Why the Movement to Free Mumia Matters to the Hip Hop Community

By Tony Muhammad



“We in the house like Japanese in Japan, or Koreans in Korea

Head to Philly and free Mumia with the Kujichagulia

Singin’ is swingin’ and writin’ is fightin’

But what they writin’ got us clashin’ like titans it’s not excitin’

No question, bein’ a Black man is demandin’

The fire’s in my eyes and the flames need fannin’

The fire’s in my eyes and the flames need fannin’

The fire’s in my eyes and the flames need fannin’

With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination

With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination

With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination

With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination”                                                                

– Talib Kweli – Black Star – K.O.S. (Determination) (1998)


Talib Kweli

The above lyrics written by Talib Kweli were not just relevant to our condition as a people seventeen years ago when it was first released, but much more so today as the quality of our state of living has not improved.  In fact, it is getting worse on all levels.  The ones profiting off of our misery the most are corporate plutocrats who are by and large behind the scenes but yet invest in the very industries we fall victim to the most – entertainment, fashion, education and prison.  They design and market a world through debauchery in the form of television programming, violent and unintelligent musical expressions, educational failures and long-term prison sentences – making it all appear like the kind of life Black and Brown people are supposed to live.  In the end, the ones we end up fighting and killing theMumia-1 most is our very own. 

On this note, why is heading to Philadelphia with the aim to “free Mumia” with a self-determined spirit (the meaning of Kujichagulia) relevant to the answer to the viscous cycle of a problem that we suffer from today?  It has to do with the great truth that Journalist and Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal exposes through his writings; a great truth that if more of us take heed to, it will lead to more of us becoming awakened and compel us to improve our condition as a whole and work to restore and heal our communities.  He was imprisoned over 23 years ago, not for the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer as the Pennsylvania courts falsely claim, but for his work in exposing the truth behind the great injustices we experience on a day to day basis, including the murdering of our people by police.  If the words of Mumia were not relevant, then Public Enemy’s video Give the Peeps What They Need would not have been banned in 2002 by MTV for the hook phrase “FREE MUMIA AND H. RAP BROWN!” (H. Rap Brown being another political prisoner serving time on trumped up charges).  Likewise, if what the symbol of Mumia stands for were not of great concern to the enemy still today, then the Presidential nomination of former NAACP lawyer Debo P. Adegbile to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department would not have been rejected in by the U.S. Senate in 2013 on the basis of him having a history of working on Mumia’s defense case. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez3XlGScs2o


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

However, it is unfortunate that it often times takes incidents of crisis to remind us of the social duty that we have to ourselves and to each other in this critical hour living in a country that has never really been about restoring justice to any of us.  For over four hundred years, as Black and Indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere we have been living in a system that has been more so than anything actively working to silence our voices while we experience terror, bloodshed, repression and injustice on every level imaginable.  We must do justice among ourselves first by committing ourselves non-stop to the transmission of information inter-generationally and cross-generationally concerning the reality of our condition in America and beyond and in the best way that we can how we can defend ourselves.  The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us that we are at war and that war is being waged on us on multiple levels – through education, through business, through the criminal justice system, through food, through the water we consume and even the air that we breathe.  He says that we must be uprooted into the knowledge of the war so that we can learn how to participate in it.  For all who are reading this, this is not a scare tactic.  This is dealing with our reality.  This is justice, doing right among our own.  If we do not do justice among our own first, we cannot expect anyone else to give it to us.  KRS-One writes on pages 570 – 571 of The Gospel of HipHop:  “Asking for justice is not how an oppressed group will ever get justice.  It is when such a group begins to perform the justice they want for themselves amongst themselves that such justice appears and serves the well-being of that group.”


Pam Africa with Mumia Abu-Jamal

This past week, the conscientious community became alarmed to discover that Activist, Journalist and Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal had been hospitalized in intensive care as a result of obvious improper medical attention to his diabetic condition (as a result of being fed improper food) after being diagnosed with eczema in January.  Mumia has also been given medication that has caused his skin to swell and rupture.  Some in the activist community have regarded this act as false medication and attempted murder.  He has reportedly been frequently in a deep trance-like sleep and lethargic in his expression.  He has been shaken out of a deep sleep by guards during count. For not being awake during count, he was punished for two weeks, without calls or yard.  According to activist Pam Africa of MOVE, Mumia’s sugar level was at a dangerously high 779 after he fainted and was taken to ICU on the morning of Monday, March 30th.  (As a reference, diabetic coma is considered to be at 800)  At first, Mumia was denied visitation by his family.  But after the prison and the hospital received pressure in the form of a seemingly endless amount of phone calls and demonstrations, the family was allowed to visit.  Conscientious artists who have historically expressed support for Mumia’s release, such as Talib Kweli attempted to visit Mumia but were denied access.  After Mumia’s sugar level was brought back down to the mid-300s he was transported back to the medical prison.  Prisons are by and large unequipped to handle such serious conditions and refuse to pay extended hospital stay for the treatment of such conditions. Pam Africa has expressed that the only religious leader that has lent support for Mumia in the midst of the emergency has been The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan who said he would pay to have Mumia transported if necessary and have a doctor properly diagnose and treat his condition.  MOVE has also been in close contact with the Nation of Islam’s National and Philadelphia Prison Reform Ministry in regards to Mumia’s condition and treatment.  Student Prison Reform Minister, Gregory X Moore, who had been already working with Mumia’s defense team legally challenging Pennsylvania Senate Bill 508, which disallows inmates to speak to the media regarding their cases, commented that the family were never properly informed of Mumia’s condition or being sent to a hospital.  The family did not know about Mumia’s hospitalization until The Legal Team along with The Prison Reform Ministry went to visit him at the prison on Monday regarding the lawsuit.  Various groups are demanding that Mumia be released due to health reasons in a similar way that Amnesty International was able to get 71-year-old Herman Wallace because he had liver cancer.  For more information on this campaign, visit http://www.bringmumiahome.com.

jasiri x

Jasiri X

Artist and Activist Jasiri X, who has been in communication with MOVE and Mumia’s family, is organizing a gathering hosted by Paradise Gray of the Legendary Group X-Clan in Pittsburgh on April 24th in honor of Mumia’s birthday.  He commented, “Mumia’s voice, intellect and powerful commentary on this broken injustice system is needed now more than ever.” This is not a time to be complacent.  It is the time for conscientious artists to band up together and highlight the reality of the times we are living in, the reality of our oppressed collective condition, the reality that we have political prisoners living in America and what must be done about it all. Why artists specifically?  They have throughout the world historically been the igniters of social change.  And it is indeed an understatement that this present world is in need of just that.


Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for over 15 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009).  He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.

From Detroit to Miami and Back Again: Honoring the Vision of J Dilla Through Our Commitment to the Youth

By Tony Muhammad





Young people practice graffiti at the J Dilla Tribute

On the weekend of February 6 – 8, the Miami Hip Hop community honored the life and music of Detroit-born James Dewitt Yancey AKA J Dilla, one of the most innovative producers of the classic “boom bap” style who has inspired an innumerable amount of underground Hip Hop producers in the past 15 years.  While the concerts which were headlined by legends such as Pete Rock, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Madlib, Slum Village, Camp Lo and DJ Tony Touch and long-time underground veterans such as Wrekonize of Mayday were hailed as nothing short from amazing by many who attended, without question, the most important event of them all took place on Sunday afternoon in the Miami’s Design District – the Young Artist Workshop.  At the gathering, children ages 6 – 12 were engaged in graffiti drawing and painting and afterwards were treated to a panel discussion featuring producers such as Pete Rock, Divinci (of the Solilaquists of Sound), Dj Statik Selektah, Black Milk, Young RJ and Miami’s own Hazadis Sounds.  The longevity of a culture is greatly determined by the degree to which parents and adults actively work to pass on the rich traditions of that culture to the next generation.  The aim in mind is not to simply seek to have the youth preserve and continue the traditions, but to far exceed and improve on the creative and productive work of the previous generations as they in turn lay a foundational framework for the generations that follow.


J Dilla with one of his daughters

The young Grammy award winning music producer died at the age of 32 on February 10, 2006 from cardiac arrest resonating from his battles with lupus and the rare blood disease, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.  He is survived by two daughters whom he dearly loved. To organize a youth gathering is to fall in line with the vision of J Dilla who is described by many artists who had the opportunity to work with him as “all love.” Ms. Maureen Yancey, Dilla’s mother who is also over The J Dilla Foundation and was in attendance with family for the Miami gathering, says “One of the things he wanted me to do with his legacy was to use it to help others… kids who were musically gifted but had little hope due to poverty.”  The foundation is dedicated to the funding and encouraging of progressive music curricula and programs for the benefit of urban youth and the communities they will potentially serve.

For the majority of those who grew up in Hip Hop’s Golden Era (late 80s/early 90s) today they themselves are raising their own children and have a vested interest to have them learn about the music and the culture that have inspired them to produce the greatness that they have brought forth in the world.

DJ Heron, the organizer of the weekend long celebration, explains:


DJ Heron

“I’m a father of two wonderful boys and I want them to embed and embrace the True Culture of Boom Bap (Real Hip Hop). Ever since I was a boy I would embrace all the music my dad would listen to in the car. My Mom and Dad would take me to all the Cultural events that were happening in Flushing, Queens as a boy. It was fun but there wasn’t a lot for kids. We wanted to make an event where the parents could be at the panel and listen to the words of DJ Pete Rock, Black Milk , DJ Statik Selektah (just to name a few) and the kids be in another area doing kids things. So we joined up with Candy (Molia) from Child of This Culture Foundation and created a Young Artist Workshop for young inspiring artists so that they could play with spray paint as they wait for their parents.”

Candy with Elo

Candy Molia and daughter Elo

Also in attendance was Chapter Leader of The Dynasty Zulus Charter of the Universal Zulu Nation (based in Florida), Minister Debbie Soto along with her husband Angel Soto and children.  She commented concerning the importance of the creation of a youth component to the J Dilla Tribute gathering:


Minister Debbie Soto along with Maureen Yancey and family

“Having an event geared towards the youth during the Dilla weekend is of major significance to myself not only as a parent, as a Universal Zulu Nation member but as a proud member of this culture.  How else can they learn about the elements and actually immerse themselves into the culture if there isn’t a place for them in these events? By fostering an environment of inclusion, such as this event, we are making certain we are properly preserving and teaching the culture. To witness them soaking it all up, actively and happily participating is music to the soul.  Our generation holds the key since we are by all intensive purposes, the elders of this culture, some of us having been a part of it since its inception in 1973. As such, it is our duty to pass the figurative torch to the next generation by each one, teach one, reach one. We hold the youth’s attention for a short amount of time, we need to positively influence them with the knowledge and wisdom we have learned about our culture if we are to see it thriving in the next generation.”


Panel featuring DJ Pete Rock and others (Photo courtesy of Debbie Soto)

Professor Griff of Public Enemy says that “Revolution is not an event, it’s a process.”  In order to bring about the changes that we want to see as elders, mentors and gatekeepers in Hip Hop, it is going to require on-going commitment and work with the youth.  Playing his part to close the cultural gap generationally is local underground Hip Hop producer The Maharajah (Aka Professor Mo Re Arty).  When he is not producing, he is teaching at a middle school in Miami-Dade.  Being inspired by J Dilla himself, there is very little to no separation between whom he is in the classroom and who he is in the studio.  He comments about his consistent work exposing his own child and the children that he teaches about the great body of music that Hip Hop was founded under:


The Maharajah

“I take the art of music and music history very seriously. The art of music is truly another language for the truly appreciative listener, and knowing a least the background history of that particular musician or musicians gives the listener an even deeper understanding. A parent or teacher who is dedicated to this music, whatever genre, should have a broad pallet of understanding of music that they can expose and educate the average listener to it. My daughter, who is currently two, gets an earful on a regular basis. Be it Hip Hop, Jazz, Classical, R ‘n’ B, etc. I also sit and show her LP, CD and YouTube covers of the musicians and explain the instruments that they play. I try not to expose her to today’s current “rap” music due to the fact that it really is to “sexual base” and frankly just talking about nothing, but when she is with her mom I know that she get that earful.”

He adds:

“As for in my class I play mostly Jazz, Classical, and Hip Hop instrumentals for them. I use it as background filler while they work but every once in a while you can see student bopping their head to the music when the spirit truly hits them.”

Also inspired by J Dilla’s style of production is Detroit-based Saar Understanding Allah.  A father himself, he expresses the value of depositing his own love for music into his children.  He comments:


Saar Understanding Allah

“I think it’s very important to include my children in what I do musically because, as a child myself once I never had anyone to teach me how to play an instrument. My older sister had an electric organ that both my brother and I would play around with. But we couldn’t play a note! (Laugh) I was too shy in school to ask any of my music teachers in grade school for lessons, so I missed out on a lot. I learned to play guitar in the 7th grade, but forgotten it over time. So I started doing pause tapes in 1988. And basically it was a method of taking certain element of a song or my favorite part of a song and repeating it, sort of like how a record skips on your favorite part of a song or looping a guitar or vocal part. By doing this, it had given me an ear on how I hear music. I want my children to be able to read and write music, so that they can create masterpieces. I desire for them not to be caught up with the garbage that’s on the radio as of now. Their older brothers, though they’re aware of real music, are caught up a little into the garbage that’s out there. I want my children to be able to decipher between the two. My son gets excited when he sees me creating a song. I can see it in his eyes that he’s going to take over creatively. My daughters too.”

There is an African Proverb that says “Where there is purpose there is no failure.”  As long as we as parents, teachers and in general conscientious people continue to work to lay a strong foundation in the hearts and minds of the youth, we will continue to move closer and closer collectively towards a new of Hip Hop where Freedom, Justice and Equality will not just be the language expressed verbally in songs or in writing on canvases and walls, it will be a materialized reality through every thought and every action that we produce.  Let’s keep going to Work and, no matter what, stay the course.  Long Live the Legacy of J Dilla!

Allah (God) Willing until next time! Peace!

Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for over 15 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009).  He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.

Islam, Hip Hop’s Cultural Roots and the Need for a New Paradigm

By Tony Muhammad



“My war cry over break beats/Eating a bean pie reading up Muhammad Speaks/Teaching em’ up through flows, snares and samples/Showing them a better way and lead by example.” – Jahi of PE 2.0

The above lyrics by Jahi of PE 2.0 in the song “Spread The Words” (also featuring Jasiri X) on Chuck D’s new album The Black in Man signify connections that many believe to be long lost to Hip Hop culture today; connections that have existed since its inception.  Those are Islam and, in general, Black consciousness.


The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

In his book In The Name of Allah: A History of Clarence 13X and the Five Percenters, Wakeel Allah notes how many of the youth that belonged to the various street organizations in New York City throughout the 1960s would routinely visit
Muhammad Mosques under the leadership of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  Through the influences of the hard teaching of ministers such as Malcolm X and The Honorable Minister Louis
Farrakhan, many of them would pick up and frequently use the
common colloquialisms used in the Nation of Islam.  Among the most popular is the phrase “Word is Bond” which is derived from a question asked by Master Fard Muhammad and the answers given by his student, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad found in Lost Found Muslim Lessons No. 1 in The Supreme Wisdom of The Nation of Islam.

  1. Have you not learned that your word shall be Bond regardless of whom or what?

Answer: Yes. My word is Bond and Bond is life, and I will give my life before my word shall fail.


Clarence 13X (Father Allah) and Justice


The Fruit of Islam on security


The B-Boy Stance


Lakim Shabazz

By the late 1960s, through the influence of Clarence 13X and The Nation of Gods and Earth, the language of Islam itself would become more widespread among the youth in New York City.  Likewise mimicked would be the mannerisms exhibited by The Fruit of Islam (the military training of men in The NOI), particularly while they held security post; a posture commonly held by Clarence 13X, Justice and others in The Nation of Gods and Earth.  When Afrika Bambaataa was putting an end to the warfare between street organizations in the South Bronx, these elements, along with The Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, would become integral part of Hip Hop culture.  Hip Hop as a cultural and musical expression would ultimately spread throughout the country and throughout the world.  Everywhere Hip Hop has spread these Islamic expressions have followed.  They would dominantly shape and mold the cultural expression for over 30 years.  The FOI security stance would become known as the ever popular intimidating pose that rival Breakers and Emcees would give to one another; “The B-Boy Stance.”  The lyrics of Hip Hop artists throughout the 80s and the 90s would become pregnant with the common phrases used in The Nation of Islam and The Nation of Gods and Earth such as “Word is Bond” as well as The Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad themselves through artists who themselves have been inspired by or actual members of either The Nation of Islam or The Nation of Gods and Earth.  The enormous list of such artists include The World Famous Supreme Team, Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, K-Solo, Gang Starr, Group Home, Lakim Shabazz, Rakim, Poor Righteous Teachers, Paris, Kam, Brand Nubian, Ice Cube, Nas, Digable Planets and The Wu-Tang Clan among many others.  Artists would also typically include samples of lectures by Malcolm X, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, Student Minister Ava Muhammad and other ministers in the Nation of Islam.

Kam (1)


By the early 90s, major record labels who had business owners and investors connected to the fashion, liquor and prison industries (among others) began to change the message of the music through their influence with the goal in mind of destroying the idea of (especially Black and Brown) youth being knowledgeable producers and instead becoming more so a generation of violent offenders and unintelligent consumers.  The idea has been to totally divorce Hip Hop from Islam and any form of consciousness.



Flash forward to the present.  The corporate takeover of Hip Hop has resulted in it being reduced to a musical expression that lacks substance and is driven almost exclusively through the overabundant pleasing of the senses (i.e. alcohol, sex, drugs, violence). This trend continues with the new drama series on FOX about the music industry centered on Hip Hop, Empire. The show by itself details a family’s involvement in the cut throat and oft times illicit orientation of the commercial music industry in an age when artists and record industry personalities use deception as the base for professional and personal “advancement.”  In addition, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality and overall moral debauchery are presented as an everyday norm in the culture.  In fact, the insidious nature of the show is meant to intensify as it continues (This is how they will be able to keep a loyal viewership).  Recently, Islam, specifically the Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, which has bred so much knowledge, wisdom and spiritual guidance historically in Hip Hop culture, has now come under attack through this show.  In episode 4 titled “False Imposition,” Lucious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard) becomes interested in signing who he terms as “the most authentic rapper since Tupac,” “Titan,” who at the time was already signed by a rival label.  In the midst of it all, it is discovered that Titan grew up in the Nation of Islam which briefly troubles Lucious because “his father was killed by The Nation of Islam.”  After being sent to jail for shooting and killing a rival rapper backstage at a concert, Titan is visited by Lucious who offers him a deal that would cause him not only to breech his contract with the record label that he is signed with but also enter into a contract with Empire that will have him further compromise the principles that his community represents.  Lucious makes it clear to him that while he never would help The Nation of Islam, he will fund the rebuilding of his community (which was burned down by the rival rapper he killed) and have the recording studio in it named after him.

FOI Miami

The Fruit of Islam

While the story itself is fictitious and does include some positive imagery of The Nation of Islam (i.e. How it is said that Titan’s mother held prayer services for female prisoners when Empire Executive Cookie Lyon was in prison), to so casually and vaguely slip the idea that members of the Nation of Islam, specifically The FOI, are murderers is not only cheap, it is outright dangerous.  This is especially considering that Americans in general still to a significant degree still do not know enough about what The Life Giving and Life Changing Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Islam as a general idea are truly about.  Most peoples’ idea of Islam is shaped and molded by commercialized media, which often times has a sensationalized and iniquitous agenda of portraying Muslims as intolerable violent people.  One would have to question what the motives of the writers and producers of the show truly are.


Jay Z and Jay Electronica


Jasiri X and 1Hood


Professor Griff

Overall, there is no coincidence in terms of the timeliness of airing such a show.  In the previous seven months prior to the show airing, the Hip Hop community has been experiencing a form of resurgence in Islamic expression.  It began with the showmanship displayed by Jay Electronica at the 10th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival in July, performing on stage with an FOI uniform while Brothers in The Fruit of Islam held post around him. This event was followed by Jay Z taking his gold chain with a Nation of Gods and Earth Universal Flag on it and placing it around the neck of Jay Electronica, symbolizing the union of the two communities.  Also significant has been the meetings The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has had with the artistic community.  Likewise has been the activism of artist Jasiri X, traveling the country not just for concerts but also for demonstrations against the injustice of police brutality and murder of Black and Brown men.  Also noteworthy has been the work of Professor Griff, consistently traveling the country teaching the youth about the truth behind the music industry and the reason why Hip Hop has been altered the way that it has.  He often times mentions the name of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and his work and, hence, points his audiences in the direction of the many Mosques and Study Groups found throughout the country.

What is truly needed in these times are programs that inspire us as a people to think differently and envision greater, rather than carrying on with an old paradigm on how to make music and conduct music business that is obviously obsolete and has landed too many of us either in prison or dead – from the commercial level all the way to the street level all in the name of trying to gain a little money and a little fame.  We need a new system that is oriented towards properly educating the masses of the people in every aspect of life imaginable so that we can prosper and grow as a people.  The old model of entertainment business that works at the expense of artists and their potential consumers is out.  We need a new music industry where artists work hand in hand with community organizers and produce projects that service the needs of people and communities with the intent of developing and strengthening them; bringing Hip Hop back to its original purpose to foster Peace, Unity, Love and at the same time righteously having fun.  Change in Hip Hop as a musical expression will come when this is most realized.  For those of us who know and have vision, we must put into effect the principle of “each one, teach one” and do our part.

Until next time, Allah (God) Willing! Peace!

Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for over 15 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009).  He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.

In 2015, We Continue To Be Public Enemy

By Tony Muhammad





Public Enemy

When Public Enemy emerged in the late 1980s, they were considered to be one of the most controversial and outspoken groups in Hip Hop.  The center-theme to their music was and continues to be the overall condition of danger that Black America is in, the great injustices that it suffers on a systematic level; from governmental repression to corporate exploitation to police brutality, the exposing the enemy’s fear of a Black planet,” and the need for Black self-determination. Many have questioned what their gun crosshairs logo with a targeted man represents.  Chuck D, the leader of the group explained in a Rolling Stones interview on August 18, 2014 that “The crosshairs logo symbolized the black man in America.” He added, “A lot of people thought it was a state trooper because of the hat, but the hat is one of the ones that Run-DMC wore. The B-Boy stance and the silhouette was more like the black man on the target.”  In regards to the name “Public Enemy” he said that it represents the Black man as well.  “The United States Constitution once considered black people to be three-fifths of a human being,” Chuck D says. “If this is a public document, obviously we must be the enemy, so that’s where the name Public Enemy came from.”  At the start of 2015, despite all of the progress that is claimed, in the eyes of many, it is most apparent today that the Black man continues to be “on the target” and continues to occupy the status of “Public Enemy” in America.


Student Minister Ava Muhammad

Highlighting attention to a national protest movement against the rise of police brutality and murder in Black and Brown communities, National Spokesperson for The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and The Nation of Islam, Student Minister Ava Muhammad said at a Kwanzaa gathering in New Orleans, LA on December 27th, 2014 that we do a monumental disservice if we raise our children without regard for the state of emergency that we are in as a people.  She noted that America is quickly becoming a “fascist police state.”

In mid-January this state of emergency became even more evident, more real and more eye opening as the North Miami Beach Police Department (located in Miami-Dade County, Florida) has suspended its sniper training program after it was exposed that the mug shots of Black men were being used as targets at a shooting range.  Valerie Deant, a Florida Army National African-American-MugshotsGuard sergeant, reported to the media that while practicing at a Medley shooting range, she noticed an image of her brother, Woody, among the mug shots that we shot at.  She has stressed that her brother, who was arrested in a drag racing incident in 2000 that left two people dead, did his time, is now married with children and is no longer living a reckless lifestyle.  North Miami Beach Police Chief Scott Dennis has attempted to defend the department’s use of the mug shots of Black men by saying there was no “mal-intent or prejudice involved” and that the North Miami Beach Police did not violate any policy, law or Florida Department of Law Enforcement standard that was violated. He has further stated that the department’s use of such photographs is a technique that is widely used and is vital for facial recognition drills.


Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

Is Police Chief Scott lying about the common use of the mug shots of Black men in sniper training programs? Perhaps he’s not and because of his own overexposure to the common practice in such programs throughout the country he doesn’t see anything wrong with the behavior and doesn’t view it as being racist, although it is in fact racist.  The act itself is a conditioning that breeds and reinforces psychopathic murderous behavior towards Black people in general and Black men in particular.  For many decades and still up to this day, a black silhouette has been and is still used for common target practice, which it by itself to the white supremist mind subconsciously represents all Black men.  The gun itself, according to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, author of the classic work The Isis Papers, is a phallic shaped weapon that comes from the white supremist mind used for the aim and purpose of genetic annihilation, resonating from the paranoia that darker skinned people are “taking over.” Not coincidently, these are sentiments that have intensified atmospherically since Barack Obama was voted in as President of the United States in 2008 as gun purchases on the part of white people throughout the country have increased tremendously. It should not be a shock to us that many white police officers would share these paranoid sentiments themselves. What further complicates the matter is the increased militarization of the police in recent years, as we have witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri and the rest of the country in which the police have used tanks, military helicopters and military gear against those who have been involved in the protest movement.  The use of the mug shots of Black men by the sniper training program further intensifies the reactive sickness to target Black men or almost exclusively Black men.  It will only lead to more Black men, like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, more recently Jerame Reid of New Jersey and countless others being unjustly killed while surrendering, often times with their hands up and the murderers walking away free without indictment.

Since the 1980s, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has been warning us about a war being planned against Black people and in particular Black young men. Addressing the way police have historically handled Black people, the Minister said on October 28, 2007 in a lecture entitled Justifiable Homicide:


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

“Police were formed to catch runaway slaves, bring them back to their masters and make examples of them to throw fear into other slaves. It’s the same today. Police authorities are trained to kill, as well as to protect. But where Black people are concerned, police legitimize their mob attacks under the name of “back up.” Police back up is often no different than the lynch mobs 100 years ago. The killing of our people, shooting them with many bullets when one would have done the job. And then, that deliberative body which is to discuss the brutal murder of our people by looking into the facts, comes away calling it justifiable homicide.”

Minister Farrakhan continued by saying:

“Injustice, as I said in the Holy Day of Atonement speech from Atlanta on Oct. 16, brings its natural response no matter how long it takes. Injustice has to be answered by justice, and justice demands that what a man sows, he must eventually reap. Jesus said it well—Did he say those who live by the sword will die by marches? He didn’t say that. Did he say those who live by the sword will die by massive protest?; that those who live by the sword will die by prayers in front of public buildings and kneeling and begging and pleading? Did he say that? What did he say? Jesus said those who kill by the sword will die by the very sword that they used to kill others.”

Today, over six years later, government and law enforcement are experiencing the backlash of over 400 years of injustice in the form of protest.  Dissatisfaction in Black and Brown communities is currently at an all time high. If some form of justice is not administered, out of rage conditions in America will worsen before they improve as rebellion will move far beyond protest.  Justice, as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us, is a human need and therefore a human right.  The American Government and local governments throughout America must confront the wrong that it has and continues to commit, seek to repair the damage that it has caused and submit to making drastic institutional, cultural and economic changes if it truly desires peace and progress. It must ultimately correspond to The Upmost Desires of a Higher Power if it stands a chance to survive. The $100 billion a year budget to maintain and expand the militarization of police units would serve a greater good if it would instead be used in the re-education and industrial and agricultural development of wasted cities and communities throughout America, with a great emphasis on impoverished Black and Brown communities.  This is a fraction of what is owed, a step in the right direction.  Change can take place in America if its leadership truly desired it.  But is the desire truly there?

I leave you with these lyrics by Chuck D from the Public Enemy song Beyond Trayvon:



































Chuck D

Until next time, Allah (God) Willing,


Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for over 15 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009).  He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.

The Black and Brown Lives Matter Movement and Why It Matters To The Hip Hop Nation

By Tony Muhammad



Wake up and realise the times
That we living in the world is getting more iller than ever
Thought we was chillin’, striving change for the better
But it was a dream like Martin Luther
He had a vision that could move a mountain
Protect one another, that’s world to my brother Malcolm
As-Salaam-Alaikum, Walaikum-as-Salaam
We want justice, police supposed to protect and serve
And then they shoot us down like wild animals
The nerve of them cold-hearted killers
With blue suits slaying our black youth
The earth cries from all the blood that’s being spilled
We need a solution fast, get Insh’Allah bill
Let me educate them, translate it meaning God’s will
It goes all in together, together how we are
To stand with a plan, provided we down to fall
And that’s the Willie Lynch tactics that separated the masses
Taught us all to think backwards – Raekwon – Wu-Tang-Clan – A Better Tomorrow

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli

The title track to the new album A Better Tomorrow by the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, was one of several artistic responses to the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York in 2014 and the countless others that have resulted in no justice with the murderers allowed to walk free.  This song as well J. Cole’s Be Free speak not only to the condition of police abuse and murder that Black and Brown people consistently have suffered from historically in the United States, but also conditions that have kept our communities in a perpetual state of oppression and modern-day slavery. While the amount of musical responses to the current atmosphere of dissatisfaction may not be to

Rosa Clemente

Rosa Clemente

the level of desire from conscientious artists such as Quest Love who has stressed that Hip Hop as an artistic community has been “too silent,” yet and still Nas, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Talib Kweli, Q-Tip, Rosa Clemente, Rebel Diaz, Jasiri X and others in the Hip Hop community have shown where their hearts lie and have been consistently organizing and going to the streets, facing danger with demonstrators to play their part to demand the human right for justice.

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

While systematic brutality and murder have been oppressive realities that we have faced in the United States since its inception, qualitatively, the response has been different in recent years, especially since the vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012.  In fact, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has referred to Trayvon Martin’s murder as “a nail in the coffin of white supremacy” because of the level of awareness that it has sparked in our communities all over the country.  The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has also noted that the majority of the protests that have been organized throughout the country recently have been headed by women. This has made the level of intensity of the protests to be stronger than it has ever been felt because as The Minister also says “A mother’s love is second only to God’s.”  Mothers all over the country are tired of burying their sons and in practically every case for no indictment of the murderer to take place.


Eric Garner – Michael Brown

On August 18th, 2014, USA Today published the findings of a seven year study conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that states that “a quarter of the 400 annual deaths reported to federal authorities by local police departments were white-on-black shootings.” It furthermore stated that “18% of the black suspects were under the age of 21 when killed by the police, as opposed to just 8.7% of white suspects.”  Official “reported” statistics are usually conservative and do not speak to the extent of the reality experienced in our communities because there are so many more unreported cases.  Nevertheless, these official statistics are still high and disproportionate. Coherently, according to a study conducted by The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, in 2012 alone, 313 Black people were killed by police, security guards or vigilantes. The report further uncovers the disproportionate amount of police harassment and incarceration experienced by non-whites in comparison to whites.

Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa

What does this all mean to the Hip Hop community?  Since the early beginnings of Hip Hop culture in the late 1960s and 1970s in the South Bronx, New York (and very arguable even way before this) and now beyond, the alienated youth, mainly Blacks and Latinos, participating in its various Elements would experience constant harassment, abuse and even murder at the hands of police.  Jeff Chang in the book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation mentions on pages 97 and 98 how one of Afrika Bambaataa’s own cousins Soulski was shot and killed by police on January 6, 1975 in a way that was believed fowl play was involved. A month after Soulski’s murder, a fourteen-year-old who had been joyriding in a stolen car was shot and killed. The police claimed that he lunged at them with a weapon, but autopsies showed that he had been shot through the back.  The police officers involved in both shootings were acquitted.  Instead of retaliating with an all-out war against the police, Bambaataa, the warlord of the Black Spades himself, chose instead to bring members of the various rival street organizations together, end the violence, and build Zulu Nation and focus on developing more positive outlets for the youth to participate in.  DJs Jazzy Jay and Grandwizzard Theodore personally told me in a conversation about how the parties that Bambaataa and others were throwing in the community at the time were actually saving lives because they were keeping many of the youth off the street.

With this being said, the Founding Fathers of Hip Hop paid a price with sweat, blood and tears so that we can enjoy all of skeme-crime_in_the_city-lrgthe great things that has come out of the culture today.  We owe them not only a great amount of gratitude in words, but gratitude in the form of actual work in order to further advance the cause of saving the youth.  As it was in the early years of Hip Hop, our youth continue to hqdefaultsuffer and are in need of outlets to express their creativity today.  As it was in the early 80s, as shown in the PBS documentary Style Wars in the works of Skeme as he graffiti bombed on a New York City train “ALL YOU SEE IS CRIME IN THE CITY” with the illustration of police officer at the end with a billy club, so it is with our dealings with (mainly white) men with badges who for the most part do not understand our culture and have been trained to view all of our activity as negative with no chance for redemption.

Mural dedicated to Israel "Reefa" Hernandez

Mural dedicated to Israel “Reefa” Hernandez

Two recent incidents in Miami speak to this reality; however there are incidents like this that occur every day throughout the country. The first, on August 6, 2013, Graffiti Artist Israel “Reefa” Hernandez was tasered to death after being caught tagging on the wall of a shuttered McDonald’s. The second, on December 5th, 2014, after being caught tagging in the graffiti-filled area of Wynwood, Graffiti Artist Delbert “Demz” Rodriguez was killed when a police officer used his car as a weapon to stop him from running away.  March demonstrations and graffititagging protests have resulted in these incidents.  But after it’s all done, the

Delbert “Demz” Rodriguez

Delbert “Demz” Rodriguez

vicious cycle continues until an actual owning up of our youth and Divine Culture takes place.  We have been demanding justice all this time from a wicked system that was never designed for our benefit and will continue to deny us justice. The only sure justice is the justice that we can provide to each other and ourselves.  A New Approach is needed.



Hip Hop Icon KRS-One has been severely criticized and ridiculed, even within the Hip Hop community itself, about his self-determinist vision for Hip Hop to develop its own city.  Even if we do not subscribe to the possibility of such an occurrence in present time, the practices that we need to grow further into and maintain in this stage of our development as a people is the actual ownership of property, development of business/institutions and the accessing of resources that can serve as outlets for our youth to express themselves creatively, gain valuable internship opportunities and work training and organizing of programs that will further enrich our communities.  This falls in the same great tradition of “Do For Self” and “Establish Something of our Own” vision that great leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Cesar Chavez, Reies Tijerina, Afrika Bambaata, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan have had for us and our communities.  The question is how much do we care and how much do we love?  Are we willing to do everything we can to save our youth? Peace.

Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for over 15 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009).  He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.

Arizona Banning Hip Hop, Cultural Studies from the Curriculum; Signs of What is to Come Nationwide

By Tony Muhammad





In the midst of a national protest movement against thekilling of Black youth at the hands of police, John Huppenthal, the outgoing Superintendant of Public Instruction for the State of Arizona, published a letter in which he argues that schools in the Tuscon Unified School District are failing to comply with state-approved curricula.  In the letter, the conservative politician expresses his opposition to a particular magnet school using the “African-American perspective” expressed in an article written by Hip Hop Icon KRS-One entitled “An Introduction to Hip Hop.”  In the article itself KRS-One refers to Hip Hop as “the artistic response to oppression.”  Other material that Huppenthal cites as being a violation is the use of Rage Against the Machine lyrics and literature written from a “Mexican perspective” which expose the history of non-inclusion towards non-whites in the United States.  The school district is being given a March 4th deadline to show proof that educators are teaching in compliance with the state curricula and have removed any “objectionable material” from the curriculum.  If the school district is found to be out of compliance, it will stand to lose ten percent of its federal funding for the next school year.


John Huppenthal

John Huppenthal

In 2010, Huppenthal, had a history course that taught history from a “Mexican perspective” banned because of concerns that the content would “promote the overthrow of the national government, “promote resentment toward a race or class of people” and “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”  This initiative was occurring at the same time that the Texas Board of Education approved of textbooks that soften and inaccurately depict the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade experience, the realities of American imperialism and the damaging effects of capitalism.

This being one of the final actions of Huppenthal as Superintendant is reminiscent of the language used in a speech by Virginia House of Delegates member Henry Berry in 1832, as cited on pages 185 to 186 in the monumental book Message to the Blackman in America by The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  Berry said that those in power had “as far possible, closed every avenue by which light may enter the slave’s mind.”  While social circumstances have indeed considerably changed in the United States since 1832, the position of and the effort to uphold white supremacy as the dominant ideology has not.  5136k4f5mfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

White conservatives such as Huppenthal recognize how much of a threat teaching Black and “Latino” students the knowledge of their true history and culture poses to the white supremist social structure.  It would prompt more Black and “Latino” youth to abandon the dependency standard (“finish school and beg someone for a job”) model of “success” that America superimposes and instead adopt a more fulfilling approach that is oriented towards entrepreneurship, economic unity and community development.





Jay Electronica

The banning of artistic and conscientious Hip Hop literature is very significant for multiple reasons.  (1) It provides a creative knowledge-based alternative that many of our youth today never knew existed because of their lack of exposure to conscientious artists of today, such as Sa-Roc, Jasiri X and Jay Electronica, and the generational gaps that exist between themselves and those who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s Golden Era of the Culture.  (2) The type of ideas that KRS-One shares in the very writing that Huppenthal expresses so much concern over are not ones that are bound to the ways and operations of this present world; but rather are oriented towards getting readers to become aware of themselves and their environments and begin seeing themselves in their True Divine Light and produce something New of Substance.  (3) To inspire young people to look deeper and research the History of Hip Hop itself they would most surely come across how knowledge was used by its founders, such as Africa Bambaataa and many artists of its Golden Era like KRS-One, Public Enemy and X-Clan to uplift and unite the community.  At the root of the knowledge that was taught was The Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the most sampled voice that they would hear in the music of that era is that of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.  To allow consciousness through artistic expression would inspire young people to begin abandoning the practice of mindless consumerism and move towards a more critical mode of thinking that is oriented towards earning, saving, building, “doing for self,” and doing much needed Work among our people.

Jasiri X

Jasiri X


This attack on True Education through Arts and Culture should not be viewed as an isolated incident or something that will be limited to school systems in Arizona. For the past 15 years public schools, school systems and colleges and universities all over the United States have been steadily cutting courses and arts programs geared towards enriching the minds and cultural development of the youth. What has replaced them is a “teach to the standardized exam” curriculum that is leaving the majority of children throughout the country behind in terms of educational achievement, cultural awareness, creative growth and moral development. The solution rests on those who are aware of the need to develop alternative home-schooling, private education and after-school and weekend programs for our youth.  In every community, city or town the vision to produce something new and beneficial begins with one.  It’s the actual working of that vision is what ultimately inspires others to get involved and expand it tenfold.  The most important question you must answer is “Am I the one?”

Peace! Allah (God) Willing until next time!

Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for over 15 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009).  He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.

Separating the Darkness So That We May See the Light: Guidance for the Hip Hop Community in 2013 and Beyond

By Bro. Tony Muhammad



The marked end of The Mayan Calendar on December 21st, 2012 as noted in the KRS-One song Aztechnical does not mean that life on planet Earth itself is going to end any time soon due to cataclysmic events. But rather, just as many Biblical Prophecies, Qur’anic Prophecies, the pyramid prophecies of Ancient Egypt (Kemet), the end of The Age of Pisces/beginning of the Age of Aquarius and other prophetic histories that are “written in advanced,” the end of The Mayan Calendar points to, above all else, the end of an old state of being and the steady movement towards a new age of spiritual and intellectual Awakening; into the very nature and reality of Self.

This is the consciousness and manifestation of God in the person of human being, which is also known as “The Hereafter.” This is not talking about a state of consciousness that we experience after we physically die, but an actual physical condition experienced here on Earth while we are still living.  Furthermore, “The Hereafter” is a state of being in which we are actively working to manifest The Divine in any way imaginable, while continuously removing obstructions that impede our progress from achieving this Ultimate Goal.  As Edgar Cayce, a legend within the New Thought Movement, said “For you grow to heaven, you don’t go to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there …”

Hip Hop, as a culture and as a community, must move in this direction of Divine Order if it stands a chance to survive. Movement towards The Divine, in this sense, is not a partial occurrence, as it has been experienced in the Movement in the past (particularly in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s). Rather, The Time we are living in warrants a holistic change, incorporating all aspects of living – from the way that we think, perform, eat and even rest.

In essence, the root of making all things new in our way of life derives from what The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has referred to as The Most Powerful Creative Force which is Love, The Building Blocks that gave shape and form to the very Universe itself.  We along with everything in Creation itself exist because of Unconditional Love, which is Biblically synonymous with The Creator of The Heavens and The Earth Himself.

“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8).

It is because of Unconditional Love for the people, that one of the most influential Founding Fathers of Hip Hop culture, Afrika Bambaataa, was able to end gang violence in The South Bronx in the early 1970s.  It was gang violence that was leading to heightened levels of death among the youth.  In a gradual process, after entering into Divine Knowledge that he had learned from different communities at the time, including The Nation of Islam, The Nation of Gods and Earth and The Moorish Science Temple.  He utilized that knowledge to separate the darkness (or condition of gross ignorance) that lurked in his own mind and discovered the Divine Light that was buried within him the whole time of his own existence.  From there, he summoned the Divine Forces within himself and all of the Forces outside of himself.  They manifested themselves in the form of the gang members in the community, which he considered to be his family.  He called for peace, and established it under the banner of the first Hip Hop activist organization called Universal Zulu Nation.


Afrika Bambaataa and Tony Muhammad

But just in the very nature of Love being a creative force he also summoned all of the Divine Expressions or Elements in the environment that also lurked in the dark (DJing, Emceeing, Breaking, Graffiti) and gave them aim, purpose, shape and form into the Universal Cultural Expression known as Hip Hop.  Afrika Bambaataa himself says in an interview with East-3.com, which was featured on Daveyd.com:

“It is Afrika Bambaataa to whom named and called each entity of BBoys/BGirls/DJaying/MCs/Aerosol Writing and adding The Most important Knowledge as the main Element of Hip Hop Culture and Brother KRS One helped to add more, with a few other as Plus Elements to the main Key elements of Hip Hop Culture. No one else never used or thought of naming each entity of the Culture an Element or to say that this Movement that we all are doing is called Hip Hop Culture or to recognize it as a World Movement. The Birth of this movement is The Bronx, New York City, New York Republic, but Rap is as Ancient as The creation of Humans itself.”

As noted by Afrika Bambaataa himself, this Divine Process falls in line with the great tradition of Motion of The Ancients themselves.  It goes as far back as The Great River Valley Civilizations of Kemet, Arabia, Sumeria and China in which the richness of the environment was extracted from (cultivated), given form, given aim and given purpose.   And even long before that, it is in line with the actual Self-Creation of The Creator Himself, separating Triple Darkness from Light, and giving Himself and the Universe form using the very rich aquatic material found in the Triple Darkness itself.  This Divine process mentioned in a coded way in both Bible and Holy Qur’an:

“He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters At the boundary of light and darkness.” (Job 26:10)

“Praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and made darkness and light. Yet those who disbelieve set up equals to their Lord.  He it is Who created you from clay, then He decreed a term. And there is a term named with Him; still you doubt.” (Holy Qur’an 6:1 – 2)

Just as it was in these Noble Divine Beginnings, so it can be with Hip Hop once again.  The culture overall has fallen in a state of spiritual darkness and has stayed there for well over a decade.  It’s most illuminating voices have been kept buried, hence “Underground.” But now, it just takes one with unconditional love within an organization, a town or a city to have the courage to unbury these luminaries, bring them together and put their gifts and talents to use for what they are Divinely intended to fulfill – UPLIFT HUMAN BEINGS, FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES TO THEIR GREATEST POTENTIAL!  ARE YOU THE ONE THAT CAN FULFILL THIS?

Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for over 10 years and is currently involved in The MIA (Music Is Alive) Campaign for the development of the National Hip Hop Day of Service.  Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference.  He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Rasul Hakim Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.