Monday, July 27, 2009

Farrakhan Speaks: "The Crucifixion of Michael Jackson and All Responsible Black Leadership"

Did you know that Michael Jackson was a lecturer? That he was poised to sing "Man in the Mirror" at the 1995 Million Man March, but donated $100,000 to the March instead? That he forgave his father and had mending their relationship? That he was considered an arch angel? I didn't either until Min. Farrakhan revealed a part of M.J. many were unaware of.

Didn't get to view The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan issue his powerful insight into and defense of Michael Jackson this past Sunday? Not to worry. Visit for the CD or DVD and visit your local spot, the brother on the corner, or for the Final Call's coverage of his address.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Deafening Silence on Respecting and Protecting the Black Female

Rochelle Bilal, president Guardian Civic League

With all the uproar, national news and debates about Professor Henry Louis Gates, the esteemed historian who was arrested by a white police officer inside his the details...the death threats against a black police woman in Philadelphia are flying under the radar - cable news that is.

Sure, it's made some national news, but where is the outrage and concern by the pundints- the same ones who are demanding that President Barack Obama apologizes to the arresting officer in Gates' incident for, uhhh, weighing in on the incident, after being asked to by a reporter. What would they be saying if the President said 'no comment?' It hasn't even matched the routine coverage of over-sexed, adulterous politicians.

Oops, i digressed..anyway..

I found the story on, originally posted on

According to, Rochelle Bilal works in narcotics intelligence for the Philadelphia Police Department. She is the president of the Guardian Civic League, its black police association. Recently, the League filed a lawsuit against the department over the website, alleging it is a discussion board for hundreds of racist rants.

According to reports, the site is not run by the department, but is administered by a police sergeant. WHAT??????!!!

Since protesting the site as hurtful to her people and divisive to the department, Ms. Bilal has received death threats, including one suggesting that she deserved to be gang raped. WHAT????? !!!!

So far the city and department have blocked access to the site, reports, but I believe more should occur. From the department, certainly. But really, from our community. We're drawn into a real, frank and even necessary discussion about when, why and how Prof. Gates was arrested and racial profiling dialogues have exploded again, at least in the mainstream, but they've been ongoing in our communities. Why aren't cable news networks on fire with or digging into this issue - and I don't mean a 3-minute story or headline. They are snorting everything out about Michael Jackson (where did he buy his jacket buttons; interviewing seamstresses who hemmed his pants, staking out the home of people who shined his shoes - digging up dirt on this brother).

The local NAACP has gotten involved but the major media networks should investigate and illuminate this issue with the same vigor they go after other stories.

Better yet, Why Aren't We?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson Homegoing

(Look for more on the Michael Jackson Public Memorial in next week's issue of the Final Call!)

Celebration and sorrow filled the air inside the Staples Center during the Michael Jackson Public Memorial Service.

In a few words, the King of Pop's home-going was classy, somber, star-studded, exciting, all at the same time.  Out of millions of people, journalists in the world, Allah blessed me to be inside the center with Ali, my husband and constant Final Call companion.  

The Final Call was not just on the inside, but we were three rows from the floor in the first section from the stage, and slightly elevated, so we could see everyone and everything coming in and going out:  the Jackson Family, Chris Brown, Dick Gregory, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Lionel Richie, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and his children, Mustapha, Joshua and Maria, Spike and Tonya Lee, Rev. Al Sharpton, Berry Gordy, Sean Combs (P-Diddy), Don King, Mike Tyson, Smokey Robinson, Rev. Michael Eric Dyson, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Kyla Pratt, Terry Crews, and on and on.

As you may have witnessed, there were countless, memorable moments during the ceremony but Paris, Michael's 11-year-0ld-daughter, pulled all the reservation and 'keep-it-togetherness' out of the audience when she spoke about her daddy being the best anyone could imagine.
In the section just above us fans began sobbing and weeping loudly, just as they did when Stevie Wonder sang.  

One woman kept reaching out her arm to the child and covering her mouth with her t-shirt to try to control herself, but she couldn't help it.  She wasn't the only one.  We could hear the sobs throughout the Staples Center, just as clearly as we heard the periodic outbursts of "We love you, Michael," and "Thanks for making me a better person, Michael!"

For the record, one news pundit reported that Smokey Robinson false started the ceremony, however, he didn't.  While I was greeting Min. Farrakhan and his family and delegation, the announcer began ushering everyone to their seats and the memorial began.  I'd gotten a text from our son, Askia, that the Jacksons' motorcade was enroute from their private ceremony at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

After Mr. Robinson read statements from Diana Ross and Nelson Mandela, the Jacksons arrived and out of respect, things paused.  The center erupted in applause and recognition of them and once they were all seated, every one of them and their guests, the service resumed.  
The break wasn't a mistake or error.  This was right to do.  It's how we do things.

We noted no  incidents in or outside that could have spoiled the occasion.  As we were driving inside the perimeter, police officers were scolding a few vendors who were walking through traffic, but nothing else.  No one seemed to mind the long lines and wait to enter the Staples Center.  

When we got into the "hot zone," we saw about 300 people in line, leading from the beginning of the LAPD check point, extending under an overpass and nearly to the freeway, but we turned into our parking structure before I could see where the line actually ended.

My husband and I realized that by 9 p.m. we were still reflecting on the day so much that we still had on our wristbands.  "The Staples Center was transformed by the spirit of the people, which reflected the spirit of Michael Jackson.  The magnitude, for me, could only compare to the Million Man March, meaning like the millions of men who wept at the March, I couldn't help but weep during parts of the tribute - when his daughter spoke and when Rev. Sharpton fired up the audience," Ali later shared with me.

I think what impacted me most about the service was the realization that the Jacksons are people too.  We get caught up in their star power, mystique, and fortune, but at the end of the day, they stood on that stage, together, Black, Bold, Beautiful, and unified, to give their loved one his due.

Thank you Jackson Family for letting us share in this moment in such a big way.

RIP Michael Jackson.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

LIVE! From Neverland

While millions of Michael Jackson fans scrambled to win lottery tickets to his memorial service on July 7, hundreds more had a down home celebration of life at the front entrance to his Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County.

From the time we hit Figueroa Mountain Road leading to the property, we could hear his music blasting from the back of parked cars and sonic boom boxes.  

This crew didn't care about the restricted dance floor.  They still rocked a limited version of the electric slide when P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) came on!

I can't lie, I wanted to bust a move so bad, but you know.  I didn't.   (But Ali and I did take a picture.....)

People had come from everywhere:  Norway, the Phillipines, London, Guatemala.  Although they were sad about his passing, they said they found joy in hearing his songs and just being there with each other.  

We met a lot of interesting fans like Kena Sage from Atlanta.  She just happened to be in L.A. on business when Michael died. 

Wiedjai Sewgobind from London says he's been crying all week and yesterday, when he arrived at Neverland, really was the first time he felt better.

More in the next issue of the Final Call, God willing!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Finally, a farewell

The 10:00 A.M. press conference on the King of Pop's memorial service was a media, and nearly fan, frenzy!

Speculation about when, where and how Michael Jackson would be memorialized were put aside this morning when a Jackson Family representative and City of Los Angeles officials  confirmed that his memorial will take place Tuesday, July 7 at two venues Downtown L.A.
Tim Leiweke (President of AEG (Jackson's concert promoter) and owner of the Staples Center), Jan Perry (Councilmember and Acting L.A. Mayor through Tuesday), Ken Sunshine (Jackson Family representative) and Earl Paysinger (LAPD Assistant Chief) gave no other details about the memorial's line up or expected performers or guests, but they did say without a doubt that there would be no viewing of Michael Jackson's body.

11,000 lucky fans will witness the event live in the Staples Center and 6,500 more will view it simulcast on three big screen theaters across the street in the new Nokia theater at LA Live, a new mega-entertainment center.

photos by Charlene Muhammad (l-r) LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, Ken Sunshine (Jackson Family rep), Councilmember Jan Perry (podium) and Tim Leiweke, President AEG - Staples Center owner).

Media trucks and reporters flooded both parking lots at the intersection in front of the Staples Center.

The highly anticipated event will also be distributed via a world wide pool feed for free.

Within minutes of the announcement, eager fans caused to crash.

Fans have until tomorrow at 6 p.m to register for two each of the 7,050 tickets on hand.  Between 11 A.M. and 8 P.M. Sunday, fans selected from a random drawing will be notified how to pick up their mandatory tickets and wristbands.
Without them, Chief Paysinger said, people will not be allowed in the perimeter. 

Easily, he told the Final Call, they are expecting 500,000 people or more to converge on the area. 

Ken Sunshine stressed respect for the Jackson family during what is still a very difficult time.  Chief Paysinger and Councilmember Perry stressed public safety, and Mr. Leiweke stressed that absolutely no tickets would be sold, per the family's request.

LISTEN, if you're in L.A. on other business, do yourself a favor and avoid these streets, which will be hard boundary closures on Tuesday:

Flower east,
Olympic north,
Pico south
Blaine street west.

More in the upcoming Final Calsoon, God willing!