Thousands of women hear powerful message from Min. Farrakhan on their value, their gifts and the vital role in the survival of Black America

By Starla Muhammad

CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) - Mounting the rostrum at Mosque Maryam at the Nation of Islam’s headquarters, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, with a beaming smile, stood before a packed audience of women, teens and girls, and delivered an insightful and impactful message with the gentle protectiveness and loving firmness of a father, big brother and protector. He spoke on the value and importance of the woman as a co-creator with God who must be respected and protected in the face of injustices and abuses they face globally. 

The Muslim leader explained the meaning and purpose of the all women’s class established in the Nation of Islam called the Muslim Girls Training and General Civilization Class (M.G.T and G.C.C.) and the value of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in rebuilding, educating and elevating in particular, the Black woman during the “Save Our Girls: A Nation Can Rise No Higher Than Its Woman” program April 18 which was broadcast via internet webcast in Nation of Islam mosques and study groups in the U.S., Caribbean, Europe and other countries.
Mosque Maryam was packed and overflow crowds viewed the program next door in the gymnasium at Muhammad University of Islam.

The M.G.T. class meets every Saturday and is for registered women and girls of the Nation of Islam, but was opened up for this historic and unique program for all women and girls. 

Min. Farrakhan thanked Sandy Muhammad, National M.G.T. Student Captain of the Nation of Islam, who coordinates and oversees the women’s class and all of the Chicago presenters who demonstrated on the world stage, the gifts, skills and talents the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad cultivates within Nation of Islam women through the study and practical application of specifically designed Training Units. The teachings promote spiritual and moral development, intellectual pursuits, proper home and family life, self-love and skills such as sewing, cooking, entrepreneurship,  and self-defense.

The powerful program at Mosque Maryam showcased each of the units with women teaching about the value and place of women, spiritual values, moral virtues and other important subjects alongside a fashion show, with clothing designed by and created by Muslim women, a military drill exhibition and a martial arts exhibition.

“Such a beautiful and seamless program. If I had a vest on, all the buttons on my vest would have been busted by now,” he said smiling. The Minister said that watching the two-hour presentations he was overwhelmed and it brought tears to his eyes.

“As I thought of him who taught me and taught us, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, how proud he is to see you marching forward as Muslim women and girls to show the world what a righteous woman looks like,” said Min. Farrakhan as the audience applauded [READ MORE]


Houston Press Conference to Focus on the Extreme Health Care Crisis of Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

April 12, 2015

Contact:  Gloria Rubac      713-503-2633
                Liliana Noonan  281-732 7106 (español)             


Houston Press Conference to Focus on the Extreme Health Care Crisis of Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal; Activists Demand No Execution by Medical Neglect

Houstonians will gather at the Mickey Leland Federal Building, 1919 Smith Street, for a press conference at 5:00 p.m. on Monday April 13, to highlight the critical health crisis of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Abu-Jamal is an internationally celebrated African American writer and radio journalist. He is the author of six books and hundreds of columns and articles. He is a former member of the Black Panther Party and a supporter of the MOVE organization who has spent the last 30 years in prison, almost all of it in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s death row.

Abu-Jamal was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, an incident which took place on December 9, 1981. Following the October, 2011 Supreme Court ruling that vacated his death sentence, Abu-Jamal was put into the general prison population in January 2012.

In January of this year, Abu-Jamal asked for treatment for an increasingly serious skin problem that spread over his entire body. He was treated with antibiotics and steroids which caused a severe allergic reaction. He was admitted to the infirmary.

On February 17 Mumia weighed 268 pounds. When he was discharged from the infirmary a week later he had lost over twenty pounds. On March 30, when he was taken to the hospital in a diabetic shock with his blood sugar at almost 800, his weight had dropped to 184 pounds.

“Like his wife, children and supporters around the world, we believe that the prison is killing Mumia by medical neglect. We will not stand by while they murder him,” said activist Joanne Gavin with the Abolition Movement. “We will make phone calls to the prison head and to the Pennsylvania governor. We will protest and notify the media. We will raise money for his family to make the trips necessary to visit Mumia and monitor his condition. And we demand Mumia be allowed the private doctors of his choice.”



Martese Johnson’s bloody encounter with officers proves racestill defines Black reality

(FinalCall.com) - Third-year University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson survived an alleged assault by a group of Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control officers, but faces a fight for his good name and to avoid a criminal conviction.

Support for the young leader has been strong: The university president has come out in support of Martese as has the vice president for diversity. Protestors have been in the streets and on campus demanding justice. The governor of Virginia has called for an investigation.

Almost all asked the same question: How could this happen to Martese, clean cut, bright, active and law-abiding?

“As a Black man, a University of Virginia alumni and as someone who has covered discriminatory police violence against Black men and women the last two years, my hands were literally shaking over my laptop as I tried to write about the beating of Martese Johnson,” wrote Jason Johnson, a Hiram College political science professor, in an op-ed published on www.nbcnews.com.

“I kept hearing his scream, ‘I go to UVA You F***s’ as cops knee him in the back, face beaten and bloodied in a public street in front of all of his classmates. It is a nauseating reminder that no amount of education, poise or good behavior can protect a Black person in America. We are all, one cop, one vigilante, one maniac away from being racially victimized regardless of what investigations come afterwards,” he observed.

“College is a microcosm of the real world, sometimes education, being refined, being respectable, does not shield you from racism. We as persons of color who work with college students have to prepare our students for the harsh reality life, that no matter who you are, what you wear, what you do, you can still be a victim of racism,” said David Julius Ford, Ph.D., who is on the faculty of James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Va.

Dr. Ford was driven to pursue his doctorate by a desire to work with Black male students, who face challenges in higher education and need support. He has done academic, personal and other counseling with students and knew Martese from speaking at a fraternity banquet at the University of Virginia.

“I hate to say this but I’ve seen (racism on campus) so much, I’ve become desensitized to it. That isn’t to say I’m not willing to speak out against it, but I am no longer shocked or angered by it because it’s become commonplace,” said Dr. Ford.
Faculty members have to use their curriculums to show what is happening and validate what students feel, “to listen and empathize with them,” he said. 

“A lot of professionals, no matter what ethnicity of the person—Black, White, Latino, Asian or whatever—I think we are losing that level of empathy for African American male students and therefore we are losing them,” said Dr. Ford.


Promoting Modest Fashion: Halimah Nia Muhammad writes on why she wants to become the 2015 Fashion IT Girl

My name is Halimah Nia Muhammad. I am 17 years old and an aspiring fashion designer. I was taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan that each and every one of us have a purpose and mission in life. We all have something that we can do excellently that can benefit and serve people.

I believe my mission is as follows: To encourage self love and modest fashion for women and girls. I aspire to do so as a modest fashion designer with a message of self love and respect.
This has been a dream of mine since I was very young. At around 5 years old I would sketch designs, safety pin my mothers draping scarfs together to make dresses, and have mini amateur fashion shows down my hallway. At that time I was showing early signs of what was to come. My parents invested in sewing classes for me, and strived to keep me focused on educating and developing myself. Today, I am approaching my high school graduation. In the fall I will be a fashion design student at Kent State University, one of the best fashion schools in the country. I currently have a youtube channel and website where I strive to promote modest fashion, self love, and respect as well.

I am currently competing to become a 2015 Fashion IT girl! Winning this competition will allow me to have a paid 2 week fashion internship in New York City with two fashion companies 'Fame&Partners' and 'Asos' ! As an intern I will learn the process of creating, marketing and managing a fashion commerce website, how to promote fashion products online and through traditional channels, all about content marketing and social media, the process of trend forecasting; how Fame&Partners takes inspiration online to create a monthly capsule collection, the process of designing a dress from market research to design to specification, about the fabric selection and sourcing process, the production process for manufacturing formal dresses, the process of offering styling support and advice and potentially have the opportunity to attend industry events!

As an intern I will be responsible for contributing to the design process for the active capsule collection, contributing to the development of marketing materials, attend photo shoots where required as a styling assistant, researching key celebrity trends, researching key fashion trends, posting social media posts,writing blog articles, customer service support where required and attend industry events if the opportunity arises. Winning this opportunity would be a huge jumpstart to my career and would greatly help me in achieving my goals.

My goals in fashion are as follows: God willing I will launch a fashion line self-entitled HalimahNia, with designs featured in every major city in the world. The clothing line will be featured in a local store, or my own HalimahNia store based there. This will not only offer a beautiful product but produce positive financial and educational opportunities for millions of young men and women all over the world as well. I will host fashion shows around the country to raise money for charities. Particularly organizations that fight against sex-trafficking, encourage knowledge for self and black history for inner city youth (such as my former institutions of learning Muhammad University of Islam), and encourage self-love and respect for women and girls (like a powerful organization based in Detroit, Michigan, FromGirls2Goddess).

I want to use my fashion and business skills to creatively host fashion shows that are entertaining, promote modest fashion, and produce proceeds that can support positive causes. I will also have my designs featured in New York, Milan, Paris, and Tokyo's fashion runways. In order to accomplish these aspirations I need to gain more knowledge and skill, this internship will grant me the opportunity to do just that.

If you believe in my dreams and goals. Please support me by voting! Here is the link: http://bit.ly/1Dq41lq. Thank you so much!


A Selfless Act: Muslim Woman in the Nation of Islam Donates Kidney to Christian Student

By Ashahed M. Muhammad

(FinalCall.com) - As news articles and media reports are replete with stories of people across the globe targeted and killed because of their religious beliefs and groups like ISIS killing Christians, Min. Farrakhan used a selfless act of a Muslim sister to demonstrate true principles that should be exhibited by Believers in God. The Nation also does not follow the old world of what is called Al-Islam, he added.

“You think that we kill Christians?” asked the Minister. “We love our Christian family. That’s our momma, our daddy, our sister, our auntie, our uncle, our cousin, our classmates, our teammates. Did you know Prophet Muhammad never killed Christians just because they were Christians? He never killed Jews because they were Jews,” the Minister said.

He called Nadirah Muhammad to the stage and used her as an example of what Muslim love for Christians truly is. Nadirah Muhammad is the daughter of Abdullah Muhammad and Sister Captain Emeritus Karriemah Muhammad, who now reside in Atlanta. Sister Karriemah assists Mother Khadijah Farrakhan.

Nadirah Muhammad is a physical education teacher and heath instructor at Westside Academy High School in Detroit. She decided to donate a kidney to one of her students, 18-year-old Aja Booth.

The teenager had been on dialysis treatment for four years and had been waiting for a suitable donor kidney for a year. While her student is still in recovery after receiving the kidney and having an additional appendectomy, Nadirah Muhammad said young Aja is doing well, and due back to school in March.

“I am able to resume all activities, and I just started back to exercising two weeks ago. I’m back into my normal routine and I feel great!” Nadira Muhammad told The Final Call. [Read More]


Jasiri X releases "Don't Let Them Get Away With Murder" track addressing broken justice system and the need for action

by Brother Jesse Blog

The People's MC delivers another timely track, speaking directly into current events and the universal cry for justice. While some artists might address the plight of the people in flashes, this brother has been consistently doing since I first heard him back in 2007. I've said it before on my blog and will say it again: Jasiri X is the most important and relevant Hip-Hop artist on the scene today. 

You can feel the sincerity in his music because he's out in the streets with the people. So he's not spitting hollow bars.

Jasiri X, who has been touring the country on a weekly basis, released the song and video "Don't Let Them Get Away With Murder" in collaboration with Harry Belafonte's organization Sankofa.org. Jasiri X has frequently shared on social media many moments he's had to be mentored by the great Mr. Belafonte and even traveled with him over the pond. It's beautiful to see an elder in the struggle feeding the young cadre of leaders.

While, in my opinion, this track needs no explanation, Jasiri X says,"Unarmed people of color are being killed wholesale by police officers across the country. Their deaths are being ruled as homicides, yet no one is being held accountable. It is my hope that this song will serve as a reminder of how severely broken the justice system is and that we need to take action now."

This is some very captivating video footage married with piercing lyrics by Jasiri X regarding recent headlines such as the killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

In part of the song, Jasiri X spits:

Generation David ain't afraid of Goliath.
We Got the Power.
We got the Heart. 
Ain't none of us cowards
All this pain brought the change up out of us.
Born for the moment.
We made for the hour. Made for the hour

Watch and listen to "Don't Let Them Get Away With Murder" and be sure to help spread it. It's not just a song. It's a call to action.


Rudy Giuliani blasted by Minister Farrakhan for President Obama comments

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan blasted Rudy Giuliani for recent comments on President Barack Obama.

During a Feb. 18, 2015 gathering of "elite conservative" figures, the former New York mayor said, "I do not believe that the president loves America." "He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country."

Minister Farrakhan asked, "How did you grow up Giuliani? A privileged cracker! Or I should say, a privileged devil! You grew up on the sweat and the blood of Black men and women who made America before your fathers got here!"

 Minister Farrakhan's comments were delivered during the Nation of Islam's annual Saviours' Day 2015 keynote address on Feb. 22, 2015 at Christ Universal Temple in Chicago, IL. Watch full video @ http://NOI.org Webcast Archives.


Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day 2015 in Chicago

Contact: Richard B. Muhammad, editor, The Final Call Newspaper
Email: editor@finalcall.comstraightwords4@gmail.com
CHICAGO (Feb. 19)—The Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day commemoration will be held this weekend in the Windy City and headquarters of the 85-year-old movement in America. The theme for this year’s keynote address to be delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is “The Intensifying, Universal Cry for Justice.”
His address will be delivered at Christ Universal Temple Sunday, Feb. 22, with doors opening at 12 noon and the program starting at 2 p.m. CST. Christ Universal Temple is located at 11901 S. Ashland in Chicago. Admission is free. The address will also be available live at NOI.org
Nation of Islam mosques and study groups will be celebrating the weekend with a variety of events, including workshops, marches and dinner as a weekend of informative workshops, spiritual renewal, fellowship and networking is enjoyed. In Chicago, children’s activities, a special Saturday workshop and dinner will be held.
Each year the convention, often called the Crowning Event of Black History Month, marks the birth of the founder of the Nation of Islam, Master W. Fard Muhammad, who started teaching in Black Bottom Detroit in 1930, and commissioned the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad with the mission of raising Black people in America.
Working media only can register at http://www.finalcall.com/press


[PHOTO] Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, CyHi The Prynce and North West welcomed by Minister Louis Farrakhan

Social media is buzzing with this photo spreading on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. According to an Instagram post by artist CyHi The Prynce, he accompanied Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and their baby North West during a visit with The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at his home.

The photo was reshared on Minister Farrakhan's official Facebook fan page and has sparked various opinions. Read more


9th Annual Y.O.U.th Summit Addresses The Need to Train, Encourage and Celebrate Our Young People

pdxsummit@gmail.com; 503-781-5313

Press Release

Portland, OR: In the months post-Ferguson, young people around the country are galvanizing, protesting and demanding to be listened to. With the theme, “If Not You, Then Who? Be the Change,” the 9th Annual Y.O.U.th Summit provides mentorship, encouragement, and training opportunities for young people and adults of all ethnicities in the Portland area to cultivate their budding leadership and organizing skills. The summit also showcases youth talent with prizes that reward them for having the courage to perform.

“There is no other opportunity like this in the Pacific Northwest,” says Imani Muhammad, award-winning community activist and founder of Youth Organized and United to Help (Y.O.U.th), organizer of the annual Y.O.U.th Summit. “We are focusing our empowering workshops and activities through the lens of Hip Hop, which is a culture and ideology that is woven into almost every aspect of an urban young person’s life.”

WHAT: 9th Annual Portland Y.O.U.th Summit
WHEN: February 6 & 7, 2015
WHERE: Blazers Boys & Girls Club, 5250 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland
TIME: Youth Talent Showcase (Feb. 6) is at 6:30 p.m.; Summit registration (Feb. 7) starts at 11 a.m.; Workshops begin at 12 p.m. 

This year, the Y.O.U.th Summit – in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Portland Metropolitan Area – is also providing an occasion for parents to celebrate their black children, whether biological, adopted or foster, as a counter narrative to the reality that black life in Portland and around the country is often devalued. In partnership with the Y.O.U.th Summit, the “My Black Sons & Daughters Are Worthy” project, organized by creative revolutionist S. Renee Mitchell, will offer the community an empowering, community-based art performance using music, movement, song and poetry, written by Portland parents, all intended to express love for their children. The Regional Arts & Culture Council funds this celebratory project.

The summit’s keynote speaker is Salih Muhammad, a 22-year-old graduate of the University of California Berkeley and executive director of the Afrikan Black Coalition, a statewide collective of Black Student Unions that seeks to organize, mobilize, and empower black students, staff, faculty, and alumni. For most of Salih’s life, he has been critically engaged in a number organizations, struggles, and movements that attempt to elevate the condition of humanity and young people across the United States.

Concluding the Y.O.U.th Summit will be a “Be The Change’ concert, featured local talent Mic Crenshaw, Blacque Butterfly, RoseCity Mischief, Talilo, and DJ Grimrock. Key sponsors for the summit include the University of Oregon Journalism and Communications Department, which is committed to more sustainable outreach outside of its downtown Portland campus in order to build capacity for community storytelling. Other sponsors include KBOO Radio and the American Friends of Service Committee.

Muhammad founded the first Y.O.U.th Summit in 2007 in response to the inner Northeast Portland shooting death of 14-year-old DaVonte Lightfoot, a Benson High School student and one of Muhammad’s former students. The summit provides an atmosphere for youth and adults to experience a high level of reasoning and “edutainment” while also exploring the five elements of Hip Hop, such as:

 Graffiti, the writing of language or the scribe that documents the history  Emcee, the oral griot, conveyer of the message

 Djing, the heart beat, the drum of the art or movement; DJ comes from the Djembe drum

 B-Boy/Girl, the exercise and the human expression through dance or body movement to keep the body in proper health.

 Knowledge, the reason why we are who we are and where did our roots comes from, what is the beginning of Man and where are we today.

 # # #


Interview with Cedric Muhammad on 'My African Violet': "Too many of us are killing, negating or denying our true selves out of the fear of failure"

(Blogger's Note: Cedric Muhammad is a Former Wu Tang GM Turned Economist- Songwriter. He is a unique political, business and macroeconomist who has influenced the worlds of culture, electoral politics and finance. .

As President of CM Cap, he has advised a range of individuals and institutions from first-time entrepreneurs to international governmental bodies. He has been published or appeared in respected financial media such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Financial News. 

I recently caught up with him to discuss significance of his newly released song "My African Violet" and more.)

Brother Jesse: Congrats on the release of "My African Violet". I must admit, you caught me off guard because I had no idea you had this type of musical repertoire. Who and what instilled in you a love for music? What is your musical background from your younger years?

Cedric Muhammad:  Thank You so much Brother Jesse, I caught me off guard too (Laughs)!  What I mean is that as I grew in other areas of life, I suppressed that part of my being and personality. To answer your question, much of my musical DNA comes from my Father – a jazz connoisseur from New York City– and my maternal Grandfather a Physician-Musician who began playing the alto saxophone, growing up in the Panama Canal Zone.  Dad would always break down the elements of records he played by artists like Thelonious Monk, Quincy Jones and Jimmy Smith.  And Grandpa put the first instrument in my hand as a young boy.  I recently came across an article written about how he married the practice of medicine and music in his life.  In it he talks about the sax like a scientist.  Both my Dad and Grandfather thought deeply about music in a conceptual and intellectual sense and I think I get that from them.  Our home was always filled with Jazz, Gospel, Soul and African music.  I ushered in Hip-Hop, of course. I have no formal training in music but I have studied the family record collection and liner notes – a university in and of itself.

Brother Jesse: Have you ever personally recorded and released your own song before? Do you have some secret-unreleased-Area 51-type mixtapes stored away in your basement of your musical genius that we should know about?

Cedric Muhammad: I co-executive produced a mixtape in 2004, with Eric Canada, “The Streets are Political” which won Source magazine mixtape of the month (http://www.blackelectorate.com/articles.asp?ID=1187 ) but this is my debut in terms of writing and producing music.  As for ‘Area 51-type projects’ I still have the old mixtapes of DJ Jay-Ski (https://twitter.com/DJJaySki) and myself from high school.  He and I started making beats in 9th grade on a Casio SK-5.  He went on to become one of the most successful on-air DJs in Hip-Hop and it’s hilarious to hear me at age 15 sounding like a young Mr. Magic. I used to send the cassettes to my friends in school on military bases all over the world. I’ll leak those tapes exclusively to you!

Brother Jesse: (Laughs!) You have built a serious reputation as an economic powerhouse on a national and global scale. Is that what caused you to put your music to the side? If so, did it ever bother you that you made that move instead of balancing both?

Cedric Muhammad: On a personal level that is the deepest question I have been asked. The answer is yes and yes but for different reasons. I gravitated to the business side of music as a teenager because I was genuinely more attracted to the deal-making and behind-the scenes elements of art.  I still am.  But at a certain point, after becoming proficient in that, I became dissatisfied.  You are doing so much critical and analytical thinking that you become imbalanced.  Then it gets worse because people tend to want to only deal with you on those terms. They categorize and stereotype you in their own minds – only seeking that part of you. You become incarcerated in what I call identity prison.  That’s why my closest friends are people who respect my accomplishments and work but who don’t equate me with that limited manifestation of who I am. We are more than our work.

I also reached a point of exhaustion with how I thought and what I allowed myself to express and just needed to become creative again, to find balance.  One of the most important persons who helped me through the transition was James Mtume.  What makes him unique is his emphasis that intellect is not separate from art, it is actually the highest form of it.  He told me that what I was doing as an economist was actually artistic expression and so he always related to me as an artist –telling me there was a musician inside of me that I just wasn't feeding.  I was starving the dude.  We talk to this day for hours about music theory; great artists in each generation; the contemporary sound; politics; current events, and it all flows, seamlessly.  He’s friend, mentor and now a godfather to me. 

Brother Jesse: Describe that critical moment when you decided to get back to the music and ultimately release 'My African Violet'. Did you have any apprehensions since the industry has changed in many ways? Or were you confident since you've kept up with the pulse of the industry?

Cedric Muhammad: A super-producer friend of mine finally convinced me that I was only going to get so far only managing artists.  The language of rhythm, melody, harmony, lyrics, verses, bpms and time signatures is often the only thing they understood.  I had to become what I was trying to influence. I wasn’t intimidated by changes in the industry because I stayed in tune with it through the lens of commerce and because I established the habit of listening to new music released each week, regardless of genre.  I did have some apprehension when it came to technology.  It’s a long way from arranging music on an SK-5 to using a Maschine Studio and Pro Tools.  And of course social media has almost totally changed how people perceive you.

Brother Jesse: You've always been a very spiritual man, even when you're writing Hip-Hop columns. As a young man, did you see the spiritual significance of the african violet when your mother gave it to you? What has studying it taught you about yourself?

Cedric Muhammad: I write from the head and from the heart to the head and to the heart, with layered meaning. I need big concepts that cause me to emote and I want the listener to feel the intensity and the subtlety of what is being expressed. I found all of that in reflecting on the first life I had the responsibility of caring for – given to me by the Woman who Allah (God) used to give me life, my Mother.  There are so many lessons I learned from unsuccessfully caring for this plant – the creative and destructive power of sunlight and water and the dynamics of soil.  At ten years old I was getting a preview of something I would read the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teach on – the connection between reverence for Women and reverence for the Earth.  As a man I have fallen short of that view.  But even deeper than that – most women don’t make the connection.  That is why I wrote the lyric, “…can’t believe how much you’ve grown.’  I’m trying to convey to women and young girls that no matter what has happened to you; it can be redemptive and is beyond the power of any man to define for you, because most can’t comprehend it.

Brother Jesse: What do you want listeners to gain from playing 'My African Violet' in their headphones? What is the core message resonating through the lyrics and arrangements?

Cedric Muhammad:  In terms of sound, I want them to feel the tension created between the dark minor chords of an acoustic piano and the polyrhythm of African drums and then, how that can be released by the ‘sweetness’ of a kalimba and piano melody brought to crescendo.  There are simple and complex things you can do to bring out emotion through sound frequencies. The first time we raised the piano an octave in the chorus, I got goose bumps and tears formed.  The higher pitch made me feel something, and brought back a flood of memories.  For each person it may be different, in terms of what moves them. The core message of the song is how both nurture and neglect feed the growth of life.  In the East African remix, with Khaligraph (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WRv95Fw6S8 ) – an incredible lyricist from Kenya, who rhymes in Swahili and English - it is more about celebration and maturity.

Brother Jesse: Do you plan to take 'My African Violet' on the road? Would you ultimately like to perform it in Africa on a stage set surrounded with violets? Well, maybe not exactly like that!

Cedric Muhammad: Absolutely! I want the right band to bring out the electronic, acoustic and African instrumentation.  And you know it Jesse – we have to have a minimum of 50 flowers on stage with perfect lighting.  There are so many shades to that color that can change with the lyrics and sound.  We’re gonna bring you in to consult, and then maybe Kanye.  I’d also like to produce a visual performance in fine art galleries that have captured the beauty of the flower.

Brother Jesse: What is the difference between 'Cedric The Artist'  and 'Cedric The Economist'? Can those two persons co-exist? Do they get along? (Laughs!)

Cedric Muhammad: Put it to you this way, I’d rather have ‘Cedric The Artist’ at my Super Bowl Party.  But I’m finding that the ‘Artist’ is making me an even better ‘Economist.’

Brother Jesse: It's clear from listening to the song and reading your write-up on why you wrote it, you have a deep love and passion for music. What advice would you give to people who may have put a passion to the side and wavering on picking it back up?

Cedric Muhammad: That is so important.  If my doing this encourages one person to return to a first love in artistic expression of any kind, that alone would be worth it.  Too many of us are killing, negating or denying our true selves out of the fear of failure or because we care too much about pleasing others or unsettling an image that has formed about us.  The other thing I would say to those of us with strong ideological or religious beliefs: don’t use knowledge, rituals and rules to shield the essence of who you are.  These are only meant to point you to a greater Unseen reality that lives on the inside of your Soul and that Force which created the Universe, Love. 

Through all of this, in a way I never expected I am understanding something Minister Farrakhan expressed on Twitter, recorded in the book you were blessed to compile, The Teachings 2.0 (http://store.finalcall.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=BK-TEACHINGINS ) “….music is a companion of Islam.  Both represent a universal language.  His words dovetail with what my Grandfather once said, “Learning music was part of my self-improvement.”

Brother Jesse: Thank you my brother!

(To purchase a copy of My African Violet, go to I-Tunes. To learn more about Cedric Muhammad, follow him @CedricMuhammad and visit his website cedricmuhammad.com)

SELMA and the real Dr. King: What Hollywood got right and wrong

WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) - The movie Selma is, and will likely remain, one of the most talked about films of 2015.

It earned four Golden Globe nominations, for: Best Picture; Best Actor, David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Best Director, Ava DuVernay; and won Best Original Song, “Glory” by John Legend and Common. And it is certain to be a contender for multiple Academy Awards as well.

Selma is an exceptionally well crafted depiction of the last successful campaign in the career of the most charismatic and possibly most misunderstood leader of the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement. It takes its greatness from portraying the tension caused by blood in the streets of Alabama in the mid-1960s brought on by violent, White-racist, legal and extra-legal resistance to the legitimate demands for the right to vote by Blacks in the South, and from the political push and pull generated from the teeming grassroots represented by Dr. King, all the way to the desk of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The movie tells the story of three months in Selma, Ala., in early 1965 when Dr. King was mobilizing for the fight for voting rights. The bloody, one-sided “beat-downs” of peaceful, unarmed, non-violent protestors by vicious police, some on horseback, some with dogs, with tear gas, with billy clubs and other weapons, provokes a painful reaction to the scenes of the injustice and reminds moviegoers of the public moral outrage in 1965 which became massive public support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act by Congress later that year.

And while a great deal of “artistic license” is taken with the presentation of, or the exclusion of important Black figures in the voting rights struggle—Fannie Lou Hamer, Stokely Carmichael, Ella Baker, Floyd McKissick, among others—it is President Johnson’s screen role in the infamous Selma marches which has garnered the loudest rebuke.

Historians and former Johnson administration officials have insisted that the film is flat-out wrong in the way Mr. Johnson is shown, as an opponent of the Selma voting rights marches, when in fact the march was his idea, his former aides insist.

In the film, one dramatic climax occurs when Dr. King scolds the reluctant and tough-talking president, about the immediate need for federal voting rights legislation, all the while with a portrait of George Washington looking on in the background. [Read more]