Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Are Black Athletes and Executives Qualified?


"Mama may have and poppa may have, but God bless the child that's got his own." -Billie Holiday

Lebron James is one of the finest athletes that the Black community has ever produced. He's also a budding businessman who keeps company with the likes of Warren Buffet and Jay-Z. He and other young, gifted and Black ballplayers appear to be looking forward to winning not only dunking contests, but winning thinking contests, as well. This thinking contest is critical to any professional athlete's future; personally, professionally and financially. While the vast majority of ball handlers end up broke, directionless and unprepared for life "after the game," this year's NBA lockout could very well be a sign of a potential paradigm shift for the embattled Black athlete in American sports.

The dispute between owners, players and the reputed ego-maniacal Commissioner David Stern has become such a "spectacle of disrespect," that veteran sports journalist Bryant Gumbel, known for the " safeness" of his opinion, accused the commissioner of acting like a modern day plantation owner. From his critically acclaimed HBO show "Real Sports," Gumbel accused Stern of talking to NBA players like they were his "boys." During negotiations, Stern has been documented as having put his finger in the faces of certain players, acting unnecessarily aggressively towards men who are clearly, physically, his superior. Gumbel's statement, to many, was like Clarence Thomas wearing an "I AM TROY DAVIS" t-shirt. When Bryant Gumbel makes a statement like that, it must be high time for change.

But, what will this change look like for Black NBA players and Black athletes, in general? Will it mean more money, benefits and less risks in THEIR league? Should we take a closer look at the term "owner" and why Stern's attitude is the way it is towards players? We all witnessed what happened when James opted to pursue what he believed was in his own best interest by leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and joining the Miami Heat. While Cleveland spent millions courting him to stay, the moment he made his decision they showed how they truly felt about him all along. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert derided him as a coward while the very fans who once professed their undying love for him threatened him and burned his jersey in the streets.  If this happened to Lebron, any player who thinks it can't happen to them is two fries short of a "happy meal." In the NBA, you're only as good as your last bucket.

If Black athletes decided to "do for self" and start their own league, where would it leave the NBA? The NBA without Black players would be like a bicycle without a chain; going absolutely nowhere.
NBA players are paid millions.  NBA owners are worth billions. Something tells me that if the owners were to acquiesce to players' legitimate and fair demands that the owners' lifestyles wouldn't be affected at all.  And on top of that, anything they relinquish in negotiations they'll find a creative way to take it back.  The great warrior civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer used to say, "If the White man gives you anything—just remember when he gets ready, he'll take it right back."  Let us think over these wise words, for history bears witness to the truth that Sister Fannie Lou spoke.

Sometimes when negotiations break down between two parties it is because the issue is no longer about fairness and truth.  The issue becomes about power and control and the NBA's owners believe they own not only the teams but the human beings who make up the team as well. Mr. Gumbel was right. Human beings who think they own other human beings usually reside on plantations. There is only one real solution to this problem.

Point blank, Black NBA players and executives should pool their resources and organize themselves toward starting their own league. The slave mind will automatically compute this as an impossibility, but a free-thinking man and woman who has studied history only sees it as "returned independent behavior."

Rube Foster is an iconic figure in Black history that we should teach our children about. Acknowledging the accomplishments of Steve Jobs in this day and time is fine, but Black men like Foster did what many see as impossible today. He was a phenomenal pitcher who became the owner of his own team and president of the first successful Negro League, a thriving baseball association that created opportunities for Black talent when Whites would not allow them to play in the "major" leagues. Black people supported the league in droves.  The "swagger" of Black athletes outstripped their counterparts with such class that even Whites became fans. The Negro Leagues became a competitive entity. The idea of integration proved to be the undoing of Negro League baseball with Black-owned teams.  Now you can hardly find Black players in pro baseball and they no longer have the alternative of a league of their own. It is recorded that Rube Foster suffered a mental breakdown and mysteriously died in an insane asylum. He probably went crazy envisioning the future.  He probably had nightmares of David Stern pointing his finger in the face of a Black athlete twice his size.

My point is if it can be done then, with less resources and technology, it can be done now.  But who would have the courage, vision and testicular fortitude to make such a bold and independent move?

If Black athletes decided to "do for self" and start their own league, where would it leave the NBA?  The NBA without Black players would be like a bicycle without a chain; going absolutely nowhere.  Ticket sales would plummet right along with fan interest. While we undoubtedly have the athletic talent to suffice a league of our own, I submit with humility and confidence that we have the intellectual power among us to manage the executive aspect of such an avant-garde move, as well. Brothers like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Bob Johnson and others are but signs of the boardroom greatness produced from our ranks. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad once asked if Black people in America were qualified to have a nation of our own.  He answered an emphatic "yes" to his own question.  I humbly submit that if we are qualified to build our own nation, then we must be qualified to start our own sports organizations.

NBA players and executives should wise up.  As long as they are the owners and we are just players, they will see us no differently than plantation owners saw sharecroppers. The players may be well paid, but they fail to understand that the more they pay you, the more of you they think they own.  Once an agreement has been made, you still have no choice except to return to their houses (NBA teams), because you have failed to see the writing on the wall. Once you have returned to their houses, they will craftily find a way to make you play by their rules.  White people have been making treaties for a long, long time. They've been breaking them just as long.

It is a good thing to see players unite and stand for their own enlightened self-interest, but I say take it a step further.  If you don't like the way your boss treats you, then hire yourself.  Will opposing forces come against you?  Of course they will.  As a matter of fact it appears they already have.  The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan recently reaffirmed for us that "Business is Warfare."  It just makes sense that if you are already having to fight, you may as well be FIGHTing FOR YOUR OWN.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Minister Farrakhan Comes to Prairie View A&M, Nov. 9th

by Deric Muhammad

Anticipation is building, young people are talking and social networking sites are abuzz concerning the arrival of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan who is set to bring a message of hope, guidance and empowerment to a generation that much of the world has given up on. Yes, Farrakhan is coming to town and his focus is on the future; our youth.

Prairie View A&M University will host the firebrand leader Nov. 9th as part of its “S.P.I.T. Knowledge” lecture series. The series is designed to provide an opportunity for students to become exposed to topics not taught in a “traditional” setting. S.P.I.T Knowledge is an acronym for “Students Participating in Transcendent Knowledge.” The free event will be held in the William “Billy” J. Nicks building also known as “The Baby Dome.” Doors open at 6:30pm.

“We understand that learning takes place inside and outside of the classroom”, stated Isis McCraw, Program Coordinator for Special Programs and Cultural Series at Prairie View A&M. “Our institution is currently making plans to accommodate Minister Farrakhan’s visit after 23 years here on campus.” Minister Farrakhan’s last visit to Prairie View was in 1988.

The “78 years-young” Farrakhan, who after 56 years of service still considers himself a student, will visit Prairie View A&M at a critical hour. At no other time in history has there been a greater need for a “moment of clarity” for young Black America. Unemployment among Blacks is nearly double that of Whites. The income gap between Blacks and Whites continues to widen. Young Black men and women continue to fill the jails of America while most don’t finish college, and what’s most alarming is that those who do (obtain a degree) can hardly find an avenue by which they can turn that degree into a decent living. With young people throughout the country engaged in an ever-expanding “Occupy” protest of Wall Street and the government, what should young Black brothers and sisters be doing in preparation for the future?

Minister Farrakhan comes to Prairie View on the heels of a message of critical importance delivered in Philadelphia on October 9th at the 16th anniversary of the Million Man March. He spoke with a fiery sense of urgency about self-determination, the need for the creation of jobs by and for Black people and the critical subject of agriculture and a return to land ownership, cultivation and the growing of our own food. He decried it foolishness for us to depend on the government to do for Black people what Black people can do for themselves. Prairie View A&M, a school who prides itself on its Agricultural Studies may very well be perfect ground to further develop the seeds dropped by Farrakhan in Philadelphia.

The Minister has a history several decades-long of guidance of youth, student leaders, so-called gangs, etc. He is the one leader who ages in years, yet does not lose his “connection” with every “new” generation. Recent evidence of this is found on his Twitter page @LouisFarrakhan where the Minister takes the time out of his non-stop schedule to hold question and answer sessions on the popular social networking site. While Farrakhan will forever be remembered for bringing 2 million Black men to Washington, D.C. for a historic Million Man March in 1995, he refuses to rest on the laurels of past successes and continues to move with the times and technology that comes along with it.

“We are elated that S.P.I.T. Knowledge has chosen to invite the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to Prairie View A&M. It has been over 20 years since he’s been on the campus and it’s long overdue”, said PV Alumnus Jesse Muhammad who is a co-organizer of the highly anticipated event. “We consider Minister Farrakhan to be the most prominent leader on the scene today. I say to the students, skip the parties that night and come out to the Baby Dome to gain insight into your purpose.”

You may follow Minister Farrakhan on Twitter by logging onto Go to the Minister’s page at @LouisFarrakhan then click the “follow” button.

Friday, April 15, 2011

MODERN TECHNOLOGY: The Gift and The Curse

 ( - Every rose has its thorn. The same instrument used to make incisions necessary for surgery can also be used to stab someone to death. While the instrument is neutral, the way it is utilized determines whether it facilitates life or death. So it is with modern technology.

The purpose of technology should be reserved for the advancement of civilization. Technology should help us accomplish life's tasks faster; with less error and greater accuracy. In most cases it serves its purpose. For instance, when researching a cure for a disease like cancer the internet is a great tool. However, this same tool makes pornographic material more available than ever. At the end of the day, the technology will help you do what you want to do. Question is: What are you doing?

Some may answer the above question with a resounding “nothing.” I contend that modern technology can even aid you in the accomplishment of “doing nothing.” If you wake up with the intention of finding a job or studying for an exam, but instead spend hours on end playing your WII game or perusing the web you may very well have enlisted the use of modern technology to help you accomplish “nothing” that day.

My 12-year-old daughter is profoundly gifted at spelling. She won a Nation of Islam local spelling bee. Yet when she sends me text messages, she purposely misspells words; the culture of texting among teens. I admit, texting can be a fast and efficient way to communicate. I use it quite often myself. However, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad so wisely taught us that “too much of anything is no good.” He also taught us that writing was one of the “lost arts” of our people.

Too much texting forces the brain to compute information in an abbreviated form. It affects the way we write, think and speak. Now we have what society calls “sexting”, where sexually charged text messages and photos are exchanged via text message. It seems that our youth are overlooking the rose of technology and are becoming too anxious to toy with its thorns.

The Gift

There are billions of cellular phones activated around the world. I have been as far as China without losing the capability of communicating with my family thanks to technology. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are great places to find classmates, distant relatives and organize events. As seen recently, these sites have the potential to play a major role in revolutionary mobilization.

Were it not for camera-equipped smart-phones we may have never captured the footage of Oscar Grant's murder by an Oakland officer. Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, used the internet to leak top-secret cables exposing bizarre communication between sovereign nations. Let's face it, were it not for the brilliant use of cutting-edge modern technology during his 2008 campaign we may not have elected the first Black president of the United States of America. Modern technology is definitely “the gift.”

The Curse

The same smart-phone that we use to communicate has what is termed “memory.” In it we store everything from telephone numbers, meeting notes, appointments, etc. But, when we have become too dependent on our phone's memory, what happens to our own?

The same social networking sites that helped organize protests are also havens for sexual predators and rapists. The same camera-phone that captured Oscar Grant's murder is being used to video-record teen-aged girls fighting and tearing one another's clothes off in the process; also to leak sex tapes and private photos of unsuspecting persons.

The same internet that Wikileaks used to expose government secrets is being used to steal the identities of millions of people, robbing them of their earnings. People seldom converse at the gym anymore. Why? Everyone wears iPod earbuds. The same YouTube phenomenon that gave Barack Obama a direct platform to communicate with voters is being used to air gang initiations and lewd, lascivious activity. You get the picture. Modern technology is what you make it. It can be the gift or the curse, depending on how you make use of it.

We must begin to use technology as a vehicle or it will become a vice. It must be used as a vehicle to facilitate and actualize ideas and concepts. We must use it as a platform to educate, inform, organize and mobilize the masses of our people. The technology itself is neither positive nor negative; it is neutral. However it can be employed for positive or negative purposes, depending on who is using it. The way you use technology is an extension of who you are and how you think. Therefore, self-improvement leads to a more productive use of technology.

Don't spend so much time on FACEBOOK that you neglect to put your FACE in a BOOK. There is no technology like the human mind. It's a lot smarter than a smart phone. Invest in your mind. The returns are limitless. Stop totally depending on gadgets to do your thinking for you. Don't allow yourself to lose sight of the importance of the human bond. Stop texting your grandmother. Get up, go over and visit her. Don't let technology make you lazy.

In the Nation of Islam we are given the lesson of the “Lion in a Cage.” The Lion is to use Modern Equipment to help him get out of this cage. I contend that the same modern equipment that can be used to get the Lion out of this cage can be used to keep him in it. You are the Lion. How will you use today's modern technology? It is a question that must be answered in the mirror.

Friday, August 27, 2010


" A classroom is not the only place to acquire knowledge." -Linda Johnson Rice

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Houston Chronicle Blog Post: Houston Rapper Trae; "YOU CAN'T BAN THE TRUTH"

By: Joey Guerra (Houston Chronicle Blog Contributor)

Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Radio One, which owns 97.9 FM (KBXX The Box), citing "a consistent pattern of business disparagement, conspiracy and tortious interference."

"I'm not only doing this for me. I'm doing this so that our futures and others can have a fair chance," Trae said during a Wednesday morning press conference on the steps of the Harris County Civil Courthouse downtown.

"I need to do the right thing. I need to stand up. I also work hard for this community -- very hard. You can't ban the truth."

Trae (whose real name is Frasier Thompson III) and attorney Warren Fitzgerald, Jr. allege that 97.9 FM banned the rapper's music after he was involved in an on-air altercation with Madd Hatta Morning Show DJ Nnete Inyangumia. During a 2009 radio interview, Trae says Inyangumia falsely accused him of inciting violence at a festival celebrating "Trae Day." The rapper, whose real name is Frasier Thompson III, was honored July 24, 2008 by Mayor Bill White and the Houston City Council for his community work.

Trae then mentioned Inyangumia's weight in a mixtape, which is when he says the ban was put into effect.

"It's personal, and it's not business. There's no reason to ban his music. His music is no more or no less violent than any other music that's being played on the radio station" Fitzgerald said.

"We know for sure that people are being intimidated, people are being retaliated against for their involvement with him."

Also named in the suit are general manager Doug Abernathy and program manager Terri Thomas. The suit alleges a staff member was suspended for making a mixtape featuring Trae and that popular on-air trio the Kracker Nuttz was recently fired after playing a song that featured Trae.

"Seems strange to say, but things for us at the station hadn't been the same (or at least what it used to be) for a very long time," the Kracker Nuttz wrote in a recent blog post. The group was at the courthouse Wednesday to show their support for Trae.

Houston rapper TroubleSum called the situation "preposterous."

"As an artist, you vent through your music. We get caught up in our emotions, and we'll write about it," she said. "(Inyangumia) used her platform to voice her concerns and her opinions about Trae. He did the same thing in return.

"Things were said. Let's move on. It's ridiculous."

Trae is suing for general damages to his reputation, character, standing in the community, mental suffering, loss of professional opportunities, performance revenue and record royalties. A temporary restraining order has been issued prohibiting 97.9 FM from destroying any evidence, including memoranda or emails relating to the ban. A hearing is scheduled for May 14.

Derick Muhammad of the Millions More Movement Ministry of Justice says they are "exploring" boycotts of the radio station and its advertisers. Matt Sonzala, a longtime champion of Texas rap and hip-hop who runs the popular Austin Surreal blog, called Trae "one of the more straight dudes in this scene - for real."

"We believe that the airwaves are sacred and that nobody should have the power or the authority to use the airwaves against an individual to settle a personal vendetta," Muhammad said.

"It's a way bigger picture than (my music). I'm kind of looking at myself to be a sacrifice right now," Trae said. "My son raps. Other people's sons rap and sing. This can happen to anybody."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Black Suffering: Is Giving Up an Option?

By: Deric Muhammad

Have you ever met a person who appears to have given up? If you visit the homeless living underneath bridges in major cities across America you are sure to find a brain surgeon. How about the former freedom-fighter who sits amid the debris in the neighborhood park holding court about the “worthlessness” of Black youth? The road to freedom has and always will be a long and winding road littered with casualties along it’s byways that just “gave up.”

I’m not passing judgment on anyone. I am grateful for any and everyone who has lifted a finger to help Black people in the last 455 years. And let’s be realistic, Black people lead the nation in joblessness, incarceration, infant mortality, HIV/AIDS cases, poverty, fratricide (Black on Black murder) and so many other categories that signal the weak pulse of a people. To say that I have no understanding of why a person would think to give up on Black people would be a politically correct lie.

A few weeks ago a 3-year old Charissa Powell was shot and killed during what police called an attempted carjacking in north Houston. Two men attempted to rob Charissa’s father at gunpoint for the rims on his car. When her father tried to remove Charissa from the car one of the men opened fired with an AK47 killing her and wounding her brother. This is the kind of insanity that makes Black people think about “giving up.”

The late great Donny Hathaway used to sing a beautiful tune that said “Giving Up is so hard to do…when you really love someone.” While Hathaway appears to have been singing to a woman, I would contend that the same sentiments can be applied when speaking of a people who suffer like my people. The truth is that in order to maintain your stride toward freedom, justice and equality for Black people you have to love Black people with a love so unconditional that you love them more than they hate themselves.

I don’t write this kind of article out of a vacuum. I hear the hurt, pain, disappointment and livid anger expressed by people in barber shops, grocery stores, churches, etc, when innocent children like Charissa Powell get caught in the crossfire of ignorance and self-hate. Sincere Black people have at times told me to my face, “You go ahead Muhammad. Call me if you need me, but I’m sick of ni—as.” Like it or not, this is the way that Black America is talking.

I could not bear to go to Charissa Powell’s funeral for 2 reasons. 1). The last time I attended a funeral where that casket was that small it took me nearly a year to recover. 2). Knowing that her young life was taken by one of our own misguided brothers compounds the pain tenfold. However, I know that my personal pain will never be more important that God’s will. Therefore I can never give up on Black people, considering God has not given up on me.

It is natural that we sometimes get tired, overwhelmed and discouraged. If you turn on the nightly news, the non-stop images of Black people in handcuffs, postured before judges could very well make one want to just move to an island. But no matter, where you go the suffering of darker people will follow you. And so will your conscience. We will never be free until giving up on Black people becomes synonymous with giving up on self.

This is no time to give up; this is the time to get up. The only thing that we need to give up is apathy, complacency, laziness and disunity. Instead of giving up on our people let’s give up everything that has become an impediment to our rise. I’m all for giving up on envy, jealousy, gang warfare and dope dealing. To give up on your people is to give up on your birthright. To give up on your people is to give up on our children and their future.

If we give up how many more lives of innocent babies like Charissa Powell do we place into the hands of the forces of death that plague the streets of America and the Black community? Charissa’s death should serve as a “wake-up call”; not a sleeping pill. It’s time to give up the thought of “giving up.” It is not an option.

If you have ever been a part of any organization that fights for justice on behalf of our people I ask that you revisit, rejoin and rededicate yourself. If you have never joined an organization like this, make a wise choice and then do so. If you are not a mentor to some young person or a watchman for the elderly in your community I say “get up.” The only thing we can afford to give up is the grave of ignorance. And the next time you think about giving up on Black people, think of where you would be had God given up on you.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Instead of Moving to a Nicer Neighborhood, Move the Nicer Neighborhood to You

By: Deric Muhammad

Once President Lyndon Baines Johnson, with Dr. Martin Luther King looking over his shoulder, signed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 Black people who had a little money couldn’t wait to move from segregated small towns into the big city. It was a privilege and an honor to make the trek from humble shanty towns like Kindleton, Texas to big shot cities like Houston so that we could live down the street from our white “brothers and sisters.”

But, by the time Black folk got moved in they jumped the picket fence to go and meet their new white neighbors, white folk had already moved. “For Sale” signs were everywhere. Real estate companies must’ve made a mint in those days. Soon after, those Black families went back to those small towns and spread the word about the inner city. The new neighborhood was now populated with the same folks from the small town they left. They all may as well have stayed where they were.

White folks moved to these rural areas, renamed them “the suburbs” and bought all of the land that we left. Thirty years later in a move to reclaim the inner-cities of America, called “gentrification”, they began to aggressively repurchase urban properties owned by Black people that they lost during the sixties.

Many wondered why, two generations later, the same families that “broke their backs” to get into the inner city were now “breaking their necks” to get out. In the sixties when Blacks got a little money they moved into the city. Now it has become a trending phenomenon to say that you “got out.” Where do we go from here?

The move to “gentrify” the inner city was not as easy as they thought it would be. A lot had happened in the decades that had passed since integration. The advent of “crack” cocaine and the violence, turf warfare and human casualty count it brought about turned many inner city neighborhoods into the shanty towns that our families left for a better life in the sixties. By this time we should have learned a valuable lesson. THE NEIGHBORHOOD DOES NOT MAKE THE PEOPLE; IT IS THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

We as a people have to make a conscious decision to stop running from “pillar to post” every other generation and maintain and beautify what is our own. We must stop responding to television commercials about a better life in Sugarland and make the Black community a decent community.

The first thing we must do it unite and create a common agenda for the betterment of our neighborhoods. We, then, must do as City Councilman Jarvis Johnson says; we must “team up to clean up.” A dirty neighborhood is not a decent neighborhood. If you want others to respect your community it must be clean.

You must then become watchmen of education and law enforcement. You must pack the schools at PTA meetings and demand from elected officials what is necessary to better educate our children. Since we are nearing a 50% dropout rate we must pool our resources to create alternative education opportunities. We must meet with the police chief and advise him how our communities should be policed. We must demand the reassignment of those officers who look to abuse our youth, rather than correct them.

Drug treatment facilities are a must. Little league sports teams are a must and after school programs are a must. We must partner with every pastor in the community and make sure that anyone doing business, extracting resources from the community is giving back. However, it all starts with unity. Once you truly unify, you will be amazed at the brilliance that lies dormant in your neighborhood. If we make our own neighborhoods a decent place to live there is no need to move to a nicer neighborhood. The “nicer neighborhood” will have moved to us.

Friday, March 26, 2010


By: Deric Muhammad

Recently the Ku Klux Klan made headlines when residents in a local area of Houston noticed their neighborhood was leafleted with flyers encouraging them to join the Ku Klux Klan. Honestly, I yawned when I saw the coverage.

There have been KKK recruitment drives in the not so distant past and I doubt they have produced a surge in their ranks. I always thought the Klan needed to hire an image consultant; you know, do something about those awful uniforms. Young people these days would never trade their skinny jeans and skateboard sneakers for low thread-count white sheets and lit crosses. It’s a new day and the KKK needless to say appears to be struggling for relevance.

But, then I thought about the countless times that I’ve been in court rooms and witnessed white judges hand out huge sentences for small crimes to Black youth. Then I remembered that the uniform changed a long time ago. It is not the white supremacist dressed in white sheets and dark boots that we should watch out for. It is the white supremacist in white shirts and dark suits that now poses a threat to the freedom of Black people.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and those in the civil rights movement faced vehement opposition from the Ku Klux Klan, The White Citizens Council and other overtly organized bodies of hate that sought the annihilation of Black people. Too many of our youth are unaware of the cold-blooded murders that took place at the hands of the KKK during the civil rights movement. It is a history that we must teach our children.

However, during the latter years Dr. King came to be less concerned with the KKK. He became more concerned about the “White Moderate” who he said may have been Black people’s greatest threat in the stride toward liberation. King said that the white moderate was more interested in the absence of tension than the presence of justice. In my opinion Dr. King realized that an “in your face” KKK member was less dangerous to our struggle than a “slicker than soap” con artist who would march beside you one day and plot against you the next.

I believe that the KKK’s new recruitment drive is worthy of note, but that’s about it. There was a time when these groups sought to kill Black people wholesale. But the KKK no longer holds the title of champion killer of Black people. We do. Truth be told it does not matter how much they recruit; they will probably never catch up with us when it comes to the killing of our own people in urban America. This makes them no longer the boogey man that they once were. Our worst enemy is looking back at us in the mirror; not under a Wal-Mart- bought white sheet.

My suggestion is that we join the KKK in the quest for recruitment. Those organizations that exist to lift our people must recruit today like never before. Since the Klan no longer holds the crown of chief murderer of our people, Black men must unify and recruit like never before to fight Black on Black violence and murder.

The NAACP, Black United Front, SCLC, New Black Panther Party, Urban League, Nation of Islam and all organized bodies that seek the salvation and liberation of our people should join forces for mass recruitment. We should go into deprived and underserved neighborhoods as a unified community and extend the hand of brotherhood and sisterhood to our suffering people. Our youth, especially, have a strong desire to belong to something; to have something to call their own. If we as a community don’t reach out to them, the gang leader will.

There is a saying that goes “there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” I contend that the idea of the KKK has come and gone. White sheets are out; black robes are in. So we need not be overly concerned about their recruitment drive. We must be more concerned about our own. Let us unify to lift our people from self-hatred and ignorance. The KKK will take care of itself.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brothers Jesse and Deric Muhammad on the Cover of Recent African-American News and Issues Newspaper

(Jesse and Deric Muhammad grew up in the dilpidated shack (left).In the documentary, Raising Boys: Tips for Single Moms, Deric shares tips to help single Black mothers and their sons overcome the challenges
of raising their sons alone.)

By: Tuala Williams (General Manager of the African-American News and Issues)

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, at least 70 percent of all African-American households are headed by single mothers. These ever increasing numbers are causing concern among some in the Black community and several men have stepped up to address the problem.

In fact, the issue provoked Houston community activist Deric Muhammad to produce a documentary, Raising Boys: Tips for Single Moms. Muhammad, the son of single mother Mavis Jackson, produced the documentary in hopes of responding to the crisis mothers and sons experience.

“The Black mother is the soldier on the frontline to save the Black male and every good soldier needs good ammunition. Every good soldier needs good armor, so these tools are important because we are trying to arm these women with the tools they need to save their sons.

“In most cases, when a young woman calls me and her son is facing 10 or 20 or 30 years in prison, or even life, and I ask the question, ‘Where is the father?,’ the answer to that question is usually, ‘I don’t know.’ And so since most of these sisters don’t know where the father is, then we have to give them the ammunition that they need to cover their end for the father until the Black man gets there,” Muhammad said in his documentary.

Muhammad explains that despite the fact that the Black male makes up only 6 to 7 percent of the population in America, they make up over 50 percent of the prison population, and Blacks make up 49 percent of all murder victims. Muhammad says his father died when was 11-years-old. Prior to his death, he did not see his father very much, but when he did see him, his father would tell him that he loved him and that he should not be like him. His father, he says was a hustler and a con artist. Despite best intentions, his father’s warnings were not sufficient to deter him from following his own rebellious path.

It is a common understanding that boys need their fathers and there is great concern about the ability of single mothers to transform their little boys into strong men. Some fear the lack of a male role model in their lives will cause them to become weak, degenerate or effeminate. “It’s very difficult for a woman to raise a boy to be a man,” said David Miller, co-founder of the youth-focused Urban Leadership Institute in Baltimore.

“A boy has to be around good men for that to happen.” Miller is founder of the national campaign called, “Raising Him Alone,” that provides a network of resources, advocacy and access to community-based services. The campaign focuses primarily on reaching the Black community via workshops, seminars, online initiatives and more.

Others disagree with the notion that a single mother cannot raise a healthy male, believing that, given adequate resources, women can raise healthy productive sons. There is evidence to support both sides, raising the question, what is the difference? What causes some boys to “turn out alright” and others to deviate from societal expectations?

Some blame poverty. Statistics show that six out of every 10 children living with only their mother were near or below the poverty level.

“I grew up in a single parent household,” Muhammad says. “My mother had five children and there was no man in the house.” Muhammad, who grew up on welfare, stated there were times he and his family had no electricity or water. He says poverty made life hard, but they made the best of their situation.

However, according to Muhammad, the thing that seemed to truly hinder their growth as men was his mother’s crack addiction and the lack of a male role model. In the documentary, Jeremy Banks also talks about his friends’ struggles in their quest to find a male role model they can identify with.

“A lot of my friends, they don’t really have fathers at home. Of the friends that I do hang out with, I only know one that actually has a mom and a dad, and his dad is always there, but at the same time, he’s always drunk and stuff. But he really doesn’t care about that. He’s still doing things with his life,” Banks says, “But the rest of my friends, I don’t really think they have fathers at home, but they try to act like they do. They harbor the things that they see outside the home and they take that and imitate that instead of looking at the TV watching Barack Obama, like having a good influence, they take in the drug dealers, the gangs, the hip hop rappers like Little Wayne, the drugs, alcohol, stuff like that.”

Raising a son alone can be a challenge for any single mother, even in the best of circumstances. Gillis Triplett, of Gillis Triplett Ministries, says there are things many mothers do that sabotage their own efforts. Among them are poisoning their son’s minds against their biological father, instilling the “All men are dogs,” mentality, making their sons the men of the house, feminizing their son, emasculating their sons, making them mama’s boys, refusal to allow them to have contact with strong male role models, allowing men to sleep over, playing the dating game.

According to Triplett, when allow men to sleep over or go through a number of boyfriends, boys become indoctrinated to see women as sex objects and become desensitized to the well-being of women. In short, he begins to lose respect for them. These things can create enormous amounts of frustration for young men growing up without a father. Muhammad says that fatherlessness; in itself, is not the true cause of crisis. He blames the bitterness caused by fatherlessness for the downward spiral many young men find themselves on.

He says young men, growing up without a father creates a common bond that can set them on a path to destruction. These young men find a sense of identity together which they lacked as individuals, often causing them to form gangs.

“And once they get together and they create an identity for themselves, they get together and prove themselves. But it is all because they have not been taught a proper identity for themselves for the lack of a father,” Muhammad says.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We Must Teach Our Youth the Legacy of Mickey Leland

Today in Texas History: Mickey Leland dies in plane crash
Democratic Congressman George Thomas "Mickey" Leland
(printed in The Houston Chronicle, August 7, 2009)

On this date, August 7th, in 1989 -- Democratic Congressman George Thomas "Mickey" Leland, the son of a short order cook raised in a poor section of Houston who rose to become one of just five African Americans since Reconstruction to serve Texas in the United States capital -- died in a plane crash in Ethiopia. The crash occurred over the mountainous region of Gambela, killing all 15 passengers aboard, including three of Leland's congressional aides.

Leland was elected to Congress in 1978 after a contentious race against fellow Democrat Anthony Hall to fill retiring three-term Houston Rep. Barbara Jordan's historic seat. The election required a runoff in a campaign in which Jordan declined to endorse either candidate.

In January of 1979, Leland arrived in Washington, having won 57 percent of the vote in the runoff and without having faced official opposition in the general election, eager to prove himself. The young, 33-year-old Lone Star State lawmaker used his connections in D.C. to further his humanitarian goals.

After Leland won a powerful and highly sought-after seat on the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee (later called Energy and Commerce), he used his assignment to establish corporate and industry contacts that might help his national and international crusade against poverty and hunger.

Leland quickly gained the respect of his colleagues, though he was relegated to two committee's historical assigned to black lawmakers: the Post Office and Civil Service Committee and the Committee on the District of Columbia.

The young Houstonian quickly became an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), which he later chaired (1985-1987). In various leadership positions, Leland successfully lobbied Congress to create the House Select Committee on Hunger. He served as chair of that committee when his fateful trip to Ethiopia was organized.

Leland was visiting Ethiopia on a working vacation during the congressional recess, a time when most lawmakers return to their districts or enjoy family time in some exotic holiday hotspot. But not Leland, a man known for his frequent appearances at soup kitchens and for visiting with his black and Hispanic constituents in some of the more violent and less alluring sections of Houston.

Congressman Leland even hired some of his Mexican American constituents to help him learn Spanish. He was a good student: Leland spoke Spanish on the House floor as he argued to retain bilingual clauses in the Voting Rights Act.

On his August 1989 trip to Ethiopia, Leland had organized a humanitarian mission to carry supplies to refugee camps on the Ethiopia-Sudan border and to monitor human rights issues within the refugee camps.

In the mid- to late-1980s, famine had devastated Ethiopia, following a series of major droughts that began in the mid-1970s. In 1984, several human rights organizations estimated that nearly 1 million people had died and 8 million people had been identified as victims of the food shortages.

By 1986, the death toll was rising due in part to a locust plague that only intensified the crop shortages. The Ethiopian food crisis created a political and economic crisis for the Communist regime. For years the international community had ignored the plight of the Ethiopians and many within the Ethiopian government were either unwilling or unequipped to respond.

Leland's trip to Ethiopia in 1989 was not the first time the Texas lawmaker had traveled to the East African country. He first became aware of and passionate about the political and social situation on the African continent during a three-month stay in Tanzania, after extending a trip he had taken while serving as a Texas state legislator.

Congressman Leland functioned as a strong but lonely voice, calling attention to the issues plaguing the continent of Africa and drawing on his personal experience both on the beleaguered continent and at home in Texas. He was a persuasive voice on the interconnected issues of hunger, poverty and injustice.

Leland was born in Lubbock, Texas, on November 27, 1944 in impoverished circumstances in a town recognized for its strong racial conflict and few opportunities for black advancement.

Leland's mother escaped the midsize West Texas city for the metropolis of Houston, taking Leland and his brother with him.

Houston provided Leland with more opportunities but he was not immune to the racism of the Jim Crow South. He attended segregated schools and lived in a segregated neighborhood within the city's limits.

Leland political consciousness came of age in the civil rights era, in which he was both a student of the movement and an activist in his own right. As older black residents in his neighborhood and across the county, took active roles in the sits in, protests and letter writing campaigns, Leland observed the history making before him and consumed the literature that inspired a generation.

Leland's self education made him an avowed leftist. He became committed to fighting injustice and inequality at all stages. By the late 1960s, following the murders of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and the birth of the Black Panthers and Black Power Movement, Leland joined the evolving black civil rights movement as it transformed from a mainly Christian, Southern and middle-class origins -- taking it on a more revolutionary, Marxist journey.

He also was about building bridges. Upon arriving in Congress, Leland developed a six-week program that sent poor African American kids from Houston to Israel to learn about Jewish culture and encourage the celebrated black-Jewish alliance and the struggles that united both groups. A disproportionate number of white civil rights activists were Jewish and leftists in American history.

After police arrested the young activist in an anti police brutality protest, Leland decided to enter electoral politics, finding limits to his bottom-up activism.

Elected to the Texas House of Representative in 1972, the youthful Leland was initially labeled a militant. He once appeared at work on the state House floor rocking an Afro and decked out in platform shoes with the customary tie-dye T-shirt of the era.

Leland's choice of work attire definitely supported his opponents' views and fed inaccurate perceptions about what was, in reality, a serious politician. Furthermore, many white politicos and white Texans alike were unfamiliar with black street culture and the depth of the social and cultural changes happening in black neighborhoods.

Leland was in many ways an unlikely politician for his era and for Texas. Still, among his constituents and many other groups, Leland died a hero. His untimely death caused great sadness among his constituents and without a doubt for his family. Leland's wife Alison gave birth to their twins five months after Leland's tragic plane crash.

Today, many foundations wisely recognize the Texas firebrand, and institutions both in D.C. and in Texas have recognized the forever-young Leland with scholarships for education and anti-poverty programs and awards.

But Congress canceled his lifetime project, the House Select Committee for Hunger, after the Republican revolution led by Newt Gingrich and fellow Texans Tom DeLay and Dick Armey brought Republicans to power in 1995.

Brother Nuri Muhammad Speaks!!!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS: "Raising Boys" Community Screening and Townhall Meeting

Saturday, January 9th at the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Houston. (all photos by Ed Jackson)


Monday, December 14, 2009

"Raising Boys: Tips for Single Moms" The Documentary...The Community Dialogue...The Fight to Save Our Boys!!!!! (1/9/2010)

MONDAY MORNING JAB: "Get Focused" ...Period!"

Last week was a huge trial for me. I found myself in a court of law accused of something that I clearly was not guilty of. During the days leading up to it I found it very difficult to focus on specific projects of a critical nature. It's hard to focus when you have a 100 pound legal gorilla on your back. Thanks to Allah (God), my attorney, my family and the power of the truth and FOCUS things went well for me. I highlight the word "focus" because that is what it took to get me out of the situation. As painful as it was and as much as I did not wish to deal with it I had to put more important things out of my mind temporarily so that I could be ready to properly defend myself. Such is the power of focus. I don't know about you  but if my mind were a road it would be a Chinese expressway. It is constantly racing with thoughts, ideas and images. I'll be honest. Sometimes it's difficult to make prayer without my mind wandering.  Whenever I find my mind drifting while praying I have to force myself to restart the prayer and say it with sincerity, measuring every word to my Lord. Once I've finished that focused prayer I am absolutely energized and recharged. Just as we must me mindful to be in the right spirit and focus during prayer, we should practice the "art of focus" in everything we do. We must concentrate on one thing at a time and not allow the Chinese expressway to dominate our lives. In my opinion "multi-tasking" is sometimes overrated and can lead to poor performance. The time that you thought you saved by multi-tasking you end up squandering when you have to go back to "do it again." But multi-tasking in and of itself still requires great focus. Every great boxer learns to fight one punch at a time. Every great chess player learns to play one move at a time. It takes intense focus and concentration to to be great at anything in life. This week be careful not to get bogged down in everything and end up accomplishing nothing. Set goals for yourself, create a prioritized list of things to do and FOCUS on one thing at a time with the goal of perfection. Don't "just do it", do it right this week. Make a concerted effort to turn of Twitter, Facebook, the television and your cell phones so that you can lock into the project that is before you. I once heard a pastor say that the only difference between a lightbulb and a laser beam is one is more focused than the other.  This is my Monday Morning Jab and I hope it connects; especially with the writer.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


By: Deric Muhammad

( - They play tough positions on professional football teams, hold high political offices, supervise construction shifts and preach in the pulpits of spiritual places of worship. They are leaders of street organizations, captains of corporate industry, hard-core rap stars and short-order cooks. Who are they? They are Black males who were molested as boys.

While the rape and molestation of females has spawned a plethora of preventive programs and inspired international dialogue, the ever increasing rape of young boys is still a taboo subject. Statistics say that the abuse of young boys is on the rise, but I wonder how accurate those stats could be given the fact that most men who have been abused would never discuss or admit it.

As a Black male in America I have never had a friend, associate or family member confess that they were sexually abused. As an activist, I have assisted many with different types of criminal cases, social issues and problems. However, I have never received a phone call from a male stating that he had been sexually violated. It can be likened to the proverbial bowling ball underneath the living room rug; you can't see it, but you can't stop tripping over it.

How many Black men walk the streets of America suffering from such an unfortunate past? How many of them fear society's ridicule if they should choose to talk about it? How many sick molesters of boys depend on this very fear to remain unpunished and continue their victimization of the innocent? And how much of financial resources, time, energy and organization is being invested in programs that identify, support and promote the healing of men who were molested as children?


"Too often the pain and embarrassment of the community is made to be more important than the pain of the victim. So while we are able to put on a good face for the community in the end it comes back to haunt us."

Recently famed movie director/actor/entrepreneur Tyler Perry personally went on record about being abused as a young boy. Hundreds of news reports quoted Perry's sentiments about a deceased man whose family asked that Perry pay for his funeral. Perry reportedly refused, but later regretted it. He said that there would have been something powerful about burying the man that molested him.

Whether people agreed with Perry's sentiments or not, you have to respect his courageous address of his past in hopes of inspiring someone else's future. Years ago Oprah Winfrey went public about details of her experience being molested as a young girl. The world showered her with sympathy and rallied around her in support. I wonder if Mr. Perry has received the same outpour considering he is a man. God forbid the same world that rallied around Oprah secretly sees Mr. Perry as a weak human being because of his reported past.

While the Catholic Church has for years been marred by scandal on top of scandal surrounding this issue, I contend that child molestation has no religion. While it happens every day in the Black community, it is very seldom discussed. Too often the pain and embarrassment of the community is made to be more important than the pain of the victim. So while we are able to put on a good face for the community in the end it comes back to haunt us.

Psychologists say that boys who have been molested tend to suffer from depression, repressed anger, emotional confusion and fear. Many suffer from identity crises, drug addiction, alcoholism and the inability to maintain good relationships. Many go on to become molesters themselves repeating the very horrific acts that inflicted such great pain in their lives. Some end up committing suicide leaving their families with unanswered questions and visible teardrops.

While it should be clear that we as a community must do more to protect our young girls from rape and molestation, we must not forget to sharpen our collective eye to protect our boys. We must be mindful of their surroundings at all times and be careful whose hands we leave them in.

Parents must teach little boys regarding appropriate contact versus inappropriate contact with others. This conversation is no longer just reserved for little girls.

If you are a man who has suffered this kind of abuse, seek refuge in God for He is the master healer of all wounds. Be encouraged and know that the abuse from your past makes you no less of a man. As a matter of fact, your strength to persevere in the name of God makes you greater than most men. Much respect to Tyler Perry.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Photo Highlights: Community Leadership Luncheon held at Lone Star Community College

(A Lone Star Student speaks on the importance of cultural understanding between teacher and student.)

(LSCC North President Dr. Steve Head shares plans with the community for the construction of a 70,000 square foot location being built in the historic Acres Homes Community.)

(Lone Star College Professor Rhonda Ragsdale shares her perspective on culture and education.)

(Educator, Marlon Henderson(r), empasized the need for a real study in Black History.)

(Community Activist Deric Muhammad and Dr. Head take questions.)

(Atty. Warren Fitzgerald (standing) spoke to the need for community's to accept the responsibility of teaching culture to it's youth. Seated (l) is Black Broadcasting Network President Yusef Muhammad.)

(One of many Lone Star students weigh in on the discussion.)

(Educator Alicia Jackson and Community Activist Parnell Herbert (l) listen attentively to the candid discussion.)