The world is still mourning the loss of The Champ Muhammad Ali. My social media timelines have been flooded with various quotes, pictures and videos of The Greatest boxer ever. While the out pouring of love for him and his legacy is beautiful, let’s be clear about something:
HE WAS OURS.
And by ours I mean Black Muslims. Black people.
America (and some Muslims) have a tendency to try and separate Black Muslims, black athletes, black well-known figures, etc from their blackness. We see it constantly with Malcolm X and Dr. King, and it’s happening with Ali. But make no mistake, Ali was for the people by the people.
Malcolm was our Black Shining Prince, and Ali was our Black Dynamic General.
He was a strong black man and proud.
He was BLACKITY BLACK BLACK BLACK.
Originally I wasn’t going to post anything about this because my sista Nadirah Angail pretty much handled it but I still see some folks still trying to say he “transcended race” and blah blah blah. The main reason why American society grew to love Muhammad Ali so much was because he could no longer speak. Before Parkinson’s Disease ravaged his body, Muhammad Ali was quite vocal about the status of Black Americans. He was proud to be black and spoke out about the injustices being done to us. He was a fearless and unapologetic Black Man.
Furthermore, he was a part of the community. Especially the black Muslim American community. There are many a stories of Ali coming to our schools, our businesses, showing up at our conventions, and he was ONE OF US. No hoopla, no bodyguards, just him and us. He would build with the parents and playfully spar with the children. He was part of our community. And that expanded to the rest of our brothas and sistas. He believed in, invested in and fought for his people here in America. He gave little black children all across this country the encouragement to also proudly proclaim their greatness and not be ashamed of who they are. He didn’t waver in his beliefs, and at the time in which he was living, that was a revolutionary act. Truth be told, if Muhammad Ali made the statements in 20-whatever that he made in 197-whatever, I’m willing to bet the price of 30 bean pies that he would not be as loved and revered as he’s become in the past 72 hours.
Study him. Love him. Be inspired by him. But make no mistake, Muhammad Ali was a strong Black Muslim Man who knew who he was and was confident about it. That can not, should not, and will not EVER be forgotten, over looked, or ignored.
Know your history. Know MY history.