Thursday, November 22, 2012

What the Muslims Want - What the Muslims Believe



We must bridge the gap between Blacks.  Then we must bridge the gap between Blacks and other cultures and settle on agreements and similarities, not differences.  Alliances are key.  Yes.  But we must first Accept Our Own and Be Ourselves.  Blacks of different faiths, educational backgrounds, political affiliations, social and economic status, can reach a mutual ground and build from there.  We have to for our very survival.  But the intolerance we have of what is different about us hinders our progress.

In addition to serving as National Correspondent for The Final Call Newspaper, I host and produce a radio show on the Pacifica Network's 90.7 FM/KPFK in Los Angeles.



During the November 10 Liberated Sisters radio show (http://archive.kpfk.org/mp3/kpfk_121110_130045prisonrights.MP3) a caller, John, offered some very thought-provoking comments.  He talked about the problem of Black on Black crime, the impact of aborting Black babies, and how unity and returning to our roots were some solutions to many problems we face as a people.  He made in my view some good points.

In the same vein, he said our discussion was a waste of time.  Our guests were L.A.-based activist Attorney Nana Gyamfi and Askia Muhammad, Final Call Senior Editor and News Director at WPFW in Washington, D.C.  John criticized another caller who'd given us the greetings of As Salaam Alaikum, then proceeded to insist Islam was an Arab religion.  He grew quite upset when I tried to explain it was not.  I felt and said he advocated unity then did a verbal drive-by on RK for wishing us peace.

How can we advocate returning to our roots if we in fact don't know what that divine root is; and in the process, denigrate that very root because, well, we don't know who we are and again, what it is?

The promo below and the upcoming show is inspired by our caller, John.  I appreciated his opinion and said so on the air.  It presents the opportunity for dialogue and learning.  His comments bolstered  my concern that many of our own people, whom we are here to serve, don't know -  and perhaps the don't want to know - who we are, what we believe, and why.  We are here to help. We are your servants.  We sacrifice our lives for yours.  We want peace for Black men, women and children wherever they are.  And we want universal peace, peace for those who desire real peace, as God wants it.  And we are not Arabs.  So, what does that mean?  Blacks, Arabs, these are our 'racial' descriptions but brotherly love transcends race and ethnicity - Black, White, Arab, Latino, Jew... It's about what's in the heart and mind and what flows out in actions.

And by the way, the words Arab and Islam are not some dirty little words.



I hope you will join Liberated Sisters this Saturday, November 24 from 1-2 PM PST / 3-4 Central Time / 4-5 EST when Nation of Islam Student Minister and attorney Dr. Ava Muhammad, also a National Spokesperson for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, will discuss What the Muslims Want and What the Muslims Believe.  What is Islam and how does it benefit Black people and indeed, the world?

Dr. Ava Muhammad
also host of
"Elevated Places with Dr. Ava Muhammad"
www.blogtalkradio.com/elevatedplaces

Let's bring our questions in a respectful, civilized tone to the deliberative dialogue.  Call 818-985-5735 and weigh in.  We will be taking your calls for Dr. Muhammad.  It is my desire that we can leave the show with more understanding, whether there is agreement or not.

Let's close the gap on religion and culture.  

And remember, if it's impacting your community or can uplift us as a people, let's talk about it!

Peace, Sis. Charlene Muhammad

P.S.  And while we're at it, please let's continue to support independent media like The Final Call Newspaper by subscribing (subscriptions at finalcall.com go for as little as $10 month) and KPFK Radio by becoming a listener sponsor (www.kpfk.org/pledgesupport.html) - $25 or more let's you become a member.





Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites for October 5, 2012

 Photo:  www.finalcall.com

The week was filled with so much inspiring, interesting, thought-provoking, fun and tragic news.  It was hard to select my favorites.  But homecomings won out in my selections.

The first two are homecoming pieces centered around the Honorable Minister Farrakhan.  One was for him and the other for me.

Harlem Homecoming!  Black community must change to have peace, Minister stresses in powerful N.Y. Messages

By Askia Muhammad-Senior Correspondent              

Minister Farrakhan visited New York fresh off a Caribbean tour where he met with the president of Cuba and the prime minister of Jamaica.  His September 25 return to the streets of Harlem were reminiscent of the 10-year span (1965-1975) when he headed Muhammad Mosque No. 7, Bro. Askia writes.  Min. Farrakhan became a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the voice of Malcolm X. 

“I am so happy to be home, where it all began,” Min. Farrakhan said to more than 1,000 gatherers.

Full story

My other favorite is about Minister Farrakhan’s October 3 address from Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!  That was a homegoing for me..that’s right.  Southern Girl all the way.  Before finding the Nation of Islam and moving to California, I attended SU.  Go Jaguars!  It was on that campus that Mr. Johnson, our African Studies professor, introduced me to the Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Muslim?  What’s that I thought.  What’s an X??  Prof. Johnson did more for me with that one class than he’ll ever know.  Maybe he does?  But, he’d have the boys attend class in bow ties, not pin ons, but they actually had to tie the neck ties.  The girls had to dress in skirts, no pants.  Odd we thought back then.  Today I see he was just pointing us to civilized dress styles and setting the tone for our speech and thoughts as future leaders.

Min. Farrakhan spoke from the Mini Dome, the same evening as the first U.S. Presidential debate.  I went for the spiritual guidance rather than the political ramblings of two candidates who promise as they may, cannot avert the fall of America.

Replay of Min. Farrakhan’s address.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan


Until next Friday, I hope you enjoy these favorites.  Please, spread the word and the link to Min. Farrakhan’s address in Baton Rouge and Bro. Askia Muhammad’s article on Min. Farrakhan’s New York homecoming.

Thank you Bro. Askia and The Final Call Production and NOI IT staff for making these my Friday Favorites!  Remember,

           "If it’s impacting your community or can uplift us as a people, let’s talk about it!"

Peace!  Sis. Charlene

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Favorites


       Friday Favorites


Reading and writing.  It’s my profession.  Well, reading and typing, that is.  During the week and especially on weekends, I’m reading with an eye for news of interest to The Final Call readers and for breaking news.  But I realized last week that for some reason, on Fridays, I get more pleasure from my reading.  Go figure. I don’t know why. 

Could it be Friday represents a semi-end to the standard work week - which we definitely don’t have in news cycles - I thought?  Or do I just slow down a bit on Fridays?  Either way, I felt like posting some of my favorite pieces.  They’ve made me laugh, cry, think, rejoice and some honestly, outright swear! LOL.  Ok that’s not funny but it’s true, dang it.  SEE!  I can self-correct.

Seriously though, I want to say thank you to the writers of these first Friday Favorites pieces because they’ve truly enriched me.  I’ve enjoyed their words and hope you check them out and enjoy them, too.  There are many I’d like to post but I’m hitting on just a few and just a portion of what they wrote.  The links or issue dates are here for you to read the full stories for yourselves. 


Here are my Friday Favorites for September 28, 2012.



Depression, Hip Hop and the Death of Chris Lighty:  Not Ready to die, but wanting to die

By Rosa Clemente / Photo: www.rosaclemente.com



Read her story here.

Rosa Clemente has always been a beautiful, walking symbol of strength to me.  Just as she says in her piece, we see our greats that way.  But there’s a vulnerable side.  In writing about the death of rap mogul Chris Lighty, she shares her very own personal truth and admission that she, too, wanted to die, and in so, perhaps she has saved the lives of hundreds, thousands, millions - maybe just one, and to me, that’s worth about the same if not more. 

There’s so much Sis. Rosa wrote that keeps me glued to it and thanking Allah for her with every word I read. However, it was this very paragraph that sealed the piece as my first Friday Favorite:

“As well-meaning as my friends were, they just did not get it.  Too many times those of us who deal with issues of mental health are silences, ignored or told, “everything will be all right” “you’re strong” and often we want to scream back at them and say, “How do you know everything will be all right?”  I am sick of being strong!”  When we hear that it makes us shut down even more and retreat into that corner.  When we see that look in your eye, we wish we never would have told you.  No matter how many friends you have, how many people tell you they love you, these things do not cure depression...”

The bold emphasis in her quote is mine, not hers.  But I feel her.  You feel me? 

One of my favorite entertainers, scholars, and activists, Dick Gregory [put his photo here and a link to something him] says, men often say, look at my woman...Ain’t she strong? But they’ll say, look at my Ford truck out there.  Isn’t she beautiful?  And I feel him.  A lot of times, when people attribute strength to the Black woman, the thing that comes right after is the idea that she can do it - alone.  Ms. Independent.  Isn’t that what R&B artist Neyo sings?  She’s got it.  She doesn’t need any help.  And we Black women are some of the biggest perpetrators of that on ourselves.  But that just isn’t the case. 

Call it a defense mechanism.  Call it a coping mechanism.  Call it what you want to, but just call it as our Hip Hop jewel Sis. Rosa so eloquently does in her piece with regard to the Hip Hop village. 

Thank you Rosa Clemente for your work, your sincerity, your struggle, and your love.  May Allah forever be pleased with you until and as you say, after the day you are SUPPOSED to leave this world.

FF

My next Friday Favorite was penned by Sis. Starla Muhammad, my hardworking sister and a true FCN Jewel.

Rap legend, MC Lyte, unstoppable

by Starla Muhammad, Final Call Staff Writer

                                                                                       

 Starla Muhammad                                                                                                                 
She interviewed my most, most, most favorite female MCs, Lyte (aka Lana Michele Moorer).  

Right off the top, Sis. Starla’s piece was favorited because she let me know that MC Lyte is offering a $100,000 college scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The scholarship is through her non-profit organization, The Hip Hop Sisters Network, founded by MC Lyte.  Do-for-self is the mantra and the solution to our struggles.   So I salute you, MC Lyte!

MC Lyte
October 1 is the deadline for applications for high school seniors to apply.  Still a chance to apply...take the shot!!


I also favorited the interview for MC Lyte’s words to FCN readers in the one-on-one interview conducted at the 2012 African Festival of the Arts in Chicago:

“I only could say to believe in yourself.  There’s so many things out here that try to deter us from being who we really are at the core.  Things that tell us it’s not cool to be nice; it’s not cool to be kind or     generous or thoughtful.  It’s cool to just take.  It’s cool to look out for self.  And to me I think kids are happiest when they are themselves and when they’re true at the core and not hung up on trying to be like the in-crowd or taking upon activities that takes them outside of who they really are, whether that’s smoking weed, whether that’s drinking, whether that it’s hitting on girls, you know, whatever that thing is, I just want them to get to the core and love themselves.”

Sis. Starla's full interview here.

More on MC Lyte's organization
@ http://www.officialmclyte.com or http://www.hiphopsisters.org.


Ahhh.  "Cha Cha Cha" takes me back to my early Cali days...



Until next Friday, I hope you enjoy these favorites as much as I did.  Thanks again Rosa Clemente and Starla Muhammad!

And remember:

If it’s impacting your community or can uplift us as a people, let’s talk about it!

Peace!  Sis. Charlene

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#AskFarrakhan Townhall just hours away!!!


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is known for making history and tonight he'll do that once again when he hosts his first ever #AskFarrakhan social media town hall meeting!

Minister Farrakhan returns to The Final Call Administration Building where he delivered many historical messages on the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  Tonight, he will answer your questions LIVE!  The event will be moderated by Final Call Assistant Editor Ashahed Muhammad, in front of an intimate, live studio audience of approximately 80 people and many more in the social media world of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, and via live webcast at www.#AskFarrakhan.noi.org.

Here are just a few behind the scenes photos from today's preparations...via Bro. Hannibal Muhammad/Phoenix, Arizona!


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Bro. Ashahed Muhammad, Final Call Assistant Editor


Bro. Ashahed Muhammad
 

Bro. Jesse Muhammad, Final Call staff writer and coordinator of the #AskFarrakhan Social Media Townhall and Bro. Ashahed


"Photomelan"  - The melanin laced camera that'll bring you the straight on sites tonight.
 

Center stage - believe, we'll be taking photos after the event right in these chairs LOL!

Friday, May 11, 2012

We Were Denied Our Rights! Oscar Grant's Family reacts to killer's appeal to overturn conviction






"We were denied our rights!"

Cephus Uncle Bobby Johnson, uncle of Oscar Grant, tells The Final Call after learning after-the-fact that Johannes Mehserle, the former cop who killed his nephew, asked a court Wednesday to overturn his involuntary manslaughter conviction.

I spoke to Mr. Johnson while he and several Grant family members were on their way to a press conference in front of the Alameda County District Attorney's Office this morning.

According to Beatrice X, an activist, also Mr. Johnson's wife, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley told the family that officials had an obligation to inform them of the hearing and that she was going to get to the bottom of who dropped the ball.  Also according to Beatrice X, the family is supposed to meet with Ms. O'Malley next week.

I phoned Ms. O'Malley's office for confirmation and to find out just what happened here.

"We're hurt.  I'm angered," Mr. Johnson said.

Where does the Grant family go from here?  Hopefully finding someone in the State of California to investigate how their victims' rights were violated, he said.

Lawyers for Mr. Mehserle said letting the conviction stand would subject officers to increased prosecution for mistakes, according to reports. According to media reports, an attorney for Mr. Mehserle stated, "All he did was make an error...We cannot put them at risk for criminal sanctions for something that amounted to police error."

But Mr. Mehserle's so-called error cost Oscar Grant, an unarmed, subdued Black, male transit rider his life, and that can never be brought back, I Am Oscar Grant activists say.

"We had a right to be informed about the hearing and to be present and we weren't.  We've traveled back and forth, miles and miles, to Los Angeles to attend court hearings during this trial and when a hearing's right next door to my house, they don't notify us! We are going to take action," Mr. Johnson said.

###



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

From Pain to Power - My Latest FCN Cover Story






I had been speaking with some of the mothers for several weeks for our new cover story and am still in awe over their strength  courage, and by their beauty.  The beauty in how they care for each other and other mothers whose children have just been killed reflects a sisterhood I feel only God could sustain.  A recurring theme in their interviews is how their relationships with God got them through the initial murders of their babies and through one day at a time, He is helping them turn their pain into power.  

I interviewed Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, Wanda Johnson, Oscar Grant's mother, Enola Causey, Donnie Causey, Jr.'s mother, Theresa Williamson, Nicole Williamson's mother, Valerie Bell, Sean Bell's mother, Denika Chatman, Kenneth Harding, Jr.'s mother, Vicky Lindsey, Lionel Whiteside's mother, LaWanda Hawkins, Reginald Hawkins' mother, and Sis. Beatrice X, our very own Muslim activist in the Stop the Killing movement.  

Producing this article brought tears to my eyes, just as I cried when I'd heard these, our babies had been murdered.  But by the time I'd typed their last sentiments, I was encouraged by their empowerment.  Their babies have been physically murdered but their spirits live on. Their lives will not be in vain by their mothers and fathers efforts to save other children.  

And as Ms. Fulton told me, "God is still in control."




Sunday, January 15, 2012

Best of Both Worlds!

Dedon Kamathi (host of KPFK's Freedom Now!), Felicia 'The Poetess' Morris (Poetess Media), Sis Charlene Muhammad (Final Call National Correspondent and host of KPFK's Liberated Sisters), Janette Robinson Flint (Black Women for Wellness), and Attorney Nana Gyamfi (Conversations on the Way Internet radio show) at the AFIBA Center in Los Angeles.
(Thanks to Bro Jabara Jumaani of the AFIBA Center and to Zuberi Fields/KPFK Operations Manager, the Production Team: Federico and Gee, and Sis. Jessie Wood, KPFK Volunteer Coordinator)



Freedom Now Banner


While waiting for my guests and the 90.7 FM KPFK remote broadcast to begin at the AFIBA Center in Los Angeles on January 14, I paused to thank Allah for the gifts that He has given me. Those gifts are the best of both worlds in print and broadcast journalism: The Final Call Newspaper and KPFK Radio!

I spent a lot of my childhood pretending to do live TV interviews and anchoring newscasts. My pet dogs, Billy (a white Labrador) and Whitey (a white Chow) were my sources. I flashed back to those moments during the show because I realized that I was living my childhood dream. (Well some of it - I'm still waiting on the millions. LOL!)

(Links to hear the 2-hour show posted below.)

But really. I say they're the best of both worlds because they are counterparts for me in the way as a journalist, I get to write articles and produce stories that are censored only by truth. We don't have to worry about telling 'a' truth to fit the readers or listeners. The stories and broadcasts focus on the people and what is impacting their lives every day and at both entities, I'm able to be a part of teams that bring those stories out. I thank Allah!

I thank the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for permitting me to write for The Final Call and KPFK for the platform to develop and present Liberated Sisters.


My dear brother, Dedon Kamathi, and my dear sisters, Felicia 'The Poetess' Morris, Janette Robinson Flint, Attorney Nana Gyamfi, and Thandisizwe Chimurenga, are all a long way off from the days when I fielded the barks of my pet interviewees Billy and Whitey. But the internal joy I felt while listening to them during the show drummed up the same broad smile I'd have back in the day.

That is why I love truly independent media, which needs our support.

If you enjoy or ever enjoyed an article in The Final Call Newspaper or any broadcast on KPFK, you can help to keep them going by subscribing and becoming a listener sponsor.

You, too, can enjoy the best of both worlds! Here's how:




Thandisizwe Chimurenga (Cyberground Railroad) Dedon Kamathi (host of KPFK's Freedom Now!), Felicia 'The Poetess' Morris (Poetess Media), Attorney Nana Gyamfi (Conversations on the Way Internet radio show), Sis Charlene Muhammad (Final Call National Correspondent and host of KPFK's Liberated Sisters), Janette Robinson Flint (Black Women for Wellness).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blog Update and Liberated Sisters on Fact, Fiction and Myths about Black Women's Images






* UPDATE *

Minister Ava Muhammad's full one-on-one interview is posted...the clips are below.

Plus, I am still getting feedback about The Final Call's cover story regarding the Facts, Fiction and Myths about Black Women's images so I decided to take the conversation to the airwaves. Bro. Dedon Kamathi and I will carry the topic on our shows, Liberated Sisters and Freedom Now! at 90.7 FM KPFK, this Saturday, January 14 from 1-3 PM PST.

KPFK will broadcast live from the AFIBA Center and our guests will be local activists and artists. Part 2 of the topic is slated to run on Liberated Sisters on January 28 and the show will feature several of the sisters featured in the article. Their photos, links and one-on-ones are in progress.


Hope to see you Saturday and that you weigh in on the topic at the AFIBA Center because we'll be taking audience questions and comments. Out of the area or just can't make it? Please tun in and get your questions ready for the phone lines during Part 2.


Spread the word!!




















Peace!

Sis Charlene

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

**Extended Blog Coverage ** FACT, FICTION AND BLACK WOMEN: The Nikki Minaj, Rihanna, and Beyonce Factors





The Final Call Current Edition
"Fact, Fiction & Black Women"

I remember the moment clearly. I had just gotten checked and was sitting in the mosque, talking to sisters about how we were blessed and excited to be out for our national webcast. We were more excited because we were early and got a chance to fellowship. I get a very energetic, we can do anything spirit when I’m among my fellow sisters and I marvel at our diversity, yet similar character traits that make Black women so beautiful and strong.

Hold up! I can hear you already. “Women of all races are beautiful and strong, Sis. Charlene.” Indeed they are, but I’m talking about Black women right now and the very disturbing, historic pattern of Western media: how it manipulates our images, and how people outside of Black ethnicity tend to believe because of its negative portrayals, we are all alike.

I’m not eluding to an “us” versus “them” kind of we are better than illusion, because when our sister is down, so are we, if we understand. I’m saying obviously, we are not all alike but because of society’s negative portrayal of Black women, others outside of ourselves tend to believe what they see and are told, and that’s more of the negative, manufactured images of the sisters, rather than the positive. And those positive images are just as prevalent, yet ignored.

Oh, oh! Back to the moment...Well, I received a text from The Final Call’s Editor-in-Chief, Richard Muhammad. I’d been assigned to write about the images of Black women. I love writing about Black women and any chance I get to help tell the truth about who and what we really are.

Most of my excitement came from brainstorming right then and there a list of intelligent, loving, committed, feminine, fierce, warrior women. They work every day to improve the conditions of their people and I had an excuse to call them up and hear their voices up close! I was honored that they answered The Final Call’s request to weigh in on this topic.

Over the next 10 days, I’ll share Inshallah (God-willing) more of the interviews with 10 sources for the article.














Dr. Ava Muhammad


"There is a class issue in the Black community that’s very powerful and it’s almost as debilitating as the color problem in terms of what it has done to damage our relations with one another." Dr. Ava Muhammad



Dr. Ava Muhammad, Nation of Islam Student Minister and attorney begins my series of interviews by answering the question, what is fact and fiction surrounding Black women and their images.

(Oh, all of the interviews were conducted by phone and any audio clips I may post with or in lieu of text will be raw and unedited, and you may hear keys tapping in the background --LOL).



Her full interview in four parts:
















Connect with Minister Ava here:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The “New” New Year’s Resolution - Pt. 1








New: (adj) not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.

Year: (n) 1) the time taken by a planet to make one revolution around the sun. The length of the earth's year depends on the manner of calculation; 2) The period of 365 days (or 366 days in leap years) starting from the first of January, used for reckoning time in ordinary affairs.

Resolution: (n) a firm decision to do or not to do something.

I thought heavily on those words after hearing someone say they were going to stick to their New Year’s Resolution
this time. I also thought heavily on what foundation people make their resolutions and how strong are we in our firm decisions to do or not do something.

The fact is people have help in not keeping their resolutions. I’m not giving us an excuse. I’m just pointing out that the 24/7 commercials, billboards, and those dang free samplers at Costco lure people to spend, eat and indulge every minute.

We’ve made it through the Black Friday shopping season and people are cashing in their Christmas gift cards while merchants who could care less about Jesus - the claimed reason for the season - are laughing all the way to the bank.

Like clockwork, now it’s time for advertisers to manipulate people who promise themselves to set New Year's resolutions. Whether it’s improving their lives through weight loss, by joining a gym, or dieting, enrollment fees are about to climb and the sharks are banking on it.



My reflection on self and our people as a collective over the past year has shown that the key to change is within. There are people and places nearby with expertise in certain areas but at the end of the day, New Year's resolutions turn out to be empty promises because the norm in society is to look outward. But the level of personal accountability cannot be replaced because in the end, whatever we seek to help us stop eating, stop spending, stop drinking, or, to start doing, will be for naught unless we’ve accepted the challenge to go to war with ourselves.


“We are at war against forces within ourselves and forces outside of ourselves that keep us relegated to the condition of poverty and want,” the Honorable Minister Farrakhan said on October 16, 2011. He spoke from Mosque Maryam for part two of his address commemorating the 16th anniversary of the historic, life-saving Million Man March.

Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

Hmmm. Speaking of resolutions, that’s a resolution for ya!

But listen, he said he would take a million Black men to Washington, D.C. He worked the divine declaration that none other than God Himself could annoint. He inspired others to work the vision and not only did one million show up, but two million Black men presented themselves as living sacrifices before Allah (God)!




I’m saying - especially to myself - what Min. Farrakhan has said and proven so many times before. If we want something envision it. Look at it. Get on our prayer rugs, on our knees, and pray to God. Then get up and go to work to make it happen. Yes. It may or may not require money or resources outside of us to accomplish, but not to the point that we are taken advantage of or engaging in wasteful spending.

We should have a collective New Year’s resolution. Buy land, as Min. Farrakhan’s been admonishing us to do. Open a business. Grow a community garden.

As outlined by Sis. Starla Muhammad in The Final Call Newspaper’s year in review issue, and our one-on-one interview that'll be part two of this post, we’re facing a lot as a people and no one’s coming to save us. Let's unite and work like thunder in this year and the years to come.

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” as the African proverb states.

Happy New Year!