Back in my undergrad days I was a Black Studies major. As a Black man I thought I knew what being Black entailed because it is my lived reality and because I thought I knew pretty much a majority of my history… I was not only arrogant, but wrong too! I remembered being so excited to feel like I am making my family and ancestors proud by studying my people and our history. I come from a very Afrocentric family and they made sure I knew the importance of my heritage and instilled in me from a very young age a sense of self and Black pride. I remember my mother telling me one time that for no apparent reason while riding the bus with her that I stood on the seat and yelled “Black power!” I was three. So as you can see I go back decades with my Black pride.
I remember being taught to read and I had book of African American heroes and being told that I impressed my reading coach because I knew damn near every prominent Black person in the book! The book was roughly 300 pages in length. One of the most illustrious figures in Black history was none other than Malcolm X.
In college when I was asked to create the schedule I wanted to take for my first semester as a Black Studies major and I chose a class on Malcolm X. This class was dope to the next level of dopeness. As an avid Hip Hop and Kanye West fan, I remember when the Professor told us where Kanye got the line “no one man should have all that power.” Apparently Kanye got it from the Malcolm X biopic starring Denzel Washington and directed by Spike Lee. There is a seen in the film where Malcolm is outside of a hospital in protest of a Black man who was beaten by the cops (sound familiar?) and when the cops asked the Fruit of Islam to disperse they would not listen to them. Malcolm gave a hand signal and hundreds of Black folks peacefully went on about their nights and the officer who spoke to them said, “no one man should have all that power.” It was interesting to see how influential Malcolm was and how his energy resonates with Black youth and the Hip Hop movement in particular all these years later.
When it came time to read for the class we of course read Malcolm’s autobiography and a newer more controversial book as a companion to the autobiography. This new book was “Malcolm X A Life of Reinvention” by Manning Marable. In the book Marable alleges that Malcolm may have been gay for pay. In the autobiography Malcolm recounts working for a white man before becoming the minister and prominent figure he would eventually become. Marable suggests that he may have been financially compensated for alleged homosexual acts. Many have been outraged and appalled by such claims, but I on the other hand give ZERO FUCKS!!! Who cares if he was same gender loving or not? Would Malcolm having homosexual relations take away from what he did for his people? Who his grassroots efforts and galvanizing Black folks to unite for self-liberation? Would Malcolm being gay somehow erase the fact that he tried to take America to the World Court on genocide charges? The answer to ALL my questions is a resounding No!!!
We need to collectively get over our fear of gays or anyone we deem not respectable enough because when the revolution comes ALL Black folks will need to come together gay, straight, or otherwise!!!