From The Final Call Newspaper

A Champion of Truth and Justice The life and legacy of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

By Brian E. Muhammad, Staff Writer
- December 28, 2021

Desmond Tutu (Photo by Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images)

Desmond Tutu, the champion for human rights and justice worldwide and stalwart of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa has died. The leader often regarded as the “moral compass” and “voice of integrity” in the country that defeated White minority rule was 90 years old.

The renowned figure lost his battle with prostate cancer which he was diagnosed with in 1997. The official announcement was made by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement December 26. He lauded Mr. Tutu as a “patriot without equal” and a leader of principle and pragmatism who remained true to his convictions.

Desmond Tutu (Photo by Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images)

“The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,” said Mr. Ramaphosa.

He described Mr. Tutu as a man of extraordinary intellect, integrity, and invincibility against the forces of apartheid. But was also “tender and vulnerable” in his compassion for those who suffered oppression, injustice, and violence under apartheid and worldwide. Mr. Ramaphosa announced that all flags will fly half-mast in South Africa and at its diplomatic missions abroad.

A weeklong National Day of Mourning was declared, and memorials were planned. For five days his former parish, Saint George Anglican Cathedral is tolling its bell at midday for 10 minutes marking Mr. Tutu’s transition from life into death. The public is honoring the Archbishop with flowers and photos outside the gates of the church, his residences in Cape Town and Soweto, and significant sites of his work.

Mr. Tutu’s body will lie in state Jan.1 at Saint George’s and a requiem mass is scheduled the next day. Mr. Tutu’s body will lie in state Dec. 31 at Saint George’s and a requiem mass is scheduled the next day. Mr. Tutu’s ashes will be buried in a mausoleum within the cathedral. Many remember him as an icon, not only for Africa but the world.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam issued a statement of reflection on the legacy of Archbishop Tutu and what his life means.

“Although many milestones in the march toward freedom and justice have been reached, the one that ArchbishopTutu wanted most was the same that Dr. Martin Luther King wanted most, to see a genuine brotherhood of the races in a beloved community. Every day that we live we are witnessing new and older efforts to destroy the good that good men like Archbishop Tutu tried to establish,” said Min. Farrakhan. (See page 20-21 for Min. Farrakhan’s statement in its entirety.)

“He was a giant,” said Emira Woods, associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Ms. Woods said Mr. Tutu represented several legacies in his public service. “One of the many legacies… the divestment movement, to push in his leadership under the anti-apartheid era to kind of follow the money,” she recalled.

“He pushed boycott and divestment as a means of bringing the apartheid regime to an end,” Ms. Woods added. She told The Final Call Mr. Tutu proved his brilliance as a strategist and visionary when he seamlessly pushed the same boycott and divestment strategy in the struggle for environmental justice. In 2014 Mr. Tutu lent the power of his stature to fighting the fossil fuel industry, greed, and unfettered exploitation of natural resources.

Ambassadors of the Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust, Tutu Tygers, are seen in limited edition T-Shirts, designed by Patta, on the eve of celebrating Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s 90th in in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. Tutu turns 90 on Thursday amid recent racist graffiti on a portrait of the Nobel winner which highlights his continuing relevance of his work for equality. (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)

With a long legacy of struggle, Mr. Tutu was first and always an Anglican priest who made no secret of his deep dependence on the discipline of prayer, said the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born Oct. 7, 1931, in Klerksdorp, west of Johannesburg. He became an educator before entering St. Peter’s Theological College in Rosetenville in 1958. He was ordained in 1961 and in 1966 became chaplain at the University of Fort Hare.

He became bishop of Lesotho, chairman of the South African Council of Churches and, in 1985, the first Black Anglican bishop of Johannesburg. In 1986, Tutu was named the first Black archbishop of Cape Town.

The foundation said his faith “burst the confines” of denomination and religion and embraced all who shared his passion for justice and love. Mr. Tutu spent the closing years of his life increasingly devoted to prayer and contemplation, in the Milnerton home he and his wife shared.

U.S. Senator for Illinois Barack Obama, left, talks to former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, right, in Cape Town, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 21, 2006. Obama is on a two week African tour which started in Cape Town. (AP Photo/Obed Zilwa)

Father Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabina Church in Chicago told The Final Call that Archbishop Tutu was a consistent voice for freedom. The Chicago activist saw Mr. Tutu as a clergyman unlike many in religion today that sometimes compromise.

“He showed what the religious voice ought to be. All of us in clergy should ask ourselves the question, ‘am I consistent enough to be a voice of freedom?’” said Father Pfleger.

Mr. Tutu didn’t shy from world issues as vast as in Tibet, China, and persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He also denounced the war on Iraq. He gave unwavering condemnation to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and likened it to apartheid South Africa.

“I have been to the occupied Palestinian territory,” Mr. Tutu once said. “And I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of apartheid,” he said.

CHICAGO – APRIL 4: Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson (L), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (C) and Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, attend Palm Sunday mass at St. Sabina’s church where Archbishop Tutu was speaking to the congregation April 4, 2004 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Such positions were not taken absent of the myriad of attacks by proponents of Zionism against Mr. Tutu. His name is on a long list of leaders falsely charged with being anti-semitic for just raising the issue of justice.

In a 2002 article Mr. Tutu penned called “Apartheid in the Promised Land,” he pushed back on critics of his principled position. “I am not pro- this people or that. I am pro-justice, pro-freedom. I am anti- injustice, anti-oppression.”

“People are scared in this country [the U.S.], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful,” argued Mr. Tutu. “Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists,” he wrote.

A global figure for human rights, Mr. Tutu continued speaking out on a range of ethical and moral issues like illegal arms deals, xenophobia, and HIV/Aids.

As corruption charges and unchanged economic disparity between wealthy elites and an impoverished poor continued in South Africa, Mr. Tutu also became a harsh critic of the ruling African National Congress.
Flowers are placed alongside a photo of Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. South Africa’s president says Tutu, South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist for racial justice and LGBT rights and the retired Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, has died at the age of 90. (AP Photo)

The world lost a rare change agent who was consistent across the board. “I think it was an unfortunate loss,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history at the University of Houston.

“Generally speaking, I think historians of various stripes will be kind to Desmond Tutu,” he said.

Mr. Tutu galvanized global support for the anti-apartheid cause. In 1984 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism. By 1994 apartheid came down with the victory of Nelson Mandela in the first democratically held presidential elections of the country,

Mr. Tutu was asked by Mr. Mandela to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, created as a space to uncover the horrors committed during apartheid.

Later along with Mr. Mandela and other former elder statesmen and world leaders, he served in The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice, and human rights. The group was made up of former presidents and diplomats.

South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu hugs author Maya Angelou as she delivered a tribute to him at the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding Award Ceremony, Friday, Nov. 21, 2008, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

“We are all devastated at the loss of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Elders would not be who they are today without his passion, commitment and keen moral compass. He inspired me to be a ‘prisoner of hope,’” said Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders and former president of Ireland.

For others, losing such a caliber leader brings reflection and gratitude that one like him lived and contributed on the level he did.

“When someone has the kind of life and length of life that Archbishop Desmond Tutu had … thank the Creator of all things for having allowed his presence,” said Bill Fletcher Jr, past president of TransAfrica Forum.

However, it is important to guard against the misconstruing of Mr. Tutu’s legacy, Mr. Fletcher argued. Anytime progressive and radical leaders pass away, the establishment works to tone down their legacies to make them “safe” and acceptable, said Mr. Fletcher.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, right, reacts with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, left, during the launch of a Walter and Albertina Sisulu exhibition, called, ‘Parenting a Nation’, at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, March 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

“We saw that with (Martin Luther) King,” he said. After he was assassinated, many people didn’t understand the militancy and radicalism of Dr. King because of a watered-down narrative explaining his significance.

Mr. Fletcher expects the same will be attempted with Mr. Tutu, particularly his internationalism and stance on Palestine. “You can’t ignore Tutu … but what the larger establishment can do is rewrite it and blur out significant features,” he said.

Bishop Desmond Tutu is survived by his wife of 66 years, Leah, and their four children.

Final Call Staff Writer Tariqah Muhammad contributed to this report.

From The Final Call Newspaper

Redemption, reconciliation and potential power: A Los Angeles concert with Kanye West and Drake was much more than a night for music. It was a sign: We can be peaceful and progressive.

By The Final Call
- December 21, 2021

by Naba’a Muhammad and Charlene Muhammad

The Final Call

CHICAGO/LOS ANGELES—When Kanye West and Drake, giants in the hip hop and music industry, came together on stage in Los Angeles, it wasn’t just a cultural moment.

The concert was a sign of how music industry beefs can be squashed and how rich, powerful, talented and popular young artists can come together as an example of reconciliation and for a higher cause.

The “Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert” at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was hailed by thousands as an incredible performance, music and message.

In this June 27, 2015 file photo, Canadian singer Drake performs on the main stage at Wireless festival in Finsbury Park,

The mega-stars called for the release of Larry Hoover Sr., the 71-year-old legendary leader of the Chicago-based Gangster Disciple street organization which he has worked to change to a movement for Growth and Development. Mr. Hoover Sr. has been incarcerated for more than five decades. Though eligible, a federal judge has denied his release from solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, in the extremely isolated ADX Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colo.

In this Aug. 30, 2015, file photo, Kanye West accepts the video vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Photo: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File

“Basically this concert was a beautiful thing to spread awareness about my father and his situation on a global platform. I really didn’t know how we would get to this place where we got to,” Larry Hoover Jr. told The Final Call in an exclusive telephone interview.

“It’s just good to have the community behind this fight. Because without the world being behind this fight, they sweep it under the rug, and we haven’t had a chance to really give our narrative on who my father is and what he has done for his community and the things that he was trying to do,” he said.

“They always portray him in a negative light, and this was just the start of getting awareness out here; getting ourselves together in a position where we can fight, where we can help other people fight for prison reform. It’s just a beautiful thing,” Larry Hoover Jr. continued.

“And also it should lead the way for other artists to see how you can come together and make big things happen instead of being apart from each other and going through beefs and arguments that could lead to people losing their lives and jail time and things of that nature,” said Larry Hoover Jr. “So, it’s just a significant thing showing what can be done and hopefully leads the way for other great things to be done.”

His father was sentenced to multiple life sentences, but many agree with his son and want him released now. They see value in having Mr. Hoover Sr. out on the streets to help stop violence that continues to plague the Black community. Much of the violence today is actually purposely driven by groups, cliques, and gangs in their music.

The violence has played out in the world of hip hop with deadly beefs claiming the lives of artists and fueling conflict.

Iconic artists Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls were entangled in a conflict that would claim both their lives. Tupac Shakur died in Las Vegas in 1996 and Biggie Smalls was killed in Los Angeles months later in 1997.

Among other killings were the Rapper Drakeo the Ruler, who died Dec. 18 in Los Angeles, Young Dolph in Memphis, South Carolina rapper 18veno, New York rapper Pop Smoke and Chicago rappers Edai and FBG Duck. All were painful deaths.

As the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan asked during his closing address at a December virtual Nubian Leadership Circle summit, “Who’s feeding the filth over the radio that makes our young people rap in a foolish way?

“It’s not like the early rappers who rapped with knowledge of self, but today it’s filth, it’s indecency; it is debauchery,” he said. “It is the glorification of niggerism, the glorification of something that we should never call each other, ‘nigger,’ and make it seem like it’s something nice.”

From the early days of hip hop till now, the Minister has been a guide, a loving father figure who has worked to bring peace to the hip hop community. He is known for sharing his great love and wisdom with artists, and industry figures and mediating conflicts.

So Kanye West and Drake, who once had beef, performing together Dec. 9 was a watershed moment of possibility not just for two men but for a powerful, billion dollar, global music industry. As Billboard magazine noted, “It marked the first time Kanye and Drake were on the same stage since 2016.”

The event sold out the 73,000 seat venue, and also streamed live for freeto 93,000 on Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, and Twitch, and showed in select IMAX theaters across the country.

“Both me and Drake have taken shots at each other, and it’s time to put it to rest,” said Kanye, who has legally changed his name to Ye, in a video inviting Drake to join him on stage as a special guest to share their albums Donda (Kanye) and Certified Lover Boy (Drake), live in Los Angeles, with the ultimate purpose being to free Larry Hoover, Sr.

“I believe this event will not only bring awareness to our cause but prove to people everywhere how much more we can accomplish when we lay our pride to the side and come together,” said Kanye.

Gov’t condemnation and longtime gov’t plots

Federal authorities blasted the concert and any talk of releasing Larry Hoover Sr. The government condemnation wasn’t surprising and didn’t move many.

“I met with Ye to pass on the message from my brother Larry Hoover who said he would like to see peace between the two of them,” stated Jas Prince, CEO of the Houston-based Rap-a-Lot Records. He and its founder, J. Prince, discovered Drake. “I’m looking forward to all of us working together in unison to elevate our communities around the world,” read his social media post about his unplanned meeting with Kanye at Houston’s Rothko Chapel in November. Kanye, Drake and the industry executive later met at Drake’s home in Canada.

“It’s bewildering. I think if we put our heads together for five minutes, we could come up with 1,000—maybe more—causes that are more worthy to devote this kind of resources to,” said Ron Safer, the former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago who led a prosecution team that convicted Larry Hoover.

Mr. Safer criticized the University of Southern California, who owns the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, and Amazon for airing it to the world, the ABC News reported.

Wallace “Gator” Bradley, a longtime friend, confidante of Mr. Hoover Sr., sees an old U.S. plot and strategy still at work. The Chicago-based activist worked hard for the 1990s urban peace and justice movement and peace treaties that spread across the country to stem fratricidal violence. Those who had once been in street organizations worked to increase peace and promote life.

They were largely condemned, generally left unfunded while others copied their model and used it across the country. Those still working to bring peace to the streets often struggle to get and obtain resources and are accused of wrongdoing, despite their good work and reform efforts.

Mr. Bradley is clear the lockdown on Mr. Hoover Sr. is tied to government targeting of Blacks in leadership and potential leaders regardless of where they have influence.

He and others see ongoing, constant surveillance, infiltration and other efforts as determined work in the spirit and mission of the nefarious 1970s-exposed FBI Counter-Intelligence Program designed to neutralize, decimate and destroy Black organizations and leaders to preempt “the rise of a Black Messiah.” Cointelpro was devoted to protecting U.S., national security and maintaining America’s social and political order.

Among its targets yesterday, in the 1960s and 1970s, under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover were the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), civil rights groups and others. Also targeted were American Indian, Chicano and Latino rights groups, progressive Whites, and Communists–essentially anyone who challenged injustice and demanded change.

Performers and entertainers have long been targets of U.S. government surveillance and control going back decades.

Mr. Bradley sees a highly spiritual and practical message in the successful concert. God sent an undeniable zero tolerance message about senseless shootings and killings through the global concert, he said.

“There’s a zero tolerance to the rape and abuse of women and children. There is a zero tolerance to the abuse and robbery of our elders and seniors,” Mr. Bradley added.

The world witnessed a unified blow for peace that didn’t come out of a vacuum but stems directly from Minister Farrakhan’s decades of guidance and warnings to Stop the Killing, the first historic Gang Summit in Kansas City, Mo., in 1993 to the Million Man March in 1995, the activist said.

“This is a spiritual war that everyone has to realize is happening. No one saw that coming and were shocked that it happened. But that was global proportions and the man kept God first coming out his mouth,” he continued.

“A righteous tribute, and that’s not saying that not everybody else’s tribute is not righteous, but a righteous tribute for life is when Drake and Kanye stopped beefing with one another, because they realized other entities were driving their myths about the beef,” argued Mr. Bradley.

“It’s an honor to see two artists of this magnitude put focus on brother Larry Hoover, who could do more good out of prison than in. If the government was serious about bringing crime down, what better person to let out of prison to go back to Chicago to help undo some of the things that has been done in his name,” said Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, the Nation of Islam’s Western Region Headquarters Representative at Muhammad Mosque No. 27 in Los Angeles.

Minister Farrakhan wrote to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before the 2005 execution of reformed Crips leader Stanley “Tookie” Williams in the face of a worldwide movement to commute his sentence, saying how much of help he could be. “He’s reformed. He’s changed. Do not kill him, the same is true about brother Larry Hoover,” said Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad.

“And not only could he help Chicago, but if they let him out and allow him the latitude and the longitude to do his work, my God, not only will he help fix Chicago, but it will be a sound or shot heard around the world, that the world could benefit from what Allah has done for Larry Hoover, who has evolved,” he added.

Chuck Creekmur, founder/CEO, too was pleased by the unification forged with Jas Prince and his father J. Prince, the CEO of Houston’s Rap-A-Lot Records and a long time champion for Larry Hoover.

The hip hop editor would like to see the messages of more artists who are speaking consciousness and who are politicized match up with their causes to galvanize the masses. “For example, there are Free Larry Hoover merchandise, which is done by Balenciaga, and it’s extremely expensive so you know we’re not buying those items,” said Mr. Creekmur.

Mobilizing people and resources

Tickets for the production sold for $50-200. A reported $40 million was raised and some of the beneficiaries included non-profit organizations committed to helping ex-offenders and the incarcerated, including Chicago-based Ex-Cons for Community, Uptown People’s Law Center, and Hustle 2.0.

“There’s a very wide ranging audience because both Kanye and Drake have a very diverse audience, of course, seeing that 85-90 percent of hip hop music sales still come from predominantly Caucasian people,” said Enoch Muhammad, the founder of Hip Hop Detoxx, which uses a creative synthesis of writing, performance, music therapy, hip hop, and pop culture to teach and improve the lives of young people.

“From what I heard at the start of the concert, it’s more than just about Larry Hoover. It’s also really about the incarceration rates of Black and Brown and poor people in general, and just the unfair practices that have gone on for decades,” he said.

“Our people are so ignorant, they’ll ask you ‘Why Larry Hoover,’ but they won’t say a damned thing about the White man who brings the crack and the guns and things into our community,” commented Abdullah Muhammad, Nation of Islam National Prison Reform minister. “You’ve had this man in prison since 1972.

Then you wait all the way ‘til ‘97 and come at him talking about you federally investigated him and he’s making $100 million a year? If he was making that much money, as greedy as the lawyers and things in this system are, they would have taken that money and let him out of there!”

“Where’s the $100 million at? Ain’t none of the disciples that you say are still on the street got none of that money. They’re still struggling and trying to find out how to make an investment to take care of themselves and their family,” said the Chicago-based Muslim minister, whose mission is devoted to serving the incarcerated.

They don’t want us to have ‘redemption’

During a Revolt interview in December, Kanye shared how others, including wife Kim Kardashian, celebrities and artists like Jay Z and Meek Mill are fighting for criminal justice reform in different ways.

“That 13th Amendment needs to completely be eradicated,” Kanye said. It protects modern-day slavery under U.S. law that abolished involuntary servitude, except for those engaged in “illegal behavior.”

“When we shut up and dribble and we rap and we do all this, this thing is still in the Constitution,” said Kanye. “That’s the reason why it’s talks of me and Drake doing the concert to bring light to Hoover,” he said.

Mr. Hoover Sr.’s Growth and Development ideology is to help gang members turn their lives around by creating non-profits, providing jobs, giving back what they’ve taken from and helping to stabilize communities, many noted.

“That’s what they don’t want. They don’t want us to have a positive leader. They want us to not have the redemption,” added Kanye in the pre-concert interview.

Updates about the case can be found by following the Larry Hoover Project on Instagram, said his son, who is recorded thanking Kanye for championing his father’s fight for freedom on the song “Jesus Lord.”

“They came together for a cause bigger than themselves,” said Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant to Minister Farrakhan in Chicago. “We want all of our great organizers that are languishing in prison (freed). That brother has spent nearly 50 years in a federal institution, but he’s looking at a 150 to 200 years sentence in the state of Illinois,” he stated.

“These great men have learned something. Chief Malik or Jeff Ford, Larry Hoover, these are brilliant men. They are like political prisoners,” stated Ishmael Muhammad.

Before their imprisonment, approximately five to six street organizations, so-called gangs, existed in Chicago, but to date there are about 900, he noted, citing Chicago police stats.

“It’s a lot. Disorganized. All of those street organizations started with a righteous cause and got corrupted! But these men have learned, have grown, and have something to offer in the organization of our community and the organization of young men and women. So, we want all of our leaders that are languishing in prison to be free,” said Ishmael Muhammad.

“Kanye and Drake should be commended. That was very great, what they did. And it just shows you what our unity can produce,” he said during his lecture, “Redistribute the Pain—Jesus the Ultimate Revolutionary, Part 2,” delivered Dec. 12 at the Nation of Islam headquarters Mosque Maryam in Chicago.

“We’ve got to unite brothers and sisters. We must unite. That’s the only thing that will solve our problems. And unite behind the program of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” Ishmael Muhammad continued.

(Mustapha J.A. Muhammad contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

‘Our dollars can be a form of our resistance’: How and why we should redirect Black dollars this holiday season

By Michael Z. Muhammad, Contributing Writer
- December 14, 2021

Black Xmas, #BlackoutTuesday, 100 Days of Buying Black, Up With Jesus Down With Santa. These are just a few of the ongoing efforts Blacks around the country are implementing, supporting, and pushing as strategies in the fight for justice, self-preservation, and economic development.

The strategy of “redistributing the pain,” a term coined by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is one Black activists, religious leaders, organizations, and ordinary citizens are utilizing throughout the year with many efforts focused on the biggest shopping and spending time of the year, the Christmas holiday season.

Blacks in America continue to lag in most economic indicators facing gaps in homeownership, wages, education, business ownership, and more. Yet amid these very real and grim realities is that the message of empowerment, development and doing for self is also taking root among Black folks.

“We can’t talk about the many ways we resist oppression while simultaneously supporting it with our spending,” said Dr. Julianne Malveaux. “We can’t go running after corporate dollars to support our events while giving them a pass on the ways they support structural racism. We absolutely must use this holiday as a way to withdraw from our cooperation with predatory capitalism,” observed the noted economist and author.

Black people can “redistribute the pain” by refusing to spend their hard-earned money with corporations and businesses that uphold the U.S. system of oppression and White supremacy while simultaneously building their own economic, political, educational and community strength. After George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last year corporations quickly issued public statements promising a commitment to racial justice and diversity and denouncing racism. Corporate promises were made, but there is little indication any substantive change has followed in the overall quality of life for the majority of Black people. Police killings, economic and health disparities and the status quo remain. But, the fight continues.

This marks the sixth year of the “Up With Jesus, Down With Santa” campaign introduced by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. During the Minister’s 10.10.15 address marking the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, the Muslim world leader quoted Dr. King stating, “We have to find a way to redistribute the pain.” He talked about going to businesses that benefited from Black dollars, and said, “We have to now withdraw our economic support so that those who give us pain can receive some pain in return.”

Each year the campaign encourages Blacks to not spend money from Black Friday through January 2 unless spending it with Black-owned businesses.

“You’re either going to treat us right, or we’re going to withdraw from you our economic support. …We intend to boycott Christmas but not Jesus. We choose not to spend dollars on Black Friday, Black Saturday, Black Sunday, Black Monday. We are not going to spend our money for the rest of that year with those companies that we have traditionally spent our money on,” said Min. Farrakhan.

In Dallas, Pastor Frederick Hayes and Friendship West Baptist Church introduced its campaign, “100 Days of Buying Black (100DBB)” which started September 23 and runs through December 31 to promote economic justice while supporting Black-owned businesses.

“For five years, we’ve provided an opportunity for Black entrepreneurs to promote and sell their goods and services at West Wall Street. In 2021, we’ve commemorated the 100th year since the Tulsa Race Massacre through events and advocacy. We will close out the year by observing the last one hundred days of this centennial Sankofa moment by promoting 100 Days of Buying Black,” notes the church’s website.

The website also includes links to a “West Wall Street Directory” containing information on local Black businesses and a downloadable “100DBB” spending tracker form for participants to note businesses they patronize and how much money they spend at each one. There is also a “100 Days of Buying Black” Facebook Group where members can post information and photos of Black businesses.

“We are seeking to encourage people across the nation to spend their dollars with Black-owned businesses for 100 days to increase the sales and growth of those businesses. Our goal is to continue the legacy of Black Wall Street by circulating our dollars within the Black community to strengthen our economic base,” notes

Strategic, targeted spending by Black people is critical, Dr. Malveaux told The Final Call as she shared a quote from her recent article entitled, “Consumerism is the Foundation of Predatory Capitalism.”

“I’m a consumer, just like you. I want to shower my friends and family with goodies. These days, I’d rather shower them with experiences and, if I must shop, I am shopping with Black-owned businesses. Our dollars can be a form of our resistance.”

For the 2021 holiday shopping season, Black Lives Matter is once again calling for #BlackXmas, a boycott of White companies to spend with Black companies. Among other recommendations the campaign is urging folks to #BuyBlack, #BuildBlack and #BankBlack. The campaign’s website also suggests donating to Black organizations that serve Black communities.

Over the years social media movements under hashtags such as #BoycottBlackFriday, #BlackOutBlackFriday, #HandsUpDontSpend, and #NotOneDime connected social justice efforts to spending.

Economic boycotts are not new to the Black community, especially in the 20th Century. “At the Christmas season during the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. built on the ascetic tradition of previous American boycotts by calling on protesters to refuse to shop at downtown stores and to save their Christmas-shopping money,” writes Dr. Traci Parker in her seminal work “Black Christmas in American Department Stores.”

“In late 1963, after the deaths of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, and four young girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, the Actors and Writers for Justice, an ad hoc organization spearheaded by author James Baldwin, declared that Christmas that year would be a “Black Christmas,” she writes.

Student Minister William Muhammad, of Mosque No. 3 in Milwaukee cited a Muhammad Speaks newspaper report documenting such efforts in the city in the 1960s. The historic publication was published by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam. “The boycott calling for a ‘Beautiful Black Christmas’ was launched against influential White merchants to force improvements to the near-subhuman living conditions Black people endured in 1967 Milwaukee,” said Student Min. Muhammad.

“We have to be vigilant as followers of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan reminding the public Up With Jesus! Let’s remind them of the injustice.”

According to Nielsen, which provides analytical data about the habits of consumers, there was no significant drop-off in Black buying power in 2020 which it estimates was at $1.57 trillion. There was “an overall increase in buying” however the new Nielsen report also found this year has prompted Black consumers to buy Black.

While the Covid-19 pandemic hit Black businesses particularly hard, a joint survey released earlier this year by Groupon and the National Black Chamber of Commerce found nearly 80 percent of Black business owners say their businesses are better off than last year but that nearly three of four Black business owners say investment in Black-owned businesses still trails White-owned businesses.

The wealth coach Deborah Owens takes it to another level. “We have to save ourselves” by marshaling our economic dollars, she told The Final Call.

“Christmas, I think it’s an opportunity to give the gift that keeps on giving. And that is education, a way to expose kids to investing, understanding how to build wealth. It is inherited knowledge, meaning someone has to pass it on to you to acquire it. Formal education does not teach it,” she said.

“I think that the greatest wealth of all, the most valuable asset of all, is the knowledge itself. We have been so focused on seeking acceptance and looking at politics as a way of garnering that acceptance. If you look at other cultures, you will see that a great deal of emphasis is placed on providing that financial and economic insight,” she added.

For Ms. Owens, the “Up with Jesus, Down With Santa” campaign represents and is an opportunity for Black folks to learn to channel buying power and convert it into economic power as a means of spreading real pain against people in power who are against the rise and success of Black people. “This is the point I want to make. The most important asset to acquire is the knowledge of how to build wealth,” added Ms. Owens.

“Whenever Allah’s (God’s) servant makes a call and gives guidance, it goes deep into the hearts and minds of our people. They make adjustments, they make corrections,” observed Student Min. Muhammad, referring to the guidance and wisdom of Min. Farrakhan. He believes Blacks are becoming more conscious about who they’re spending their money with now. “So, instead of spending it in the White community, they’re looking for a Black business,” he said. (Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

Unyoked from a colonial master, Barbados faces the challenges, opportunities of full governance

By Brian E. Muhammad, Staff Writer
- December 7, 2021

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS - NOVEMBER 29: Barbados President-elect, Dame Sandra Mason arrives at the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony at Heroes Square on November 29, 2021 in Bridgetown, Barbados. The Prince of Wales arrived in the country ahead of its transition to a republic within the Commonwealth. This week, it formally removes Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and the current governor-general, Dame Sandra Mason, will be sworn in as president. (Photo by Toby Melville - Pool/Getty Images)

The last vestige of British colonialism has been removed from the Caribbean island of Barbados. The former slave colony which initially gained independence in 1966 unyoked itself as a bastion of British imperialism and chose a full and complete freedom.

Before Caribbean heads of states, officials, England’s Prince Charles, and the Barbadian people, Barbados became the world’s newest republic.

Dame Sandra Mason, 72, was sworn in as its first president after being voted in by Parliament in October. Previously, Ms. Mason was Governor General, the surrogate of Queen Elizabeth II, whom she replaces as head of state.

For many the move to become a republic was long overdue.

“We should’ve gone straight to republic, instead of independence,” said Sam Clarke, former chairman of A Better Life For Our People, a Barbadian Diaspora organization, based in New York.

Mr. Clarke said he didn’t subscribe to “worshipping the queen” and the monarchy system. Europe had a common arrangement with its colonies upon “independence” of holding influence. In the Caribbean, it is seen in the systems of governance, jurisprudence, and education.

Forming a republic has long been debated in Barbados. A 1970s commission concluded the idea lacked public support. In 1998 another commission recommended Barbados become a parliamentary republic. In 2005, legislation was passed to hold a referendum, which never happened. Until now successive governments promised but failed to achieve the goal.

With the election of President Mason coupled with Prime Minister Mia Motely, two women now lead the small nation of 287,025 people. The presidential post is largely ceremonial with limited constitutional powers. The prime minister is the governmental authority.

“We the people must give the Republic of Barbados its spirit and its substance,” said President Mason. “We must shape its future. We are each other’s and our nation’s keepers. We the people are Barbados,” she reassured.

With military grandeur, the Royal Standard flag of the queen that symbolized European domination was lowered. Exactly at midnight Dec. 1 on the 55th independence anniversary, Ms. Mason pledged her allegiance to Barbados, not to Britain and its queen. The flag of a free Barbados was hoisted high. An added caveat was singer and business magnate Rihanna was proclaimed a national hero—an important distinction.

Barbados’ new President Sandra Mason, center right, awards Prince Charles with the Order of Freedom of Barbados during the presidential inauguration ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados on Tuesday Nov. 30, 2021. Barbados stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday as it shed another vestige of its colonial past and became a republic for the first time in history.(AP Photo / David McD Crichlow)

Amidst the regalia of Barbadian cultural expressions, the birth of the Republic of Barbados came nearly 400 years after the British enslaved Africans and ruled the island as an English slavocracy. British territories were so vast, it was boasted that the sun never set on the British Empire. Today Britain and its ideological offspring of White world supremacy and descendants are in decline and a caricature of her former self.

“A proud nation has shed the shackles of being Britain’s first Black slave society, to become the first country in the Caribbean in this twenty-first century to declare that the time has come for full nationhood,” said Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor of The University of the West Indies, in a statement.
Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, left, and President of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason, right, honour Rihanna as a National Hero, during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, at Heroes Square, in Bridgetown, Barbados, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Barbados has stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II as it shed another vestige of its colonial past and became a republic for the first time in history. Several leaders, dignitaries and artists, including Prince Charles, attended a ceremony that began late Monday and stretched into Tuesday in a popular square where the statue of a well-known British lord was removed last year amid a worldwide push to erase symbols of oppression. (Jeff J Mitchell PA via AP)

“This move is going to have a very important impact on the Caribbean community,” said David Commissiong, Barbados Ambassador to CARICOM regional bloc of nations. Amb. Commissiong expects the “Barbados example” to cause a “domino effect” on eight remaining CARICOM member nations still tied to Britain.

The change is in line with other nations that severed ties with Britain: Mauritius (1992), Dominica (1978), Trinidad and Tobago (1976), and Guyana (1970). Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea are among nations that still regard the queen as their head of state. Barbados will remain part of the Commonwealth, an alliance of 54 former British colonies.

Charles, the Prince of Wales, represented his mother Queen Elizabeth II at the inauguration. He acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery,” which he said, “forever stains our history.”

Prince Charles said the transatlantic slave trade represented the “darkest days of our past,” and the “creation of this republic offers a new beginning.”

However, while the freedom trajectory of Barbados is celebrated and Prince Charles recognizes Britain’s history of bloodshed and subjugation of Black people, some are asking what about reparatory justice.

Barbados is in a key position to push the demand for reparations which is part of its national policy. Barbados also chairs the Prime Ministerial Subcommittee on Reparations at the regional bloc CARICOM. Analysts explained that being free of the British monarchy positions Barbados to eventually hold the royal family to account.

Some attribute the Black Lives Matter protests that engulfed several nations worldwide as an element of the change. But issues have been building up for 50-plus years since Caribbean nations declared independence from Britain, analysts explained. Although there is agreement for the transition to a republic there are serious challenges facing Barbados.

A serious challenge is redistribution of wealth to meet the needs of ordinary Barbadians. Big business has belonged to Whites since the years of slavocracy. Because of this and with pageantry marking the new day, some see it as still symbolic.

“It’s symbol without substance,” commented Abdul Rahman, business owner and Barbados Study Group Coordinator for the Nation of Islam.

“We have a beautiful flag … national anthem but at the end of the day, that independence declaration has not translated to true independence for the people,” he said.

Student Minister Rahman added the economic umbilical cord to Europe has not been severed.

Trevor Prescod, a Barbados member of Parliament, told The Final Call the move will not bring revolutionary change to the country. He sees it as part of a “continuum” of a long struggle since slavery.

Constitutional changes and economic challenges will have to be met, said Mr. Prescod. He expects serious external influences to meddle, like the United States, which has historically opposed self-determination in the Caribbean. Mr. Prescod predicted the United States would impose itself on the affairs of Barbados as she has done in Haiti, Cuba and opposing Grenada’s revolution.

Understanding the pattern, most people who govern Barbados feel gradualism is the best path for development, he said.