must Die.” (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

People gather for a “Celebration of Life Memorial” for rapper DMX at Barclays Center, Saturday, April. 24, 2021, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. DMX, whose birth name is Earl Simmons, died April 9 after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest.” (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

“Those of us who study the Bible and the Holy Qur’an and other religious texts, we may not see him as a prophet, but he actually was. God used his life to educate, to teach and show the world that you can come up the way he did, but struggle, and then overcome the struggle and reach beyond your pain and your suffering and yourself to affect the whole world that is just like you,” he said.

“We didn’t have an easy life. God ordered it that way so that we could serve his purpose through our pain to affect the whole of humanity,” said the Minister.

The life of DMX is an example of the struggle of Black people and the struggles of life in this world, the Minister continued. He explained that the Christian cross with a vertical and horizontal bar represents the duality in human nature and the struggle between the carnal and the divine.

DMX found his purpose, and had his faith, said Min. Farrakhan. And, he noted, a young beautiful brother referred to the rapper as “that’s my dog,” which was repeated by others. The Minister offered a different understanding of man’s ultimate friend. This world may say a dog is man’s best friend, but for a Christian, your best friend will always be God, he said. His words were often interrupted with applause and were lauded on social media.

Min. Farrakhan shared his joy at seeing the rapper’s children standing together and said each has a special, individual gift to develop and a bit of their father. Develop your gift and impact the world as your father did, the Minister said to the children.

When Jesus said the dead would rise, it wasn’t necessarily about people in the cemetery, said Min. Farrakhan. We are operating on a dead level, mentally, morally, spiritually, politically, and educationally, he said. But we have the power to rise, he said. DMX rose and reflected God in his lyrics and when speaking, he told the children. Think of your father as God, not dog, said Min. Farrakhan.

The Minister thanked Tashera Simmons, the ex-wife of DMX, and all the women in his life for the comfort they “gave to a man who was always in pain.”

DMX “had a life and he educated and taught the people that are still in the worst part of life,” he noted. And, he urged artists, lift the people up with conscious rap.

Rev. A.R. Bernard of Christian Cultural Center shared how he listened to DMX music and watched videos prior to the funeral. “His music invited us to join his struggle, the good, the bad, the ugly, the highs, the lows. The threat and the promise because life is threat and promise,” Pastor Bernard, who led the service, said.

Tashera Simmons, his former wife and mother of four of his children, met Earl Simmons at 11 years old and started dating him in Yonkers, N.Y., at age 18.

“It was love at first sight and we were inseparable from that time,” she said.

She said she never met a young man who loved the Lord despite a difficult life that included school suspension, trouble at home, living in a juvenile facility and run-ins with the law.

Tashera Simmons shared how she learned faith, forgiveness, and unconditional love with DMX. We were broken and looking for love, God loved us, but the worldly things going on in our lives had us confused, but we had each other, she said.

“I knew Earl was a prophet because of what I learned from the Qur’an and bible,” she said. “I felt it was my mission and purpose to love him no matter what. I loved the soul of that man.”

“When you love someone, you want the best for them. It was important to be selfless if you loved Earl,” she said.

“No disrespect to the industry but the industry, if you’re not grounded, can suck you up and be the devil’s playground,” Tashera Simmons added.

She said she watched a “pure soul get sucked up” but God was always part of his life. “Earl was thirsty, he never stopped desiring God’s word,” she said.

Towards the end of his life, Tashera Simmons said, the couple reconciled in unimaginable ways. He “will be my first love, he was my heart and soul, he was my everything. And in some crazy way I feel like he has prepared me for this moment,” she said. “I feel so blessed I was able to join hands with this man, this God.”

In a conversation six days before his death, Ms. Simmons said DMX said, “ ‘I’m in the world, not of the world.’ I have the peace that surpasses all human understanding because my friend, my childhood sweetheart, my friend is home. He’s no longer in pain. He knew he ran his race,” said Tashera Simmons. “He wasn’t perfect by a longshot, but his heart, his heart, is pure as gold. He is no longer in his flesh, he’s in his spirit and that spirit is nothing to reckon with.”

She shared her love for Desiree Lindstrom, who was engaged to DMX at the time of his death. They embraced on stage; the former wife introduced Ms. Lindstrom to speak.

Ms. Lindstrom described DMX as the love of her life. “I lived and breathed Earl Simmons. The truth be known it wasn’t always easy to do,” she said. “I equate Earl with nothing but love … his love of God.” She thanked him for their time together and their son Exodus, one of 15 children DMX fathered.

Similar expressions of love came from his daughter Praise and Paige Hurd his god daughter. Kenneth McBride spoke of his god father and best friend who protected him and taught him not to be selfish. You are at peace, he said.

“Just looking out in this crowd everyone in this room represents how much he was loved,” added DMX daughter Jada. His son Manny shared how his dad was his friend and the person he looked up to the most. “My dad was honestly the best dad anyone could hope for,” Manny said. “He said he didn’t want us to be like him, he just wanted us to listen. He was right.”

Aaliyah, his nine-year-old daughter, was sad her dad won’t be able to say happy birthday again. “Even though I know he can’t talk back, I know I can still talk to him. I think it’s cool that I get to call a legend my dad. Rest easy dad.”

Russell Simmons, via video, shared how hip hop started as abrasive, rebellious music but had become more melodic at the time DMX entered. DMX saved Def Jam Records with his major success.

“This brother was going through what I had been through,” said Mr. Simmons. He didn’t do much to help during DMX’s struggles. Sometimes we don’t do what God wants us to do and other times we can’t help people until they are ready, he said.

“He was God’s servant and his voice will be around forever,” Mr. Simmons added.

Joaquin “Waah” Dean, founder and CEO of the Ruff Ryders, shared how he met DMX going back to the 1980s. Their work was dominant with the success of DMX and other artists aligned with the rap crew. “We have 400 or 500 Ruff Ryders chapters around the world, he said. “X left us to bring us together because we’re all going through something right now. But we need each other.”

He spoke of his desire to bring the children of DMX, his children and others together as the next generation of Ruff Ryders or Young Ryders. “We want to pass the baton on for you all. It’s your job now,” he said. He vowed to hold a monthly ride for a cause, Black people and unity.

Swizz Beatz, super producer, shared his memories of time with his brother and best friend. “X was a very loving, teddy bear kind of guy,” he said, despite his persona growling and barking on stage. “His kids are now my kids and we are going to ride this out forever.”

Rev. Conrad B. Tillard, Sr., thanked the mothers, DMX’s children and the Ruff Ryders for a display of what Black family is. He read the obituary and shared his love for the rap legend’s uncle, Ray Copeland, who managed DMX.

BET broadcast co-host Marc Lamont Hill spoke of the spirituality of DMX and how much it meant to his life. He noted days before the funeral hip hop’s loss of Shock G of Digital Underground and Black Rob, another hip hop icon.

Erica Ford, an anti-violence activist, said she worked with DMX since the 1990s. He represented the streets and his impact brought the powers that be here today, she said. Proclamations and accolades came from the governor of New York, the state legislature, other politicians and dignitaries.

“I wish these honors would have come while he was living, nonetheless he got them. And we will continue to honor him,” added another presenter.

Heartfelt speeches came from those who knew the rapper best during the public memorial April 24 at a major sports arena in Brooklyn. Major hip hop artists, including Kanye West and Busta Rhymes were among those present at the ceremony at the Barclays Center. The gathering was limited to close friends and family.

In a touching moment, DMX’s children gathered on stage to talk—and sometimes rap—about the star as a father who taught them such lessons as “always say thank you,” and “be kind to everyone.”

Before the service, a massive black big-wheel truck with the words “LONG LIVE DMX” on a side of the vehicle carried DMX’s shiny red casket for more than 15 miles from Yonkers, New York—where the rapper grew up—to the Barclays Center. A plethora of motorcycles trailed the truck during the procession before arriving at the arena, where thousands of people crowded the streets.

Thousands of motorcycle riders surrounded the monster truck, revving up their engines. Others gathered at the arena while some of DMX’s biggest songs from “Where The Hood At” and “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” blared from the crowd’s speakers.

The Fruit of Islam, men of the Nation of Islam, handed out a free copy of a special reprint of The Final Call newspaper that paid tribute to DMX.

Earl Simmons died April 9 after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest.” He spent several days on life support after being rushed to a New York hospital from his home April 2.

The 50-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper delivered iconic hip-hop songs such as “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here).”

DMX arrived on the rap scene around the same time as Jay-Z, Ja Rule and others who dominated the charts and emerged as platinum-selling acts.

Rev. Barbara King closed the service saying DMX was rejoicing at exiting a difficult world. He had the heart of a deacon and helped everyone, she said. She shared how DMX joined her church and she ministered to him. “I believe that Earl is still alive in me, he’s still alive in his loved ones, he’s still alive in his children and he lives in his music,” Rev. King said. “Death formed against Earl,” she said, “but it did not prosper.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Final Call Newspaper

‘How many more losses must we mourn?’

By Anisah Muhammad, Contributing Writer
- April 13, 2021

Friends and family comfort Katie Wright, right, while she speaks briefly to news media near where the family says her son Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed by police April 11, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP

Tension is high in Brooklyn Center, Minn., with the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black man was shot to death by a police officer in the Minneapolis suburb during a traffic stop.

His death sparked protests over two days with officers in riot gear clashing with demonstrators, sometimes outside the Brooklyn Police Department headquarters.

Protestors faced off with police in an evening confrontation that included heavily armed state troopers massed in the streets, firing gas cannisters as protestors gathered in the streets, sometimes throwing things at officers in riot gear, at Final Call presstime. Protesters refused to obey a curfew imposed by Minnesota’s governor as they demanded justice and condemned the death. Officers started to arrest those who refused to leave the area, CNN reported.

The Brooklyn Center police chief said April 12 the shooting was “accidental,” and an experienced officer fired her service weapon but meant to fire a Taser. Her Taser, however, he admitted was on the opposite side of her body. The officer involved was later identified as 26-year veteran Kim Potter by the Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety.


Police body cam footage captured the incident and was broadcast around the country. Outrage was immediate.

“The climate is almost spontaneous, now. If you kill one of us, we will come out of our houses from everywhere. We are so pissed, so angry, so hurt and so tired, and a matter of seconds with social media, electronics, we will be there, our people,” Harry “Spike” Moss, a longtime Minneapolis-based activist, told The Final Call.

“They are that tired. Men, women and children. Our children are traumatized, now, in Minnesota. Every time they turn the TV on, they see themselves being killed. They see, how do we go play, how do we go to the park, how do we go to school. These people are stalking us and hunting us like they’re hunting in the woods and using any excuse to pull us over and kill us.”
Duante Wright, who was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center police during a traffic stop. Photo: MGN Online

Activists said police had trouble getting the story straight about why Daunte Wright was pulled over.

Initially, Mohamed Ibrahim, the deputy director of CAIR-Minn., said they were told by officials that Mr. Wright was pulled over due to air fresheners. “And then earlier today when we met with city officials, they were telling us that it was a traffic stop, but they weren’t telling us the details why, although they were able to make one phone call to tell us that it was because of expired tags,” Mr. Ibrahim told The Final Call.

He said during a protest the day of the shooting, police fired tear gas at children who were grieving.

“There were children that were grieving yesterday in front of the police station, and the police chief ordered to have tear gas and other projectiles shot at the children yesterday,” he said. “So everybody is shocked, everybody’s shellshocked, everybody’s upset. There were chemicals that were being used against kids last night, so you can tell that the tension is high.”

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon spoke to the media April 12 and police video was shared. An officer Potter can be heard shouting, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” After firing a single shot from her handgun, the car sped away, and the officer is heard saying, “Holy (expletive)! I shot him.” The bodycam footage also showed three officers around a stopped car.

When an officer attempts to handcuff Mr. Wright, who had exited his car, a struggle ensues. Authorities said the car was pulled over for having expired registration and after determining the driver had an outstanding warrant, officers tried to arrest Mr. Wright.

When Mr. Wright managed to break free and reenter his vehicle, the officer fired, striking him. The vehicle traveled several blocks before hitting another vehicle. A female passenger, identified as Daunte Wright’s girlfriend, sustained non-life threatening injuries in the crash.

Protests erupted shortly after the shooting, and demonstrators jumped on top of police cars, confronting officers. Marchers also threw rocks and other objects at officers, Minnesota Department of Public Safety commissioner John Harrington said at a news conference. He said about 20 businesses had been broken into.

“All the violence, if it keeps going, it’s only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason,” Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, said to a crowd near the shooting scene. “We need to make sure it’s about him and not about smashing police cars, because that’s not going to bring my son back.”

Ms. Wright said her son called her as he was getting pulled over. “All he did was have air fresheners in the car and they told him to get out of the car,” she said. During the call, she said she heard scuffling and then someone saying “Daunte, don’t run” before the call ended. When she called back, her son’s girlfriend answered and said he had been shot.

President Joe Biden was briefed on the April 11 shooting, and the White House has been in touch with the governor, mayor and local law enforcement, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “We were incredibly saddened to hear about the loss of life at the hands of law enforcement in Minnesota yesterday,” she said.

The National Guard was activated, and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott announced a curfew in the city that expired at 6 a.m. Apr. 12.

“Here’s a kid who you want to stop because he had some air fresheners around the mirror? That’s all you got to do, with the crime in this country? And then you claim he had a warrant. Well even if he had a warrant, there’s no capital punishment in this state and a whole lot of other states don’t have it,” Mr. Moss said.

“And if you have to put in place capital punishment, there has to be a jury and a judge, a hearing and a trial. None of that happened, because you still feel the Black man in America has no rights as a citizen, a human being or taxpayer that the White majority must respect.”

He said once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, he wants to invite the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam to be a part of a day of remembrance and healing.

“Because we are in that kind of pain. When I walk around now, I see it on their faces. If they happen to see it on TV in a business place or something, they tear up,” he said. “If they bring it up to me and I try to respond, they cry, and we need remembrance and healing. It’s real bad here, now. This kid is just one more of many. Minnesota can’t hide it no more.”

Black Visions Collective, a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, Minn., sent a statement to The Final Call.

Miski Noor, co-executive director for Black Visions, said in the statement, “How many more losses must we mourn? The pain of George Floyd’s shooting is still scarred into our minds and yet history continues to repeat itself because of a rotten and racist institution. For too long, law enforcement and the legal system have continued to racially profile, harass, arrest, and murder Black people more harshly than the rest of America.”

“Our community has reached its breaking point; we are tired of rogue police departments operating with little to no accountability and oversight. Again and again, they show us that every police department across Minnesota and this country is full of Derek Chauvin’s,” she continued.

“Black people should not have to worry about being murdered just because we choose to live; whether it is to go jogging, or out to buy personal items, or just because we are sleeping in our homes—we are fighting for a world in which these situations do not end in a death sentence for Black people.”

Black Visions organizers coordinated with George Floyd Square to host a vigil on April 12 at the site where Daunte Wright was killed.

Mr. Ibrahim said there needs to be 110 percent transparency when Black and Brown people are killed. He also stated that the system is beyond reform.

“We need a completely new system because, as we are mourning and going through the trial of George Floyd, we had another Black man murdered miles away from where George Floyd (was) murdered. So in order for us to continue to heal, we need to actually have a system that is protecting Black bodies, because right now we are mourning a death … that resulted from expired tags,” he said.

“Which, we are in the middle of a pandemic. And if his tags are expired, you don’t get those sent to you in months. So in order for us to prevent these things from happening, we need to reimagine policing as a whole, because as it stands right now, it is not working, and it will continue to not work.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper


By The Final Call
- April 13, 2021

by Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad, Shawntell Muhammad and Jihad Muhammad

Father. Soon-to-be husband. Hip hop prophet.

These are the names most will remember for hip hop icon DMX. The legendary artist passed away in New York, according to a statement released by the family. He was 50 years old.

“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end. He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him,” the family said in the April 9 statement. “[He] inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever.”

Fans hold up “DMX” balloons during a prayer vigil outside of White Plains Hospital, Monday, April 5, 2021, in White Plains, N.Y. Supporters and family of the rapper DMX have chanted his name and offered up prayers outside the hospital where he remains on life support. The 50-year-old was admitted to the hospital following a heart attack. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Born Earl Simmons, he grew up in Yonkers, N.Y., and began writing music at a young age despite a turbulent childhood and struggles with addiction. His transparency about his struggles and past shared in his music helped inspire millions worldwide.

Hip-Hop legend DMX visited The Salaam restaurant in Chicago n the 1990s and took a picture with some students from Muhammad University of Islam. He was invited by Brother Aziz Muhammad (far right) to the Nation of Islam restaurant.

“DMX didn’t hide behind the pain, he was very transparent with the pain,” said national community organizer, activist and rap artist YoNasDa LoneWolf.

“That’s why everyone is feeling like, ‘man, this was someone that was just so open and vulnerable.’ … So, a prophet died this week, but in the holy scripture we look at them as testimony and carry on.”

The man behind the songs “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here)” used his distinctively gruff voice and thoughtful messages in his rhymes to become one of rap’s biggest stars.

The Grammy-nominated performer died after suffering “catastrophic cardiac arrest,” according to a statement from the hospital in White Plains, New York, where he died. He was rushed there from his home April 2.

His family’s statement said DMX died with relatives by his side after several days on life support.

From left: Brother Gary Muhammad, Final Call General Manager Abdul Rasul Muhammad, DMX and Brother Aziz Muhammad at The Salaam n the 1990s. DMX was a guest of Bro. Aziz. Bro. Abdul Rasul reflected on that day and stated DMX was “so gracious and kind.”

Memorial plans were not yet set at Final Call press time.

He rapped with a trademark raspy delivery that was often paired with growls, barks and “What!” as an ad-lib—built a multiplatinum career in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but he also struggled with drug addiction and legal problems that sometimes put him behind bars.

“His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity,” his record label, Def Jam Recordings, said in a statement describing him as “nothing less than a giant.”

Fellow hip hop artists remembered him likewise, with Eve praising him as “one of the most special people I have ever met” and Nas calling him “Gods poet” in an Instagram post.

DMX made a splash in 1998 with his first studio album, “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The multiplatinum-selling album was anchored by several hits including “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy” and “How It’s Goin’ Down.”

DMX followed up with four straight chart-topping albums including “… And Then There Was X,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ.” He released seven albums, earned three Grammy nominations and was named favorite rap/hip hop artist at the 2000 American Music Awards.

DMX arrived on the rap scene around the same time as Jay-Z, Ja Rule and others who dominated the charts and emerged as platinum-selling acts. They were all part of rap crews, too: DMX fronted the Ruff Ryders collective, which helped launch the careers of Grammy winners Eve and Swizz Beatz, and relaunch The Lox, formerly signed to Bad Boy Records. Ruff Ryders had success on the charts and on radio with its “Ryde or Die” compilation albums.

DMX made his way as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film “Belly” and appeared in 2000′s “Romeo Must Die” with Jet Li and Aaliyah. DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for “Come Back in One Piece” on the film’s soundtrack.

The rapper would later open Aaliyah’s tribute music video, “Miss You,” alongside her other friends and collaborators, including Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim and Queen Latifah, after Aaliyah’s 2001 death in a plane crash at age 22.

The rapper starred in 2001′s “Exit Wounds” with Steven Seagal and 2003′s “Cradle 2 the Grave” with Jet Li.

The Hard Knock Life Tour in 1999 featuring Jay-Z, DMX and others, was one of the most successful hip hop tours ever. The tour was secured by members of the Fruit of Islam. Hashim H. Muhammad, a Chicago hip hop artist himself and F.O.I., helped secure DMX throughout the multi-city event. He shared how during a stop in Milwaukee, DMX want to go to the city. Hashim Muhammad accompanied him visiting ’hoods. DMX gave and received love as “an extremely humble, spiritual, and fearless brother,” he said.

On the Atlanta leg of the show series, a video later shown in a movie about the tour captured Hashim Muhammad in an impromptu rap “cypher” with Jay-Z, DMX and others. After the freestyle, which is an iconic hip hop moment, Hashim Muhammad recalled how DMX pulled him close in a show of love and respect. “He wanted to stay grounded, he did not want to get the big head,” said Mr. Muhammad.

The Hard Knock Life Tour also included Redman, Method Man, and special guests Ja Rule, Eve, Beanie Sigel, and Amil. This was a major tour since venues and promoters weren’t booking shows for fear of violence. Abdul Aziz Muhammad was asked to work with security based on his work with R&B singer Monica.

Aziz Muhammad had Hashim Muhammad and Damon Muhammad, also known as “Young Khan The Don,” as part of the security team and a hip hop collective. The Hard Knock Life Tour lasted three months without violence. “It was actually being on this tour that we saw the effect that DMX had on the audience.

He had an attraction power similar to that of Tupac. He was raw, by himself and the people were vibing with him. Swizz Beatz was his DJ at the time,” said Damon Muhammad. He recounted a private conversation where DMX shared his thoughts about mortality.

“One of the main things he wanted to share was that he didn’t believe he would live past 30. He was 28 at the time. I quickly began to dispel that just by sharing with him that we have the ability to strive to live a better quality of life and to transform our life,” said Damon Muhammad. He shared how the life giving teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad changes lives and assured DMX his life could change too.

During a Chicago stop DMX visited The Final Call Building, home to the newspaper and Min. Louis Farrakhan’s video ministry, the Nation’s Salaam restaurant, and Muhammad University of Islam. Abdul Aziz Muhammad said, “We had over three months of communication with him and all of the artists in the Hard Knock Life Tour … We really bonded.”
Hip Hop singer DMX whose real name is Earl Simmons speaks to the media regarding his record label change to Sony Music as the founder of Ruff Ryder, Waah Dean, right, looks on, Friday, Jan.13, 2006, in New York. ( AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

“All of the artists enjoyed and benefited from the presence of the F.O.I. Many of them began giving the greetings while on tour, and even when things could have gotten out of hand it was out of respect for the Nation and the F.O.I. that it didn’t. We thank Allah for his guidance and in the words of Jay Z, ‘they said this tour couldn’t happen, that it would be violent but we did 54 cities without one act of violence,’ ” he added. It also grossed $18 million.

But while DMX made his mark in music and entertainment, the rapper faced a personal struggle with drugs. His addiction first took hold at age 14 when he smoked a marijuana cigarette laced with cocaine. He said in an interview that he didn’t know the marijuana given to him by an older friend he trusted included crack cocaine.

“Earl Simmons was a wonderful, caring father, and a sensitive, thoughtful man,” said Lyor Cohen, a former executive at Def Jam, in a statement. “Unfortunately, Dark Man X took over and ran amok, tormented and struggling to find the light. … DMX gave me the inspiration to keep going at Def Jam when rap became soft and silly.”

DMX planned a 32-date tour to mark the 20th anniversary of “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.” But the rapper canceled a series of shows to check himself into a rehab facility in 2019. In an Instagram post, his team said he apologized for the canceled shows and thanked his fans for the continued support.

DMX, center, surrounded by friends and supporters, accepts the R&B Album Artist of the Year during the 1999 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 1999. (AP Photo/Laura Rauch)

DMX took the initiative to help the less fortunate. He gave a group of Philadelphia men advice during a surprise appearance at a homeless support group meeting in 2017, and helped a Maine family with its back-to-school purchases a couple years later.

Ms. LoneWolf said she was blessed to be able to work with DMX how he touched others.

“So, many would seek DMX for a prayer because it wasn’t like he rehearsed it, it wasn’t for show. It was because he loved God, he loved Jesus. DMX was the closest thing for a lot of people what a prayer sounded like,” she added.

“The ancestor known to us as ‘Dark Man X’ walked a complicated walk on this earth,” said writer and culture critic Jamilah Lemieux. “His experiences were forever informed by the trauma of his childhood, which can make the spotlight a dangerously complex place to be. Hearts around the world are grieving a man who so beautifully articulated pain that is all too common in so many of our communities.”

NEW YORK, NY- SEPTEMBER 23: DMX arrives during the VH1 Hip Hop Honors at BAM on September 23, 2009 in New York City. (Evan Agostini via AP)

“I felt a very special place for him as a man, as a human, a Black man, and what he represents spiritually. As a spiritual being, he super exceeded what the world was thinking of in terms of his music. His purpose here was bigger than music,” commented Lakeisha Gray-Sewell, who runs the Chicago-based Girls Like Me mentoring group.

“That no matter what we deal with, there’s a higher force using us to be instruments to bring us all closer to grace and bringing us close to loving each other for who we are,” she said.

James Amir of Public Enemy and Hip Hop for Justice told The Final Call, “The hip hop world lost a talented, great brother. … I think the music is one of the most important things that he inspired; the way he did the music, his originality, in terms of how he delivered it, I just think he was an excellent performer, and inspiring in being himself.”

He continued to say that as a father and potential husband DMX will be greatly missed.

“The big part of his story for me was when he was introduced to crack at 14. For me, it speaks volumes more to the adults that were around him at that time. Had he not been introduced to crack; he may not have been hospitalized at this point.

A friend makes an X gesture during a prayer vigil outside of White Plains Hospital, Monday, April 5, 2021, in White Plains, N.Y. Supporters and family of the rapper DMX have chanted his name and offered up prayers outside the hospital where he remains on life support. The 50-year-old was admitted to the hospital following a heart attack. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

That’s the unfortunate part about it, somebody put him on that course,” commented For the Culture radio host Faraji Muhammad, who is based in Baltimore. “Here’s a man who showed us what resilience looks like, here’s a man who showed us what perseverance looks like.”

Student Minister Al Shaheed Muhammad of Dallas, Texas, is also a hip hop artist. “From what I saw from DMX, I remember when he first came out. From what he evolved into, he showed the people the purpose of prayer. Most hip hop concerts you go to, most artists don’t pray.”

Min. Muhammad said DMX’s song “Slippin’ ” inspired him at a time in his life when he felt he was struggling and needed to pick back up.

Many took to social media to express their condolences and best wishes to DMX’s family.

“Prayers for DMX and his family,” wrote Missy Elliott on Twitter.

Rapper T.I. wrote, “Shake back Big Bro. We made plans Maaaan We got s— to do!!! We laughed so hard about how far we’ve made it in life this night. I appreciate you so much for pulling up & and checking on a n—-. So now I’m tellin you like you told me … This too shall pass …We need Real 1s like you around!!! #PrayersUpForDMX.”

“It’s so sad to hear about the passing of DMX. He was a true legend to the hip-hop community,” added rapper Chingy in a statement.

“#mydog X I know that you are in the place of peace you deserve. I will be forever grateful to have known you. You were one of the most special people I have ever met. Full of Humour, talent, wisdom honesty and love and most of all loyalty,” rapper Eve said in an Instagram post.

“RIP DMX. I pray for the comfort of your children and loved ones,” actress Viola Davis said on Twitter.

“Rest In Peace DMX, a true legend. It was truly my honor to work and get to know you,” actor Jet Li said on Twitter.

“What they thought was a battle ended up being a family reunion. Of 2 Doggs who loved everything about each other thank. U. X for loving me back. C u when I get there,” rapper Snoop Dogg, who faced off against DMX in a Verzuz battle last year that drew more than 500,000 viewers, said in an Instagram post.

“Rest easy king Hug my Babegirl Aaliyah when you see her !!!!” said producer Timbaland on Twitter.

“Earl you had and still have a heart of gold. You and Baby Girl will meet again with all the beautiful people we have lost. Will never forget your kindness. NEVER! Blessing to your family! Eternally!” said Diane Haughton, the mother of the late singer Aaliyah, said on Instagram.

(Imani Ali and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

Under the Shadow of Death
By Barrington M. Salmon, Contributing Writer
- April 6, 2021

Cortez Rice left,of Minneapolis sat in the middle of Hennepin Avenue to mourn the death of George Floyd that have died at the hands of police Sunday March 7,2021 In Minneapolis, MN.] Jerry Holt • I can't breathe" silent march at government center Sunday March 7, 20111

‘Race still reigns supreme’

The George Floyd murder trial has once again brought national and international attention on a mélange of issues including whether Blacks can ever get justice in America, particularly when a police officer is involved.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial and charged with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder after kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while he was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. The police-involved killing triggered widespread national and global protests and demonstrations demanding an end to state-sanctioned murders, police brutality and racial injustice and ignited a sustained, significant and pervasive social justice movement.

As hundreds of cases of state-sanctioned and extra-judicial killings of primarily unarmed Black women, men and children each year illustrate, past is prologue because cops rarely end up being convicted. According to Phillip M. Stinson, a criminal justice researcher and professor of Criminal Justice at Bowling Green University, a mere five percent–seven officers–have been charged and convicted of murder over the past 20 years.


This sordid history and track record has convinced Dr. Wilmer Leon, III that despite a public clamor for accountability, there’s little likelihood that justice will be served in this case.

“I don’t know what justice looks like because I haven’t seen it,” he told The Final Call. “It’s kinda like the Dodo bird. I heard they existed once upon a time and went to the zoo to try to find one and they’re extinct. I know what injustice looks like and from that I can extrapolate what justice looks like.

In this image from video, witness Charles McMillian becomes emotional as he answers questions as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

“You always hear after an atrocity like that that this can’t happen again. But we always find ourselves fighting the very same forces we have from the beginning,” he continued. “You can’t ask Rodney King, you can’t ask Oscar Grant, Philando Castile or Breonna Taylor. Yet we have to continue to hope justice happens because that’s one of the things that keeps us sane and hope keeps us from acting just like them.”

Dr. Leon, a political science professor, author and talk show host, said what the public will see play out likely will be a replay of past cases which allows police officers to kill Black people and end up walking without ever being held responsible or accountable.

“Somebody asked me about the outcome of the trial and I think it will be a hung jury,” he said.

“The defense is appealing to one White juror while explaining how hard it is to be a cop, that cops are here to protect you from ‘them’ as well as the way Chauvin was trained. The defense always plays to win but with a nine-minute video with a knee on Floyd’s neck, they can’t argue the facts but they will argue to racism and racist system because that’s what will save them.

“I pray that I’m wrong. I want to be wrong but history tells me that I won’t be. I’ll bet on history until history tells me to do otherwise,” he added.

911 Dispatcher Jena Scurry is questioned by defense attorney Eric Nelson in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Photo: MGN Online

The first five days of the trial were deeply emotional and raw, exposing the collective sorrow of eyewitnesses whose anger, grief and frustration spilled over from having to watch an innocent, unarmed man die for a $20 counterfeit bill. During their testimonies, almost all the eyewitnesses cried bitter tears as they revisited the trauma giving voice to their helplessness, with several publicly lamenting not doing more to intervene or attempt to stop Mr. Floyd’s death.

“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brother. I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all Black,” said 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, whose video of the murder went global. “I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them.

“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologized to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” an emotional and audibly shaken Ms. Frazier said March 30.

Cori Harvey, a legal consultant and former law professor in Florida, said her demand of the criminal justice system is simple: “I want people who harm us to be punished the same. What Black people want is that if you commit a crime behind Black people, you are tried and go to jail. That’s all we want. We can’t say that about White on Black crime.

“Everybody’s surprised when the White guy goes to jail or we don’t get the same justice,” she said. “We know when Black people commit a crime, they’re going to jail and some girl will be putting money on the (prison) commissary (account).”

Ms. Harvey, who taught Business Law and Law & Economics, argues forcefully that Blacks should not be waiting for laws to change, but should be about the business of becoming so economically powerful that no one would dare oppose or disrespect them.

“I don’t envision any long-term change,” said Ms. Harvey, a graduate of the Rutgers School of Law-Camden and a former public defender in Philadelphia. “Our problem is that Black people need to make money, period. Economic power means money, ownership and control of who’s in office, influencing politicians and determining that they listen and respond to our needs and concerns.

“We don’t need people marching, we need economic power. Money is power. Imagine if we stop buying products for one day? If we hold onto our iPhones for six more months, the economy would feel it. And if we stopped going to Footlocker, didn’t buy anything for a week, stopped going to restaurants, we’d bring the economy to its knees.”

Donald Williams, witness at the trial of Derek Chauvin, charged with killing George Floyd. Photo: MGN Online

Judith Browne Dianis said she has the long view when considering this trial and any potential impact.

“I think at the end of the day, justice doesn’t begin or end with this trial,” said Ms. Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project, attorney and longtime social justice advocate. “We want justice but we have other work to do. Who can Black people call to get safety from the police is the bigger question. Another question is what is the standard duty of other officers to intervene?

“The trial is important because policing is on trial,” she said.

Blacks are confronting a system that is random and arbitrary when it comes to dispensing justice.

“There are prosecutors, police unions, police officers and legislators who protect the system. We have to keep doing the organizational work towards the types of things that help our communities,” said Ms. Browne Dianis. She pointed to the federal Justice in Policing Act which she said “has some things that could make a difference.”

“But it won’t make the community whole. We need funding resources to protect us, mental health support, housing—all the things for which people are criminalized,” said Ms. Browne Dianis, who leads an organization committed to combating structural racism in education, voting, policing, criminal justice and immigration.

She and other racial justice activists, advocates and policymakers have been working on the Breathe Act, which was developed and written by members of the Movement for Black Lives. She said Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Conn.) has introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.

“This is a big and lofty bill and a marker of where we have to move forward,” she said. “I do think we’re making progress with defunding campaigns and rebuilding the police.”

Ms. Browne Dianis said representatives of racial justice and civil rights organizations, their allies and policymakers have been meeting, looking at issues, and trying to figure out what topics they want to put on the proverbial table as priorities.

“It will be on movement people at the table pushing things that are important to push our community not to survive but to thrive,” she said.

Dr. Ramel Kweku Akyirefi Smith likened the relationship between Blacks and the United States to a domestic violence situation.
Demonstrators gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center, Monday, March 8, 2021, in Minneapolis where the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin began with jury selection. Chauvin is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd during an arrest last May in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

“It’s all a charade and evidence that we’ll never get justice even with eyewitnesses,” said Dr. Smith, a Milwaukee-based clinical and sports psychologist. “It goes back to 1991 when Rodney King was struck 66 times. This was more egregious. George Floyd was not resisting and was probably experiencing high substance abuse psychosis. America has not changed. That man didn’t deserve to die like that.

“Race still reigns supreme,” he said.

“Since George Floyd, how many Black people have been killed and beaten?” he asked. “Twenty-seven million dollars is beautiful but until the way Black people are treated is consistent, it’s just a show. There’s nothing set up in this country for anything to be different.”

The city of Minneapolis announced a $27 million settlement with the family of George Floyd before the trial started.

If America is serious about ending police violence, brutality and murder, Dr. Smith said, the settlement money should come from police union funds, officers’ retirement and other sources directly tied to police officers and law enforcement and not from taxpayers.

There are different laws for Black people, poor Whites, White-collar criminals and a chosen few who don’t care about and live without rules, he argued.

Social justice activists, those in civil rights circles and others view the Chauvin trial as another significant moment and an inflection point in this country’s checkered and sordid judicial history.

The Minneapolis Police Department has a fractured history with the city’s Black residents. Mr. Chauvin had 19 complaints against him but continued unimpeded in his job, and even with a videotape of the Floyd death Black people aren’t sure he’ll be convicted.

When asked if she thought Minneapolis will burn if Mr. Chauvin walks, Ms. Harvey said she’s praying not.

“I’ve been watching the trial. If he gets off, doesn’t get the maximum sentence, people will be pissed,” she said. “I think it will be a problem, a whole situation.

“I foresee marches and protests, no violence. Right now, the Capitol riots are the apex. It is my hope and prayer that BLM protestors don’t top what happened on Jan. 6.”

White America will never accept or respect Black Americans as things currently exist, which necessitates a separation and reparations for slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, White terror and systemic and structural racism which forever leaves Blacks in subordinate positions, argued Dr. Smith, the psychologist.

“Give us land. Give us for every year they oppressed us,” said Dr. Smith. “Subsidize us with money for 246 years of oppression, free education, healthcare, land, something to sustain us. We need to be able to make our own weapons, enter into the G-7. We need power like that enjoyed by China, Russia and Iran. This is our bottom line.

“I’m more convinced than ever that this is the course we need to take. White people still think they are superior and have a sense of entitlement, think ‘I’m better than you.’ No people who have ever been colonized has ever had true equality,” he added. “We’ve been colonized and have never had true equality. We’re still disabled and disadvantaged by being colonized.”

Dr. Smith said he expects that “they will get him on something,” he said referring to Mr. Chauvin, “because they have to give meat to the crowd.”