As we celebrate Black History month, we should not forget that on this date February 21 1965, Malcolm X and as he was later known, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was brutally murdered as he got ready to speak inside New York’s famed Audubon Ballroom. There was the famed, Presbyterian hospital right across the street, but it took almost an hour for him to be taken there.. Hopefully we take a little time out to reflect on Malcolm’s philosophies and also the cointel-pro efforts used to take him out and kill him..
Just on a side note, the Audubon was an influential and popular spot for Hip Hop as it was emerging in the 1970s..Many of the great pioneering groups cut their teeth there. The love affair Hip Hop had with Malcolm should not be overlooked. Long before sampling and records, deejays especially Afrika Bambaataa would rock excerpts from Malcolm’s speeches over beats..In fact one of the first labels to put out Hip Hop breakbeats Paul Winley records also put out records of Malcolm’s speeches. I still have my vintage copies of Legend of Malcolm X Black man’s History.
We wanted to post a couple of clips for us to remember him by including this interview from 1965 on CBC TV just weeks before Malcolm was killed …
In this clip we honor Malcolm X by fusing excerpts from his speech message to the Grassroots where he talks about Revolution and questions whether or not we’re ready to embrace it.. We also hear reaction to his death at the time it happened.. We conclude with the riveting eulogy given at his funeral by actor the late Ossie Davis..
Remember the days when Malcolm X ( El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) was an emcee on everyone’s Hip Hop records? Folks back in the days would always sample him and have his words of wisdom be apart of the soundtrack..I recall the early days of Hip Hop when deejays like Afrika Bambaataa would rock Malcolm speeches over break beats. Not only did it sound funky but it helped raise our consciousness..
During the so-called Golden era You had everyone from Poor Righteous Teachers to Paris to 3x Dope to Gang Starr to Public Enemy all rocking Malcolm samples..I recall when KRS Onemimicked the infamous Malcolm X pose where he was holding a gun looking out the window, ready to protect himself after his home had been firebombed. Many say KRS kicked things off when he featured Malcolm X in his My Philosophy video … I miss those days..
Remember when Malcolm was sampled so much that he wound up being on the cover of the Source Magazine? Say what you will, the powers that be worked overtime to remove Malcolm from our collective consciousness..It’ll be interesting to note how many newscast make mention of his birthday today… or how many urban radio stations that’ll quickly disperse info on Kanye and Kim dating but will be silent and omit Malcolm’s birthday or any activities related to it, in their daily banter..
I say on this birthday lets do more than give a shout out.. Let’s return Malcolm back the forefront of Hip Hop consciousness…
If you happen to be in Oakland today.. head on over to San Antonio Park for the annual Malcolm X Festival
Many have got it twisted in thinking Malcom X somehow softened or lightened up in his final days.. This speech given in 1965 one month before he was killed is anything but soft.. He stays sharply focused and unwavering in his fight for freedom