From The Final Call Newspaper

Finding ways to unite the Original Family

By Brian E. Muhammad, Staff Writer
- June 27, 2023

“O mankind, surely We have created you from a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other…”—Holy Qur’an 49:13

The state of Black and Asian relations was thrust into the spotlight of national discourse when 14-years-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton, a Black middle schooler in Columbia, South Carolina, was shot in his back and killed by Rick Chow, an Asian store owner after being falsely accused of shoplifting bottled water.

Local authorities said security cameras showed the teen placing the water back in the cooler before being chased by Mr. Chow, 58, and his son Andy Chow. Mr. Chow has been charged with murder and is in jail awaiting trial. At presstime, demands continue from the slain teen’s family and activists for the arrest and charge of the younger Chow, who remains free in the aftermath of the May shooting.

The killing raised the specter of hostilities involving Blacks and Asians. But considering the historical context of America, change agents said there is a broader question about where the tensions between U.S. Blacks and other ethnic groups are coming from, and the need to narrow the gap in relations.

Activists and advocates told The Final Call the root cause of dislike, misunderstanding, and even enmity is ignorance and the presence and ill effect of White supremacy on Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Indigenous communities. So, they don’t properly perceive one another, observers note.

“The first problem is that there’s internal disunity amongst each group because of the same causative agent being White supremacy and their indoctrination of us through their educational as well as religious systems,” said Abel Muhammad, a student minister and representative to the Latino community for the Nation of Islam.

He explained that indoctrination is based on colonialism and slavery, which also resulted in other barriers to unity like language, which he argues is a “hidden trick” whether it’s Spanish, English, French, or Portuguese, to limit the parameter of thinking among communities.

These internal dynamics of disunity are further exacerbated when the topic of uniting with other communities is broached. Some will argue “we don’t need unity with them” because of a misperception of self and others, not realizing a natural unity exists because of a common origin.

“But not knowing that,” explained Student Min. Abel Muhammad, who is of Mexican descent, “we fight one another.”

As a student minister in the Nation of Islam, he works to foster and build relationships with various communities through the guidance of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, and His National Representative, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

For the Nation of Islam, fostering understanding and uniting the Original family is a fundamental aim. The Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad are universal in scope for the whole of humanity. Minister Farrakhan has described the mission of his teacher as universal. Both men teach the Original family which includes the Black, Brown, Red, and Yellow people who must strive for unity beyond ethnicity, tribe, and nationality.

The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad demonstrated the most comprehensive and successful model of what unity looks like by fostering unity with the Indigenous people of the Americas; Asia; Africa, the Far East; and the Muslim World. Included in these moves was establishing a home in Mexico and relationships with governments in South America, said Student Minister Abel Muhammad.

Going back to the 1940s, Elijah Muhammad engaged in global issues, even being falsely accused of sedition and being a “Japanese sympathizer” because he preached against Blacks fighting in World War II. He was imprisoned under executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Following the path of his teacher, Minister Farrakhan has a long track record of advocating, working, and standing up for self-determination and unity between the members of the Original family.

Building bridges despite difficulty

In Chapter 28 of his instructive book, “The Fall of America,” the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said America fulfills a prophesy found in the Bible book of Habakkuk 2:12: “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!”

“America was founded and built with blood and established by iniquity. She killed the aboriginal inhabitants (Indians) to establish herself as an independent people at the great loss of lives of the original owners,” He wrote. “Her great progress has been made by the work of iniquity. She has robbed many people; and the blood of her slaves, the so-called Negroes, has stained the earth here and elsewhere, stained by her hands,” He continued.


Mr. Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan warned the proponents of iniquity that a prophesied time has arrived for all people to return to their own nation and people. This includes the awakening and gathering of God’s people who make up the Original family. Such efforts are in effect despite the obstacles to unity.

For solidarity to be achieved unhindered, the mischief-making disease of White supremacy must be dismantled. Unity will require hard work, straight talk and patience within the Original family, say advocates.

Amina Lei, a Chinese-American artist, educator and member of the Nation of Islam, has held forums to bring the Black, Brown, Red and Asian communities into a space to foster understanding and dialogue in Los Angeles. There has been a long history of solidarity between the groups going back to the 1960s on several fronts, although interfered with by the government of America.

“There are historical solidarity movements and there’s current solidarity movements,” Sister Amina told The Final Call. “Where I grew up … in the Bay Area there’s a rich history of Asian activism in the civil rights movements,” she added. She grew up in San Francisco’s China Town in California’s Bay area where Asian activists struggled alongside Black Panthers and Black activists during turbulent times in America.

“There’s a Chinese youth organization, for example, called the Red Guard, the IWK (I Wor Kuen), who had their own 10-point program that was inspired by the Black Panthers, who had their program inspired by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim Program,” she told The Final Call.

The Third World Liberation Front is an example of the Brown family working with Asian American activists and Black activists to fight for ethnic studies in the Bay Area. “We fought together,” said Sister Amina. “There’s great leaders today that are learning from our ancestors,” she added.

They are studying Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung, who supported the Black Power movement in America, Ho Chi Min, who studied under Marcus Garvey in Harlem, Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese activist and aide to Malcolm X, and Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese-American activist who worked with civil rights leaders.

Learning about earlier struggles is paramount, agreed Student Minister Abel Muhammad. This is because the current generation is widely detached from knowing past revolutionaries who fought for freedom, justice and equality, especially if they were born in America, he pointed out.

“If they don’t know those who fought before, then there is a disconnect … a potential for mistakes and errors … because you have not studied those who already laid a base for us,” he said.

For Latinos he lifts the names of land rights leader Reies Lopez Tijerina, who was an ally of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad from Mexico; Jose Marti, a Cuban writer and early leader of the Cuban Revolution who inspired Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; and Pedro Albizu Campos, leader in the Puerto Rican independence struggles in the 20th century.

The struggle for mutual understanding

Racism is woven into the fabric of America from its inception.

“(At) what point do you not stop and say that we have—beyond a chronic problem—with recognizing the humanity of Black people if you’re non-African people, but get to a point where you realistically deal with the situation in its systemic nature, as saying that racism has not abated in this society?” said Dr. Harry Singleton, professor of African American Studies and Religious Studies at the University of South Carolina.

“It causes not only Whites, but non-Africans to view people of African descent in jaundiced ways,” he added.

Part of the difficulty factor to unity is the different experiences among the Original family, so there has to be a point of understanding each other’s pain and struggle.

Black Panther party

“We’re listening to our enemy through their media and through a whitewashed education,” said Sister Amina.

“So, I would like a space for us to actually come to the table and talk,” she said. “The point is for us to take away the hidden hand, acknowledge there’s been a hidden hand for a long time, in so many ways, and (for) the Original family to come together,” she explained.

Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, the Western Regional representative of the Nation of Islam, has engaged in peace efforts among street organizations and meetings among the Asian community. For him, the tensions within the Original family pose an opportune time to make inroads and learn about one another.

“The Minister (Farrakhan) said ‘Brother, don’t you ever get into generalities’ of thinking all Asians hate Black people … that’s mathematically impossible, just like it’s mathematically impossible for all Blacks to hate Asians,” said Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad. “We got a communication problem … a perception problem,” he explained.

Talking and asking questions about the perception some Asians have of Black people will reveal the role of negative media images exported to Asia and other places. When an understanding of what is at the root of the misperceptions, solutions, and progress in relations can be achieved.

“In L.A. right now we’re setting up trade agreements with China Town, Korea Town, with Little Tokyo,” said Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad. He stated that Minister Farrakhan told him don’t condemn a dirty glass, but place a clean glass next to it and build bridges.

When 10 people were shot to death and 10 others injured celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year early this year, at a Monterey Park dance hall outside of Los Angeles, he showed up and offered condolences. “I showed up just like I do in the hood, and we came and paid our respects (and) opened the hearts of the Asian community,” he said.

The act of kindness opened the door to sitting down and sharing each other’s fears and concerns. In tragedy, it’s a time for justice and healing, he explained. “Let’s sit down; I’d rather unite with the Original families of the Earth to heal each other … and stand in unity against White supremacy.”

The student minister has staged peace rides for 14 years where at the end of every month bikers and low riders gather to promote peace among gangs to curb violence. The Asian community has joined in as another example of how barriers are being slowly broken.

“Now we’re getting to know each other, and I give them the Qur’anic verses that the Minister gave me. Because he said that isn’t just for Muslims,” he said. “Allah (God) says in the Qur’an that he made us into tribes and families, that we may know one another. So, if I know you, I can’t despise you, and if you know me you can’t despise me,” he continued.

“Then in Surah (Chapter) three, Allah says ‘when you were on the brink of a pit of fire, that’s when I united your hearts.’ So sometimes, in the height of wanting to hurt, that’s when we want to unite. So, let’s find a way to unite.”

From The Final Call Newspaper

A country tearing apart at the seams Trump indictment further exposes America’s unraveling

By FCN News Post
- June 20, 2023

Doral, FL - June 12 : Supporters and protestors clash after a motorcade carrying former President Donald Trump arrived at his Trump National Doral resort on Monday, June 12, 2023, in Doral, FL. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The latest round of controversy surrounding former U.S. President Donald Trump and the ongoing fallout continues, revealing the deep divide permeating the country. Facing a 37-count criminal indictment regarding the mishandling of classified documents, Mr. Trump turned himself over to federal authorities in Florida, June 13, where he was arrested, booked, and arraigned on federal charges.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged Mr. Trump caused scores of boxes, containing classified documents, to be moved to The Mar-a-Lago Club, in Palm Beach where he also lives.

While pleading not guilty to 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information and not guilty to one count each of false statements and representations; conspiracy to obstruct justice; withholding a document or record; corruptly concealing a document;

Concealing a document in a federal investigation, and one count of engaging in a scheme to conceal, both supporters and opponents of the former president rallied outside of the United States District Court’s Southern District of Florida in Miami, as local law enforcement worked to keep the two groups separated and to protect the courthouse.

Domenic Santana stands outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse, Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Miami. Former President Donald Trump is making a federal court appearance today on dozens of felony charges accusing him of illegally hoarding classified documents and thwarting the Justice Department’s efforts to get the records back.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Dr. Stephanie Williams, a political scientist and higher education policy analyst at the University of South Florida, told The Final Call that America is facing an unprecedented set of realities not seen for generations. For significant numbers of citizens to rally behind a former president, impeached twice in office and charged twice for criminal offenses out of office, speaks volumes to the levels of intense dissatisfaction inside the country, she explained.

“What I think is probably going to happen is an increasing backlash on criminal rights laws, and we’ve seen these Republican super-majorities in statehouses go absolutely wild on a lot of social issues, and I wonder if next year they’ll come back and talk about even more regressive laws regarding criminal laws as an effort to say that this is retribution against the Democrats for what they did to Donald Trump,” Dr. Williams said.

Explaining how Left vs. Right politics has its greatest impact on the state and local levels, Dr. Williams noted that the country’s divisions are ripe for exploitation during next year’s election season and that “law and order,” often at the expense of Black people, is a common “go to” refrain during high stakes elections.

According to Dr. Williams, within a party where Mr. Trump remains frontrunner and as a play to White nationalism, Republicans such as Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, who has also announced his own run for the presidency, is seeking to garner votes by inflaming social tensions through the banning of curriculum and books related to the enslavement and genocide of Black and Indigenous people.

“With Trump in place, there is no way that there’s going to be any sense of punishment, any way to correct policies, or any way to rein him in,” Dr. Williams said of what she believes is an unlikely, but nevertheless, possible Trump victory in 2024. “If Biden wins, then that probably means there could be a lot more local level wins, and we can start to turn around some of the policies that were put in place in a Trump and post-Trump era in some of the states.”

People rally outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse, Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Miami. As Trump becomes the first former president to face federal charges that could put him in jail, many Europeans are watching the case closely. But hardly a single world leader has said a word recently about the man leading the race for the Republican party nomination.. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Adding that the Midwest may likely pick up more seats in the Congress, Dr Williams said she is not as optimistic for the Southern states. “I think in the South, because of the way some of the voter suppression laws have been put in place in this last election, since they saw they were beaten in 2022, it went further and some of those local elections may be more difficult, and I think it is important for Blacks to focus a lot more on those local races.”

Political science professor, Dr. Eric L. McDaniel, co-director of the Politics of Race and Ethnicity lab at the University of Texas, told The Final Call that the implications of Mr. Trump’s indictment, arrest, and arraignment is uncharted territory on America’s political landscape and that a conviction could lead to dire consequences if not handled thoughtfully and with caution.

“A lot of individuals will believe he’s a political prisoner and this is all about politics, he did nothing wrong, (or) they may say, yes, he did something wrong, but the nation is a mess and that’s why he had to do it,” Prof. McDaniel said of divisions not seen in the country since the end of the Nixon Administration and the closing days of the Vietnam War.

“This will tamp up rhetoric, specifically rhetoric amongst Trump supporters, and I would say to the White nationalists that are in his camp, that there are forces actively working against them and this will increase a sense of paranoia most likely which could lead to a variety of uncivil actions. I’m not saying that we should expect more violence, but I would not be surprised if there was,” Dr. McDaniel explained.

The back-and-forth continues with most Republicans sticking by Trump and arguing that his political rivals are targeting him strictly because of politics. A June CBS News Poll of GOP voters revealed “Republican primary voters said they’re far more concerned that Mr. Trump’s most recent indictment is politically motivated than his alleged conduct being a national security risk—and there’s no evidence it’s hurt his status as the clear front-runner for the 2024 nomination, at least not yet.”

Boxes of top secret documents in a storage room in Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home

He remains well ahead of rivals in both consideration and vote choice, the poll noted. Conducted June 9-10, the poll indicated that 76 percent of those asked said the indictment was politically motivated compared with only 12 percent who said the taking of the documents was a national security risk. In the same poll, 61 percent of participants said the indictment would not change their views of Mr. Trump. And, 80 percent said even if he is convicted over the classified documents case, he should still be able to be president.

In another ABC News/Ipsos poll also conducted June 9-10, of 910 adults who were a mix of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, the results were split along political lines with 91 percent of Democrats saying the charges against Mr. Trump were “serious” compared to 63 percent of Independents and only 38 percent of Republicans.

Early Republican primary polling shows Mr. Trump with a sizable lead of Mr. DeSantis. The other Republican candidates are even further behind.

Regarding the unprecedented arrest over a former sitting president, and its implications on the international stage during a major war in Eastern Europe, and the commitment of more U.S. tax dollars to support Ukraine, Prof. McDaniel said Russian involvement in past U.S. elections and the rapid rise of social and alternative media may sew additional discord inside the country as unhappiness with American foreign policy increases on the outside.

“This is kind of a Cold War being played out all over again, where nations that are desperate are taking sides,” Prof. McDaniel explained. “Furthermore, the U.S. involvement in these nations during the Cold War has put a bad taste in people’s mouths when it comes to dealing with Americans, so when Russia or China comes along willing to bail them out, they are more open to them,” he said about BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and the current global political and economic realignment taking place.

“What this means for Americans in general is I think the price of certain things will continue to go up,” Dr. McDaniel said. “People who make a good amount of money, the prices go up, it won’t affect them that much. But those making it check-to-check, this could be very important, so when gas goes up, then they drive less, (but) the problem is if you have to drive to your job every day, there’s no driving less,” he said.

These are the day-to-day bread-and-butter issues adversely affecting the poor, the working-class, and an increasingly shrinking middle-class within what has become confusion among people both at home and abroad, he said.

The angry world

The Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, described the strife, division, and hostility of a world in which the Black man and woman of America must navigate. He also said that it is time for Black people to rise above their collective condition as a nation and claim their own place as an upright and dignified people.

“The Holy Qur’an teaches us to ‘fear a day where evil is spreading far and wide,’” He wrote in His book, “Our Saviour Has Arrived,” published in 1974. “The resurrection of the mentally dead Black People brings about the anger of those (White man) who put the Black Man to mental death. Both people are angry; the Black slave and the slavemaster. The lack of justice to the Black slave is the cause of this anger,” He described, which is the time now being witnessed in America and the world.

“The Black man is the true owner of the earth,” He insisted on page 200. “Now the God of Justice Has Risen up to Deliver the rule back to the Black Man and give him a place in the sun that justifies his ownership.” But according to the Messenger’s Teachings, while the Black man and woman of America continue to lag, it is only in unity and love of self that the keys to success and liberation may be found. Self-hatred and fear only serve to destroy real progress.

In his keynote address at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., September 21, 2008, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s National Representative, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, described how ego and vanity undermines good leadership and that to be a true leader one must first become a good servant of the people.

“The Qur’an says, ‘Do no favor seeking gain,’” Minister Farrakhan said. “Don’t do good looking for some good reward, because then your motive is tainted, and The Spirit of God cannot be with what you’re doing!” The Minister continued, “Satan only comes in on a promise God made to you not yet fulfilled; or, a desire that you have that he can grant you on condition that you bow down to him,” he said in part.

“How many of us have the strength to tell Satan, ‘Get behind me!’ If you want what God is going to give you, you don’t care anything about what man can offer you!” (Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

Devoted Black mother of four shot and killed by White woman in Florida

By William P. Muhammad
- June 13, 2023

A protester, holds a poster of Ajike Owens at the Marion County Courthouse, Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Ocala, demanding the arrest of a woman who shot and killed Owens, a 35-year-old mother of four, last Friday night, June 2. Authorities came under intense pressure Tuesday to bring charges against a white woman who killed Owens, a Black neighbor, on her front doorstep, as they navigated Florida’s divisive stand your ground law that provides considerable leeway to the suspect in making a claim of self defense. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Instead of looking forward to the summer and fun activities, the family of a young, Black mother instead laid her to rest at a funeral and homegoing service at Meadowbrook Church in Ocala, Florida, on June 12. Heartbreak, tragedy, and anger are again shrouding the “Sunshine State”

after the shooting death of 35-year-old Ajike “AJ” Owens, a mother of four from Ocala, after confronting a White female neighbor for making racist slurs and threats against her young children as they played outdoors June 2. Reverend Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy.

Attorney Ben Crump embracing Pamela Dias, the mother of the Florida neighbor shooting victim Ajike Owens, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, at a news conference in Ocala Fla. Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, who is accused of fatally shooting Owens last week in the violent culmination of what the sheriff described as a 2 and a half year feud was arrested Tuesday, June 6, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. (AP Photo/Curt Anderson)

“The world needs to know that we shouldn’t be at a funeral this morning. They want to bury what happened to AJ; we are not going to let you bury her. We are not going to be quiet about it!” Rev. Sharpton said during his remarks. He told Ms. Owens’s children to remember that their mother stood up for them. “I want you to be everything that she wanted you to be,” Rev. Sharpton said. “When they shot at AJ, they were shooting at all our mothers, and we can’t let that go.”

During the service, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said that Ms. Owens’ death is one of many Black deaths that should not be forgotten. He mentioned Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor and Botham Jean to name a few. “Justice for AJ!” he said to the audience.

Pamela Dias, the mother of Ms. Owens, stood before the church and said, “We were mere guardians placed over her life. But ultimately, she belonged to God. We were truly blessed to love Ajike. … Many have said, ‘Wow, you are so strong. How do you do it?’ It is simply by the grace of God.”

She continued, “My deepest and greatest fear is that they’ll lose their faith and trust in God. My plea to everyone in the sanctuary and across the nation (is), please don’t let our baby girl’s death go in vain. A change must come.” Ms. Owen’s 12-year-old son, Isaac Williams, stood on the podium and thanked his family and supporters. Her other children are Israel Owens, Afrika Williams and Titus Owens.

Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, the alleged shooter of Ms. Owens was arrested four days after the June 2 incident after investigators said the “Stand-Your-Ground Law” did not apply because she fired a weapon through her locked front door as the victim repeatedly knocked. According to various reports, since 2021, Ms. Lorincz and Ms. Owens had contacted authorities at least six to eight times, in a series of ongoing disputes.

Although Ms. Lorincz claimed she was acting in self-defense, authorities arrested her on June 6. She is facing manslaughter with a firearm and additional charges of culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault, according to several media outlets. Ms. Lorincz, who made an initial court appearance via video call June 8, faces a maximum of 30 years behind bars. Her bond was set at $154,000 June 9, but has not been released on bail as of Final Call press time.

Melba Pearson, a criminal law and civil rights attorney, told The Final Call that she has been following the case since it went public and said she agreed that the nature of the shooting does not allow for Florida’s stand-your-ground, and said the manslaughter charge against Lorincz is insufficient.

“First, stand-your-ground does not apply here,” Atty. Pearson said. “The evidence does not show that the victim, AJ Owens, was presenting any level of force, much less deadly force. Also, it is hard for the defendant to claim she was in fear when she was in her home alone—AJ Owens was not trying to break in. The fact she shot through her own front door is critical,” Ms. Pearson said in a written statement to The Final Call. “This should be a first- or second-degree murder charge, not manslaughter, which is basically accidental.”

Insisting that a reasonable person could conclude that the defendant lured Ms. Owens to her home for a confrontation, Atty. Pearson said hurling a racist assault at both the shooting victim and her children are not insignificant.

“The hate aspect is important—by hurling racial slurs, she laid her mindset bare,” Atty. Pearson noted. “She has had the police come to her home multiple times due to her aggressive and racist behavior. It is my hope that a hate crime enhancement would be added to the charges as well,” the former prosecutor said.

Renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump has been retained by the family of AJ Owens.

According to Associated Press, Ms. Lorincz admitted to detectives that she called the children “the n-word.” One child told deputies that the night of the shooting, Lorincz “came out of her house and gave the children the middle finger” and also said this: “Get away from my house, you Black slave,” according to the arrest report, noted AP.

“On Friday, June 2, Owens’ children were playing in a field next to an Ocala apartment complex when an unidentified 58-year-old White woman reportedly began yelling at them to get off her land and calling them racial slurs. The children left but accidentally left an iPad behind, which the woman took,” stated Atty. Crump in a news release.

Ajike “AJ” Owens, mother who was shot and killed in Florida. Photo: MGN Online

“When one of the children went to her residence to retrieve it, she threw it, hitting the boy and cracking the screen. After AJ’s children informed her of what happened, she walked across the street with her kids to speak with the woman. She knocked on the door, and at that point, the woman allegedly shot through the door, hitting AJ, who later died from her injuries.”

An Owens’ family legal team member, Attorney Anthony Thomas, said at a news conference on June 7 that one of Ms. Owens’ children witnessed the shooting and reported that the unnamed child said: “My mom knocked on the door and then when Susan didn’t answer, he said that his mom said, ‘I know you can hear me’ and that is when he heard the shot and saw his mother fall,” the family’s attorney said.

The mother of AJ Owens, Ms. Pamela Dias, grandmother of the four children, said she was grateful an arrest was finally made but was equally saddened that it took four days to do so. She also said her grandson has been deeply affected by watching his mother being shot and that the nine-year-old blames himself for not being able to save her life.

“He said, ‘Grandma, my mom’s been shot! I tried to give her CPR,’” Ms. Dias said of the boy’s recollection of his mother’s death on a FOX 35 Orlando newscast. “He went to neighbors, ‘please call 911. Call 911, my mother’s been shot!’” said Ms. Dias.

On a Go Fund Me established by Ms. Dias, she described her daughter as having “a smile that would light up the room” and that she was known for how much she loved and lived for her four children. “To say she loved her children unconditionally is an understatement. She was a single mother whose life centered around her children. She was the Team Mom for her children’s football/cheerleading teams. She excelled professionally as a manager in the Restaurant/Hospitality industry.

She was a devoted Christian who believed in bringing her kids up in a supportive Christian environment. After being a devoted mother, she was a devoted friend that took friendships to heart. There wasn’t anything that she wouldn’t do for those near and dear to her heart. She often would give to other single mothers that were in similar situations that she’d been in,” the Go Fund Me stated.

Although the killing of Ajike AJ Owens by her neighbor took place in Central Florida’s Marion County, Ed Haynes, a former police officer and police training instructor with the Southeast Florida Institute of Criminal Justice—the police academy for Miami-Dade County— told The Final Call that America’s current social and political climate, particularly in Florida, has contributed to a toxic brew of stress and frustration that is now boiling over in nearly every municipality across the country.

“No, I think that it’s not overexaggerated. I think that because of a multiple array of reasons, that everyone is pretty much uptight and living on edge right now because of the uncertainty of the financial situation, in terms of commerce, and also just simply because of some of the climate is very charged when it comes to racism. It’s a very charged environment right now, especially in Florida,” Mr. Haynes explained. “My words of caution are to do your research, do your own research, and make sure that you understand the totality of the situations that we face on a day-to-day basis.”

State Attorney William Gladson, left, speaks to a group of protesters and the media outside his office at the Marion County Courthouse, Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Ocala, as protesters demand the arrest of a woman who shot and killed Ajike Owens, a 35-year-old mother of four, last Friday night, June 2. Authorities came under intense pressure Tuesday to bring charges against a white woman who killed Owens, a Black neighbor, on her front doorstep, as they navigated Florida’s divisive stand your ground law that provides considerable leeway to the suspect in making a claim of self defense. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Ocala is a city situated in Marion County located in the northern region of Florida and about an hour and 20 minutes from Orlando. According to, the population of Ocala is a little over 65,000 with Whites making up 72.93 percent and Blacks 18.63 percent.

Less than a month before the fatal shooting of AJ Owens, the NAACP issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida in response to what the organization called, a “direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis’ aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.” The May 20 advisory charges that the state “has become hostile to Black Americans” under the current governor and state legislator.

However, this latest incident is not the first high-profile case that brought Florida’s controversial stand-your-ground law to national prominence. The most infamous being the 2012 death of Black teenager Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, a White Latino, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter after killing the unarmed young man. His death sparked nationwide protests.

Adding that narrow political interests were responsible for crafting the “stand your ground law” in Florida, Mr. Haynes added that its ambiguity and subjective enforcement is the basis for an interpretation that in many cases leads to tragedy and bloodshed. “The ability to interpret it was left so open-ended that it allowed for what we see today,” he said.

The Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, explained in His 1974 book, “Our Saviour Has Arrived,” that the nature of White America’s fear and hatred toward Black people’s rise from ignominy, demonstrates how such fear and hatred lends to anti-Black racism and malicious acts of violence.

In the competition for dwindling resources and opportunities once reserved for Whites only, Messenger Muhammad described how the descendants of America’s once enslaved Black people are now awakening to demand freedom, justice, and equality, adding friction to an environment already heated from miseducation, injustice, and oppression. “The Holy Qur’an teaches us to ‘fear a day where evil is spreading far and wide,’” He wrote of the hostile climate in which Black people must endure daily.

“The resurrection of the mentally dead Black People brings about the anger of those (White man) who put the Black man to mental death,” Mr. Muhammad wrote on page 200 of His book. “Both people are angry; the Black slave and the slavemaster. The lack of justice to the Black slave is the cause of this anger.”

Protesters gather in the lobby of the Marion County Courthouse, Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Ocala, demanding the arrest of a woman who shot and killed Ajike Owens, a 35-year-old mother of four, last Friday night, June 2. Authorities came under intense pressure Tuesday to bring charges against a white woman who killed Owens, a Black neighbor, on her front doorstep, as they navigated Florida’s divisive stand your ground law that provides considerable leeway to the suspect in making a claim of self defense. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Student Minister Patrick Muhammad, representative of the Nation of Islam’s 7th Region headquarters, under the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and Muhammad Mosque No. 29 in Miami, told The Final Call that “The Days of Allah (God)” is a time where good and evil cannot coincide and that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

He shared that Minister Farrakhan told the entire world that God was using the former president, Donald Trump, to peel back the onion of White civility. White people are getting angrier and angrier every day and now naked hatred, not only in word but in deed, is being openly shown to Black people, Minister Farrakhan shared during a May 9, 2017 interview conducted on WVON 1690AM Talk of Chicago radio with host Cliff Kelley.

Student Minister Patrick Muhammad said those actions provided tacit approval for anti-Black racists to move on Black people less subtly if not overtly.

“The mindset we’re dealing with, and we can see that with this White woman, there has been a pattern,” Student Minister Muhammad said. “So, what we’re seeing here with this gun law, the governor here, Mr. DeSantis, there is actually a boiling effect that is taking place among us as a people, and among that mindset among those (disliking) Black people. This is to me what we’re witnessing, a time bomb that is ready to explode further,” he said.

Regarding “the best and only answer” to this conflict of racist violence, and other harms implemented from the highest levels of society, Student Minister Muhammad added that unity and self-improvement among Black and oppressed people are among the keys to escaping the dark days ahead and the chastisement of a grievous day.

“It is a blessing that we are working with a lot of our brothers and sisters in the community, different organizations, pastors, and what we are relating to them is the case for separation. This is just the proof, again, of the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, under the divine leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and that separation first begins in our mindset from this wicked world,” he said. See Point No. 4 of “What the Muslims Want” on the inside back page of every Final Call Newspaper. Final Call staff contributed to this report.

From The Final Call Newspaper

Hip Hop: Five Decades of innovation, influence and impact

By Charlene Muhammad, National Correspondent
- June 6, 2023

From Bronx block parties to global domination, hip hop’s influence has endured for half a century. In 2023, the world celebrates a genre that has not only shaped music but also impacted fashion, art, and social activism.

Fifty years ago, in the vibrant neighborhoods of the Bronx, New York, a cultural revolution was born. It grew to include the “five elements of hip hop,” emceeing (rapping), deejaying, break dancing, graffiti and beatboxing. It has evolved into a global phenomenon that has transcended racial, geographical, and language boundaries. Celebrations are in the works nationally and internationally.

Rap artist Sister Souljah speaks at a conference in New York City on June 16, 1992. Souljah made claims that U.S. Presidential candidate Bill Clinton wasn’t in touch with the problems of Black-America. Hip-hop star Doug E. Fresh is in the background. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“The detractors have been proven very wrong. Hip hop at its genesis was, in my opinion, a God-inspired phenomenon,” stated Student Minister Dr. Wesley Muhammad, an author, researcher and Ph.D. in Islamic Studies. He is also a member of the Nation of Islam.

Student Minister Muhammad thinks that hip hop’s turning 50 has unfortunately morphed from what began as a God-inspired phenomenon into one that is fake and controlled. The reason is, the power of hip hop is so large in that it shapes thought and life so, it’s very important who is riding this black stallion, he pointed out. “We have to get God back in the saddle of hip hop,” he stated.

The birth of a movement

In the early 1970s, hip hop emerged from the streets, fueled by the creativity and resilience of marginalized Black and Brown communities. According to many hip hop historians, the origins are traceable to a back-to-school party in the rec room of a Bronx apartment building in 1973.

Pioneers like DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa laid the foundation, introducing innovative techniques like breakbeats and turntablism, or scratching—the manipulation of sounds and samples to create new beats.

The energy and spirit of hip hop resonated with a generation hungry for self-expression, and a movement was born. The founder of the Five Percenters (a.k.a. the Nation of Gods and Earths) was Clarence 13X Smith (a.k.a. Father Allah), a former member of the Nation of Islam’s Temple No. 7 and is credited with taking aspects of the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad known as the Supreme Wisdom, to young people in New York. For many, during the late 1980s and mid-1990s, their first exposure to the voice of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was hearing his speeches mixed over beats, or perhaps a reference in a rap song.

There isn’t another phenomenon that has shaped culture and society over the past five decades, on a global level to the extent that hip hop is, noted Student Minister Muhammad.

Flavor Flav, left, and Chuck D. of the rap group Public Enemy, pose for photographers upon their arrival for the MTV Music Awards at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Sept. 8, 1994. (AP Photo/Malcolm Clarke)

“That’s why you know it’s God-inspired. Only God can make another god, and hip hop as a phenomenon is a being of power and force, like no other, certainly no other cultural or even intellectual phenomenon,” he told The Final Call.

“Its reach, its impact, is not just on Blacks, but on Whites. Most consumers of hip hop music commercially are White. So its influence in shaping thought, shaping culture, and shaping behavior is tremendous and I believe unparalleled,” he added.

The Golden Era

The 1980s and ‘90s were known as the Golden Era and there was a rise of iconic artists such as Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, N.W.A, and A Tribe Called Quest, who pushed the boundaries of lyrical storytelling and musical production. Hip hop became a powerful medium for addressing social issues, shedding light on the realities of urban life, police brutality, and systemic injustice.

Albums like, “It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” by Public Enemy, “By All Means Necessary,” by Boogie Down Productions, “Illmatic,” by Nas, “The Chronic,” by Dr. Dre, “Ready to Die” by Notorious B.I.G. and many more became timeless classics. And though there were few in the beginning, women began taking their place and making their mark in the rap game, including MC Sha-Rock, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte, Salt-N- Pepa and Queen Latifah,just to name a few.

The genre’s influence began to reach far beyond the streets of New York.

Rap artist/actor Ice Cube poses for a portrait in this Sept. 5, 2002, file photo taken in Los Angeles. Nine months after the Academy Award acting wins by Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, 2002 has turned out to be a good year for African-American actors and black themes in an industry perpetually rebuked for its lack of racial diversity. He scored with “Barbershop,” and had two other films, “All About the Benjamins” and “Friday After Next,” the third in his series of “Friday” comedies. All three movies were developed through Ice Cube’s production company, which the rapper-turned-actor started to broaden his roles.(AP Photo/Reed Saxon,file)

“Hip hop has always been there for me as a genre,” said Big Boy (Kurt Alexander) of the nationally syndicated podcast “Big Boy’s Neighborhood.”

“I was there when it was a ‘fad,’ ‘what is that you’re listening to,’ ‘it’s never gonna last,’” he said. He even tried to rap, to the point he received detention and almost got suspended for participating in cyphers and rapping, Big Boy told The Final Call. He even remembers what the audience used to look like, and that wasn’t a time when every radio outlet was playing some type of hip hop, as today, he said.

“If you were lucky, you got a mixture or something on the weekend … not stations dedicated to it. It was categorized,” stated Big Boy.

Seeing where the culture came from to where it is now, including concerts comprised of all Black and Brown people, to Beyonce and Jay Z at the Hollywood Bowl shows a striking change, he said. “That’s because of the way the crowd looks now, how it’s accepted. But hip hop has always been with me since my early days,” he shared.

Hip hop is a long way from the days he and his friend, Trevor, would walk to the Boys and Girls Club in Santa Monica, rapping “Rappers’ Delight,” Whodini and LL Cool J. “Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Special Ed, everyone had their own sound and it resonated across the world. Everybody stood out and there were no sloppy carbon copies,” said Big Boy.

It was a texture of something unknown to the masses, but Black youth knew how big it was and what it meant to them, Big Boy reflected. “We knew what it felt like. There was a time when you used to look hip hop. Where you wore a Kango (hat), Gazelles (eyeglasses), a break dance suit, Adidas, and someone could look at you and say, ‘They must listen to hip hop!’” said Big Boy.

“I love where it’s at, but I also loved when it was also like a private community too. I love sharing it, but I loved when it was our own.”

Evolving sounds, subgenres and going mainstream

As the new millennium approached, hip hop’s influence exploded onto the global stage. Artists like Jay Z, Eminem, and Missy Elliott achieved commercial success while maintaining artistic integrity, bridging the gap between the underground and the mainstream. New digital technology and the rise of the internet allowed hip hop to reach audiences around the world, creating a truly global community of fans and artists.
DJ Kool Herc, the Jamaican-born DJ considered the father of hip-hop, shows off a photograph of himself in a magazine, next to JFK, Jr., recognizing the DJ as one of New York’s most influential people, during a Hip-Hop tour of New York, Saturday April 26, 2003. It was Herc, at parties in the early 1970s, who began playing the instrumental segments of songs over and over again while speaking in rhyme over them. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

As Nipsey Hussle rapped in “That’s How I Knew,” “It’s like a gold rush, it’s never been a time like this in our generation; It’s our equivalent of the Gold Rush with everybody movin’ to California; This technology has empowered everybody; And it’s giving people, you know, it’s as big as you wanna make it and, you know, it’s as far as you take it …”

Hip hop is now a multi-billion-dollar industry. According to, back in 2006, ABC News did a special report and announced that the hip hop industry was worth more than $10 billion a year. “By the time 2016 rolled around, the market grew to $15.7 billion. Year over year, the industry is projected to grow at a rate of $4.08 billion,” the website noted.

The 50-year journey has been marked by constant evolution and innovation. From the soulful beats of the ‘70s to the trap-infused anthems of the present day, the genre has continuously reinvented itself while struggling to stay true to its roots.

Subgenres like gangster rap, conscious rap, and mumble rap have emerged, reflecting the diverse voices and experiences within the hip hop community. Artists like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are pushing the boundaries and redefining what it means to be a hip hop artist in the 21st century.

“I believe Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, are signs that you don’t have to be ratchet to be good as a rapper and you don’t have to be ratchet to be successful,” stated Student Minister Muhammad. He observed that “message rap,” is seemingly trying to have some success in the mainstream arena of hip hop. But the reality is there’s always been message rap, except it was confined to the margins, void of the production that major labels provided for mainstream, commercial hip hop, which itself had a message, but had the message of our enemy, he added.

Influence beyond music

Beyond beats and rhymes, hip hop has had a profound impact on various aspects of culture. Fashion trends influenced by hip hop icons like Run-D.M.C.’s Adidas tracksuits, the flamboyant style of Lil’ Kim, and the streetwear aesthetic of Kanye West have permeated mainstream fashion. Clothing brands such as Cross Colours, Karl Kani, Phat Farm and RocaWear and other “streetwear” lines grew out of the growing influence of the culture.

The culture has also impacted the big screen. Early films like, “Beat Street,” “Breakin’,”Krush Groove,” and many more introduced hip hop to the masses via Hollywood. Rap artists expanded their talents and skills to the acting arena including Ice-T, Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Tupac Shakur, Method Man, Ice Cube, Yasin Bey (aka Mos Def) and the list continues to grow.

Hip-hop artist Kurtis Blow stands in the Harlem neighborhood where he grew up in New York, Oct. 8, 2003. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)

Outkast’s Andre Benjamin, left, and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton pose in New York, Oct. 30, 2003. Outkast’s newest album, the double CD set “Speakerboxxx-The Love Below,” has sold more than 3 million copies since its September release, has spawned the nation’s top two singles (the No. 1 “Hey Ya!” from Andre and “I Like The Way You Move,” from counterpart Big Boi) and has netted the band six Grammy award nominations, including album of the year, where they are favored to win at the Feb. 8 ceremony in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)

Graffiti art, originally a form of self-expression in urban neighborhoods, has become a recognized art form, exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide. Moreover, hip hop has provided a platform for social activism, empowering marginalized voices and shedding light on social and political issues.

As hip hop celebrates its 50th birthday, historians, artists and fans are reflecting on the genre’s remarkable journey from its humble beginnings to its status as a global cultural force. Observers marvel as it continues to defy expectations, challenge stereotypes, and give a voice to those often unheard.

Author, hip hop historian and journalist Davey D and others involved with hip hop in the 70s didn’t think it was going to last, he recalled. “But we were all so young,” he told The Final Call.

In hindsight, considering the totality of Black cultural expression, hip hop turning 50 shouldn’t be a surprise, Davey D continued. He views the genre as a continuum of Black people’s accomplishments, just under a different name. “It’s an oral tradition. We’ve always had that in our community, whether it was rhyming, syncopated singing, the dozens, signifying, testifying, all those type of verbal word games. Some of them test your skills, how clever you were, or how seductive you could sound, all that has been here before hip hop showed up,” said Davey D.

In addition, Black people have always had dance and move their bodies which was stifled during their enslavement as a way to get them to conform, he observed. But in their full naturalness, Black people have always danced, he said.

“If you look at the whole of history, at least here in the states, Black expression starts off being demonized,” stated Davey D. From Jazz to Funk and Soul music, hip hop has been demonized and continues to be, so as aspects of hip hop are considered classics, in hindsight, we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s 50 years old, he stated.

“It’s probably going to go another 50 and then some, because Black expression doesn’t die. It just manifests itself with slightly different angles and sometimes a different name.”

This is the first in an occasional series of articles by The Final Call examining and highlighting the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. Final Call staff contributed to this report.

Grandmaster Flash gestures as he arrives at the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s first annual Action Awards benefit and dinner, Tuesday, Nov 18, 2003, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

R&B performer KRS-One reacts as he looks at his award during the Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Awards Friday, Aug. 6, 2004 in Miami Beach, Fla. KRS-One received the 2004 R&B Founders Award. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Members of the rap group Run-DMC pose at the second Annual MTV Video Music Awards, Sept. 13,1985. Left to right: DMC, Run, and Jam-Master Jay. (AP Photo/Mario Suriani)

Rapper Busta Rhymes, center, poses while arriving for the first UPN’s The Source Hip Hop Music Awards at the Pantages Theater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles Wednesday, Aug. 18, 1999. Lopes is co-hosting the show. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Hip Hop artist Rakim performs during the third annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors awards show Saturday, Oct. 7, 2006 in New York. Rakim was honored during the show which will air Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Rapper MC Lyte is photographed in New York, Oct. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)

Crazy Legs of the Rock Steady Crew arrives at the Illegal Tender premiere at the Chelsea West Cinema in New York, Monday, Aug. 20, 2007. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

**FILE** The family of rapper Notorious B.I.G., shown clutching his awards at the Billboard Music Awards in New York, on Dec. 6, 1995, has asked a Los Angeles judge for permission to expand their wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. Notorious B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace, was fatally shot in 1997 in a sport utility vehicle shortly after a party in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Rapper Tupac Shakur, right, speaks as fellow rap artist Snoop Doggy Dogg listens during a voter registration rally in South Central Los Angeles on August 15, 1996. Late Saturday night, September 7, 1996, Shakur and Death Row Records chairman Marion “Suge” Knight were shot in their car as they drove through the Las Vegas Strip area. (AP Photo/Frank Wiese)

The rap group Salt-N-Pepa joins arms as they march with a young girl in a Stop the Violence march in the Brooklyn borough of New York Sunday, Aug. 17, 1997. Salt-N-Pepa, from left, Cheryl James (Salt), Sandra Denton (Pepa) and Deidra Roper (Spinderella) were honored guests at the event. (AP Photo/Doug Kanter)

The rap music group, “The Fat Boys,” get together with NBA basketball great Julius Dr. J. Erving, background, at news conference on Monday, April 7,1987 in New York, to promote his new video “Dr. J’s Basketball Stuff.” The group consists of , left to right, Mark Morales, Damon Wimbley and Darren Robinson. (AP Photo/Wilbur Funches)

Queen Latifah poses following an interview in New York Sept. 27, 1996. Despite her first major film role in “Set It Off” and the popularity of her TV sitcom “Living Single,” Latifah’s roots remain deeply embedded in the rap music that turned the former Dana Owens into The Queen. (Wyatt Counts via AP)

Breakdancers, April 1984, New York, Brooklyn. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Break dancers in competition perform on stage in front of a large crowd.

American hip hop musician and rapper Roxanne Shante, wearing an outfit by Dapper Dan, circa 1989. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)”n”n

LOS ANGELES – FEBRUARY 5: HIP HOP 50 performance at THE 65TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS, broadcasting live Sunday, February 5, 2023 (8:00-11:30 PM, LIVE ET/5:00-8:30 PM, LIVE PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

American Rapper Too Short (Also spelled Too $hort. Born Todd Anthony Shaw) poses for a portrait on August 19, 1998 in New York, New York. (Photo By Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

From The Final Call Newspaper

Tina Turner – A trailblazer and a life of resilience
By William P. Muhammad
- May 30, 2023

Remembering the iconic rock legend Tina Turner

Described as an unapologetically Black woman who overcame the indignities of rural poverty, the seduction of a meteoric rise to fame, and the scourge of domestic violence, the iconic Queen of Rock-and-Roll, Tina Turner, 83, made her transition from this life on May 24. Ms. Turner left to the world a legacy of personal transformation and redemption, after battling a long illness in Switzerland, her adopted country and home for nearly 30 years.

Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, to a sharecropping family in Brownsville, Tennessee, she was sent as a young child to Nutbush, Tennessee, upon the separation of her parents, where she was raised by her grandparents and it was there, she began singing in church as a teenager.

Moving to St. Louis years later, to become part of the local Rhythm and Blues community, it was there she met Ike Turner, and in 1956, under the stage name Tina Turner, she began touring the “Chitlin’ Circuit” as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue until their hit single, “A Fool in Love,” made the pop charts in 1960.

“When I started singing, Ike had mostly male singers and I wanted to sound like they sound,” Tina Turner said in a 1972 interview on The Dick Cavett Show. “I’ve been singing all of my life, but when I started singing with him, I wanted to sound like them and like Ray Charles and all,” she said of her early music role models such as Mr. Charles and Sam Cooke.

Marrying Ike Turner in 1962, their rise to national and international fame increased albeit in a toxic relationship secretly marred by extreme domestic violence and physical abuse, ultimately leading Ms. Turner to file for divorce in 1976, and made final in 1978. Commenting on her 1986 autobiography, “I, Tina (My Life Story)” and the 1993 biopic, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,”

Ms. Turner said on the Australian television program, “A Current Affair,” that although Ike exposed her to the entertainment industry, which helped develop her natural born gifts and talents, she also described how her ex-husband’s troubled past, and addictions made him into a violent man who was a danger to both him and to others.

“The book was written because I was having a problem with every interviewer talking about my past, and with Ike, and I felt that if I told the story of what my life was like there, people would understand why I left, and then they all went crazy to want to know how I stayed there,” Ms. Turner said of their tumultuous years together during the 1993 interview. “Ike was a violent man when I met him, with his ladies before, his women before, I knew that he was a violent person,” Ms. Turner said. “He was a brutal man; he had some problems from childhood, and it sort of reflected in his life.”

Ms. Turner sold more than 100 million records worldwide and was one of the best-selling female artists of all time and won 12 Grammy Awards.

Tributes to the life and legacy of Ms. Turner came in from around the world. “Tina Turner was raw. She was powerful. She was unstoppable. And she was unapologetically herself—speaking and singing her truth through joy and pain; triumph and tragedy. Today we join fans around the world in honoring the Queen of Rock and Roll, and a star whose light will never fade,” former U.S. President Barack Obama said on Twitter.

Angela Basset, who portrayed Ms. Turner in “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” shared her reflections on Instagram. “How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world?” Ms. Bassett shared.

“Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like,” her post continued.

“Her final words to me – for me – were ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.’ I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days.

I am honored to have known Tina Turner. I am humbled to have helped show her to the world. So on today, while we mourn the loss of this iconic voice and presence, she gave us more than we could have ever asked. She gave us her whole self. And Tina Turner is a gift that will always be ‘simply the best.’ Angels sing thee to thy rest…Queen.”

Defining an era in music

** ARCHIV ** Weltstar Tina Turner in Toronto am 24. Jan. 2005. Turner erhaelt ihre zweite Goldene Kamera. Wie die Axel Springer AG am Donnerstag, 27. Jan. 2005, in Berlin mitteilte, wird die seit Jahrzehnten im Musikgeschaeft erfolgreiche Saengerin am 9. Februar von der Fernsehzeitung “Hoer zu” mit der Goldenen Kamera in der Kategorie “Pop International” ausgezeichnet. (AP Photo/CP, Aaron Harris)

Defining an era in music

Dr. Daphne A. Brooks, professor of African American Studies and Music at Yale University and an author, told The Final Call that she views Tina Turner as an inventor of modern rock-and-roll vocals that have evolved into what is now known as modern pop vocals. Tina Turner’s major hits would grow from: “River Deep, Mountain High” and “Nutbush City Limits,” recorded in her early years with Ike, and solo albums later in her career such as 1984’s “Private Dancer,” which included her hit song “What’s Love Got to Do with It” and 1986’s “Break Every Rule.”

“She really was the bridge figure between the sound of the classic blues queens,” Dr. Brooks said. “Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, the early rock-and-roll pioneers, and R&B pioneers of the mid-1950s, folks like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Big Mama Thornton, and when I say bridge figure, she took all of that history and then translated it into the modern moment in which rock-and-roll itself was becoming further amplified and electrified,” she explained of Ms. Turner’s energy, stage presence, and talent.

“So, she cultivated and innovated a kind of vocalizing that could stand up to that heavy electric sound and hold its own,” Dr. Brooks said of Tina Turner’s unique contribution to the genre. “In terms of inventing and vocalizing, performers across the board, White men, Black men, Black women, who came after her, could tap into a Tina Turner who paved the way.”

Describing her as a musically revolutionary voice for her time, Dr. Brooks added that her unique voice and performances helped to create and define an era in American music that captivated audiences both nationally and internationally.

Tina Turner smiles during an appearance in Toronto Monday, January 24, 2005. A fit looking Turner brought her pipes and legs to the city on Monday, launching a week-long promotional blitz for a new compilation CD. (AP Photo/Aaron Harris)

“One of the things that is so compelling about her is that she really wanted to lean into rock-and-roll’s evolving sound, in the late ’60s and in the ’70s, as a way of laying claim to something that was revolutionary in her own spirit,” Dr. Brooks noted. “In that sense, she became a really distinctive Black woman’s voice. She added a Black woman’s perspective and embodied audacity to the sound of rock-and-roll, calling attention to the fact that African Americans were the architects of the genre itself.”

Regarding her film performances, Tina Turner’s appearances were as significant as they were few. In a 1986 broadcast with Italian interviewer Serena Dandini, Ms. Turner described herself as preferring dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction roles over the stereotypical roles traditionally offered to Black women in the 1960s and ’70s, while referring to her 1975 film debut.

“I think the very first was ‘Tommy,’ I played the part of Acid Queen and when I took the part, I didn’t know I was playing the part of a hooker,” Ms. Turner said, recalling her character in what was both a musical and a rock opera movie. “I took the part because I got the chance to be this mad woman and when they gave me the needle (in a drug scene), I said ‘ah, I’m providing drugs!’”

Ms. Turner said in the interview that after playing the Acid Queen in “Tommy,” roles offered to her were mostly those of prostitutes and that she refused to take them.

“I didn’t want it. I didn’t just want to be on the screen just for the sake of being up there. I wanted to do something that people would remember me for, something that I would enjoy and be proud of,” she said. “I look back at Acid Queen now and sort of flinch when I see her, how horrible it was, but still, people liked it and they remembered it.”

Stating that her favorite movie role was that of Aunty Entity in the 1985 film, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” Ms. Turner said her stereotype-breaking character fit her personality as a “warrior woman” and that she admired strong female characters in science fiction movies such as Sigourney Weaver’s character in the “Alien” franchise and the Sarah Conner character in the “Terminator” films. She also said she turned down the role of Celie in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “The Color Purple,” and said it reminded her too much of her past.

“I don’t want to sing in a movie. I’m singing. I have my own career as a singer,” Ms. Turner stated further. “I want to do something unusual. I don’t want to be involved with something as depressing as (The Color Purple), it reflects too much back on my life with my ex-husband,” she said. “I’m talking always with the press about my life, and I have to do a movie? I’m trying to forget the past, because it’s done, it’s over, I finished that part of my life. I’m not going to do a part that reminds me of what I’ve lived already.”

Referring to Tina Turner’s part in the post-apocalyptic “Beyond Thunderdome” movie with Mel Gibson, Dr. Brooks told The Final Call that her singing of the movie’s theme song matched the tensions and politics of the 1980s and the uncertainties of the latter days of the Cold War.

“In the version where Tina Turner appears, she is leading the disaffected masses, in the wake of apocalyptic disaster, and one of my favorite songs by her comes from her performance in that film, and it’s the theme song to that film: ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero,’” Dr. Brooks added.

“It’s worth remembering that that’s a song from 1985, so deep in the Reagan, Bush one era, here we have Tina Turner, the comeback global superstar, singing what is arguably her most important social justice song, about the importance of collectivity and assembly, and being able to come together in the face of authoritarianism.”

Regarding what Tina Turner’s life represented, beyond the fame and violence she had to overcome, Dr. Brooks agreed that parallels between her being trapped in an oppressive relationship and breaking free to find her own voice, and that of the Black American experience, is worth further examination. “We don’t do ourselves any good service on lingering on the horrors that Tina Turner faced, the best place to end up is luxuriating in the riveting art that she created for us and left behind,” she said.

—William P. Muhammad, Contributing Writer

Honoring the life of Jim Brown
By Charlene Muhammad, National Correspondent
- May 30, 2023

The passing of James Nathaniel Brown, known to the world as Jim Brown, has
left many saddened, but people finding comfort in his remarkable contributions
to humanity, including his athleticism, civil/human rights activism, films, and
peacekeeping discussed why he will always be remembered.

Former Cleveland Browns’ Jim Brown waves as he is introduced at
halftime during a Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors NBA
basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, in Cleveland.
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

With profound sadness, his wife, Monique Brown, announced his
passing on Instagram: “He passed peacefully last night at our
L.A. Home. To the world he was an activist, actor, and football star.
To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and
grandfather. Our hearts are broken… .” Mr. Brown passed away at
the age of 87 on May 18.

In the 1960s as a member of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad Ali
shared his reasons for refusing the draft during the Vietnam War
at a meeting of the Negro Industrial and Economic Union in
Cleveland on June 4, 1967. Jim Brown was among the professional
athletes (including Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Carl Stokes,
Walter Beach, Bobby Mitchell, Sid Williams, Curtis McClinton,
Willie Davis, Jim Shorter, and John Wooten) who stood with the
boxer who was outspoken on racism and issues that impacted Black

“My sincerest condolences to Monique and the entire Brown family.
I am here for you in friendship & forever,” tweeted Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
the NBA Hall of Famer. He posted that when he was 20, Mr. Brown invited
him to attend the Cleveland Summit, which was Mr. Abdul-Jabbar’s first
public support for Muhammad Ali. “Jim’s dedication to the fight for equal
rights was a lifelong effort and something that enabled me to maintain our
friendship for over 50 years. The world and I will miss him greatly,” read
his tweet.

Former Detroit Lions running back Barry Saunders posted, “You can’t
underestimate the impact #JimBrown had on the @NFL. He will be greatly
missed. Additionally, his generosity and friendship with my family is a gift
that we will always treasure. Our thoughts & prayers are with the Brown
Family & @Browns fans at this time.”

Mr. Brown, was a Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame running back and was
inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and named to the NFL’s
100th anniversary all-time team in 2019.

The NFL extended condolences to Monique Brown and their family
in a statement from Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Jim Brown was a
gifted athlete—one of the most dominant players to ever step on any
athletic field—but also a cultural figure who helped promote change.

During his nine-year NFL career, which coincided with the civil rights
movement here at home, he became a forerunner and role model for athletes
being involved in social initiatives outside the sport. He inspired fellow
athletes to make a difference, especially in the communities in which they
lived,” said Mr. Goodell.

“It’s impossible to describe the profound love and gratitude we feel for
having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim’s incredible life and l
egacy. We mourn his passing, but celebrate the indelible light he brought
to the world,” The Cleveland Browns said in a statement on Twitter.
“Jim Brown Forever,” tweeted the Cleveland Browns, who called him
a legend, leader, activist and visionary.

In this Sept. 27, 2014, file photo, Hall of Fame football player Jim
Brown meets with other participants of the Muhammad Ali
Humanitarian Award at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky.
A social activist most of his adult life, Brown has been encouraged to
see athletes make powerful societal statements and voice their opinions
in the wake of recent protests around the country.
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

“We lost a hero today. Rest in Paradise to the legend Jim Brown. I hope
every Black athlete takes the time to educate themselves about this
incredible man and what he did to change all of our lives. We all stand
on your shoulders Jim Brown,” said Lebron James of the L.A. Lakers
on Instagram on May 19.

“If you grew up in Northeast Ohio and were Black, Jim Brown was
a God. As a kid who loved football, I really just thought of him as the
greatest Cleveland Brown to ever play. Then I started my own journey
as a professional athlete and realized what he did socially was his true
greatness. When I choose to speak out, I always think about Jim Brown.
I can only speak because Jim broke down those walls for me,” the NBA
all-time leading scorer continued.

“I am so grateful that I was able to call you my friend. I hope I can
continue to honor your legacy with my words and actions. My prayers
to your family. I know they are all incredibly proud of everything you
did for our community! #LegendsNeverDie,” added Mr. James’ post.

Jim Brown with Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) at Sport Magazine
Top Performance Award on Jan. 19, 1966. (AP Photo)

Mr. Brown was a man who made his own decisions even if others did
not understand or agree with him and like all human beings, he was imperfect.
But his conflict resolution efforts, which he was fully committed to, saved
and impacted many lives.

Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, Western Region
Representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the
Nation of Islam, grew to know and love Mr. Brown through his
Amer-I-Can Life Skills Management Program, now being taught in
schools, jails, and prisons across the country.

“I learned a lot from Jim, in terms of how Jim related to the brothers and
sisters in the street, being that he’s the great, Jim Brown, legendary football
player and actor. Similar to Harry (Belafonte), he didn’t have that kind of chip
on his shoulder, thinking he was ever better than his people,” stated Student
Min. Muhammad.

According to Student Min. Muhammad, Mr. Brown’s interactions with gang
leaders and members left a lasting impact. By providing support and encouragement,
he empowered them to transition from a negative to a positive lifestyle. This
approach was incredibly influential and meaningful.

“That won me over! Because he had a powerful, powerful Amer-I-can program,
which actually became the catalyst and I would say the template for gang intervention
in Los Angeles, that started maybe a few years after Amer-I-Can,” explained
Student Min. Muhammad.

“He was like the go-to cat for all these brothers and sisters in the streets. They
trusted Jim and they could go to Jim for advice and it was just beautiful to see
that all these brothers and sisters in the streets—hardened, ex-criminals—
trusted Jim Brown because it’s hard to win the trust of the streets,” he stated.

Student Min. Muhammad expressed admiration for Mr. Brown’s exceptional
achievements, emphasizing that his unparalleled athletic accomplishments
during the turbulent 1960s, a time marked by significant challenges for Black
people, solidify his status as the greatest. Additionally, he acknowledged Mr.
Brown’s courageous stance as one of the first Black athletes to jeopardize his
career for the advancement of Black people.

Reportedly, in 1966, Mr. Brown announced his retirement to pursue
his acting career and other interests. After the 1965 season ended, Mr.
Brown was filming “The Dirty Dozen” in London, when Cleveland Brown’s
owner Art Modell issued an ultimatum by threatening to fine him if the
running back was late or failed to show up to training camp. He was only
29 when he stepped away from the NFL.

“I honestly like you and will be willing to help you in any way I can, but I
feel you must realize that both of us are men and that my manhood is just
as important to me as yours is to you,” wrote Mr. Brown, in a letter attributed
to him on website. He held a press conference to announce his
retirement from football, because of the future he desired for himself, his
family and his race, according to the letter. Andscape, formerly The Undefeated,
is a sports and pop culture website owned and operated by ESPN.

“Of course, I don’t think White America is going to remember him for that,
but I truly believe that Black America and people all over the world will
remember his stance on tyranny and injustice,” said Student Min. Muhammad.

“He was one of the first athletes to come from his lofty position into hell
and work with the downtrodden. It just reminds me of what Jesus said to
his disciples, when he talked about those who were in prison and you
administered not unto them. That’s what Jim Brown did, and so his legacy
among just the people in the streets became quite outstanding. He’s a hero
to them. He was a leader to them. He was like a big-time advisor to the streets,
so the streets will remember Jim as a revolutionary hero,” he added.

“I met Jim through Minister (Louis) Farrakhan, in 1989, through the
‘Stop the Killing’ tour,” stated Aqeela Sherrills, a co-founder of Amer-I-can.
“Minister Farrakhan came to town and galvanized thousands of the folks from
the city to come together around all of the killings that was happening in the city,”
said Mr. Sherrills, who said he grew up in the Jordan Downs Housing Projects,
and was a member of Grape Street Crips.

As an activist/organizer trying to stop the killing, he and colleagues took about
30 young Black men to hear Min. Farrakhan speak, said Mr. Sherrills.

“We were all so moved. Fifteen hundred Crips and Bloods showed up that
day at the Sports Arena for that conversation and then Jim opened up his house
as a neutral ground for us to meet and have conversation,” stated Mr. Sherrills.

He told The Final Call that because of the meeting hosted by the Minister and
Mr. Brown, he had an opportunity to connect with them and represent his
neighborhood. Mr. Brown gave him his phone number and invited him to
visit his home any time he needed a break from the neighborhood, shared
Mr. Sherrills.

“Jim was the catalyst, one of the key financiers behind the movement early
on,” Mr. Sherrills continued. “Minister Farrakhan put out the call and Jim
showed up and became more like a mentor and a father to many of us in L.A.,
and then across the country,” he stated.

For Mr. Sherrills the thing that Mr. Brown will be most remembered for in
his life is his mentorship and guidance. “Jim was probably one of the most
brilliant cats that I’ve ever met. I’ve never been in a room with J. B. where
he hadn’t briefed us before we got there so that we could all be on the same
page in terms of the conversation, and then debriefed after every meeting,”
said Mr. Sherrills.

He described Mr. Brown as being far ahead of his time and said that in
the ’60s when the talk was about civil rights, Mr. Brown was focused
on human rights.

Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, left, and Miami Dolphins
running back Ricky Williams chat before a news conference Tuesday,
Sept. 23, 2003, in Miami. Brown and Williams announced that Williams’
foundation, Run Ricky Run, is now donating some of its proceeds to the
Amer-I-Can program, founded by Brown to help quell gang violence and
educate troubled youth. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

“Jim was there for me through all of my formative years and transformations
and I love him forever for the contribution that he’s made to my life, but also
to thousands. I traveled with Jim as his right hand for almost a decade to cities
all across the country and it was just an honor always to be in service to something
that was so much bigger than us and that’s the peace movement. And we see
where things are today as a result of his work and the Minister’s work.”

Mr. Sherrills highlighted an example of the evolving approach to addressing
street peace. He mentioned that under the Biden Administration, community-based
solutions are now acknowledged as complementary strategies alongside the police.
These strategies are seen as vital and worthy of investment to strengthen the
country’s safety infrastructure, said Mr. Sherrills.

“There’s about three or four of us, national thought leaders in the country who
were all trained by Jim, that are sitting at the table,” stated Mr. Sherrills, who
added that in 2021, he ran the White House Community Violence Intervention
Collaborative, a 16-city initiative to do a proof of concept, building the capacity
of community violence intervention as a complimentary strategy to policing in cities.

From there came the 2022 bi-partisan Safer Communities Act, which he
emphasized put $250 million into community violence intervention. “When
we started this work in the late ’80s, early ’90s, Jim financed this work himself,
with support from a few people! And now, we’ve got the federal government
… at the foundation of that is J.B.,” Mr. Sherrills added.

Marcus Bell met Mr. Brown in 1997, through Darren “Bo” Taylor, deceased
former Crip and gang mediator of Unity One gang intervention effort. Twenty-five
years later, Mr. Bell teaches the Ameri-I-Can program in Chicago with Melvyn
Hayward, co-founder with Ansar El Muhammad and Clinton Noble of Venice
2000 gang intervention and prevention.

In this Oct. 12, 1958, file photo, Cleveland Browns fullback Jim Brown runs
against the Chicago Cardinals for a touchdown in the first half of a football
game in Cleveland. Brown scored three touchdowns in Cleveland’s 35-28 win.
Brown led the NFL in rushing eight times and was league MVP three times;
finished with more than 12,000 yards rushing and 106 rushing touchdowns;
and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. And he did all this in only nine seasons before
retiring at age 30 to become an actor. (AP Photo/File)

“He’s a humanitarian. He stopped playing football and lacrosse and Jim Brown
just got into the community, which was on his heart,” said Mr. Bell. “It’s been a
big impact because if it wasn’t for Jim Brown, speaking for myself, a lot of these
communities would have had even more losses than what we had today, because
we took that (Amer-I-Can) curriculum to them. … I can honestly say if it wasn’t
for that curriculum, I’d probably have a life sentence or be dead,” Mr. Bell told
The Final Call.

News of his mentor’s passing literally took him off of his feet, said Mr. Hayward,
who is also chief program officer for Chicago CRED (Create Real Economic Destiny),
an anti-gun violence organization.

“Jim means so much to me and us as a people, and knowing that Jim has been
and was on the front line for over 50 years, representing Black people and our
excellence and what it means to be Black in America and how we give back to
one another and be consistent about our love in our education and our willingness
to atone and reconcile with one another, it really touched my life,” stated Mr.

Ansar El Muhammad reflected on Mr. Brown’s selflessness, care and humor.
Mr. Brown funded their organization at $2,000 a month, according to Ansar
El Muhammad, but one day he took them to meet a friend in Leimert Park.
The late great NBA great Bill Russell exited a shop, and Mr. Brown told them,
“Hey, Bill! These are the guys that you’ve been supporting for a whole year,’”
said Ansar El Muhammad, as he laughed at the fond memory.

Former Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown
presides over a meeting of top African-American athletes who supported
boxer Muhammad Ali’s refusal to fight in Vietnam on June 4, 1967.
Pictured: (front row) Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Lew
Alcindor; (back row) Carl Stokes, Walter Beach, Bobby Mitchell,
Sid Williams, Curtis McClinton, Willie Davis, Jim Shorter, and John
Wooten. (AP Photo/Tony Tomsic)

“I will remember Jim as more than an NFL player,” he said. The larger than life
figure would state that though it was great to be in the NFL and Hall of Fame as
an individual, the work being done through Amer-I-Can and organizing former
gang members and ex-offenders and working with them is more fulfilling than
anything he ever did in the NFL or Hollywood because he saw the transformation
in the lives of human beings who were disregarded as individuals and who otherwise
may never make it back into mainstream society,” added Ansar El Muhammad.

“He would say, ‘Hey! Gentlemen! It’s never too late to obtain a full, meaningful
life!’ That stuck with me,” he added.

According to The Associated Press, Mr. Brown is survived by his wife Monique
and son, Aris; daughter, Morgan, son, Jim Jr.; daughter, Kimberly; son, Kevin;
daughter, Shellee; and daughter, Kim. He was preceded in death by his daughter,
Karen Ward.