Under the glare of a painting of a blue-eyed black Jesus inside the sanctuary of the historic Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, issued a grave warning Tuesday to black Americans who shun activism against injustice.
“Only we can do this together. We cannot continue to be bamboozled thinking about self. We must abandon the motto that you can pull yourself by your individual bootstraps because it does not work,” Shabazz said to the applauding audience gathered at the church not far from the mosque where her father once preached.
The crowd gathered to mark the fifth anniversary of the controversial death of Eric Garner, a New York father of six who died in the summer of 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Pantaleo was not criminally indicted.
In making her point about the need for unity and awareness in the fight against racial injustice, Shabazz alluded to comments A$AP Rocky made about his involvement in speaking out against racial injustice and police brutality.
In an 2015 Time Out interview, A$AP Rocky made controversial comments regarding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
“Why would I feel compelled to rap about Ferguson? I’m not about to say that I was down there throwing rocks at (expletive), getting pepper-sprayed. I’d be lying. Is it because I’m black? What the f***, am I Al Sharpton now?” He said.
“I’m A$AP Rocky. I did not sign up to be no political activist. I wanna talk about my (expletive) lean, my best friend dying, girls, my jiggy fashion and my inspirations in drugs. I live in f***ing Soho and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate. I go back to Harlem, it’s not the same. It’s a sad story. I gotta tell you the truth. I’m in the studio, I’m in fashion houses, I’m in these b******’ drawers. I’m not doing anything outside of that. That’s my life. These people need to leave me the f*** alone.”
The 30-year-old rapper whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has been leaning on the connections he has with activists after he was detained in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 30 for his involvement in an assault in which he and two others in his entourage beat a man, breaking two of his ribs. Known for his song “Praise the Lord,” he pleaded not guilty to the assault charge in a Swedish court on Tuesday. If convicted, he could face up to two years in prison.
“Look at ASAP Rocky’s statement about this life of injustice not being his reality and now he needs our help because it is his reality,” Shabazz continued to applause Tuesday.
“We must subscribe to the African proverb that ‘it takes a village to raise a child and raise our children together. If we are to survive these continued atrocious acts we must take heed of the work to come together,” she said.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair