Celebrating Daddy

By Semiha Abdulmelik

Losing my father was an exercise in a kind of growing up, an exercise in trying to comprehend as well as giving up on understanding, an attempt at resurrecting and reconstructing memories, buffing some and trying to darken others. It has been over time, trying to understand absence over time, and to borrow the words of another, ‘For a long time I stressed the absence, the hole. Now I find it is the shape which has become more important.’

Loss is an exercise in remembering and the funny amnesias. I can remember that it was a Sunday, and the minute details of the day, including the quick shower before heading out to what I thought was going to be a hospital visit, and I remember running to the living room to watch between the hexagonal grill the ambulance enter the driveway. But I can never remember whether it was the 20th or the 21st of February. Every year, mid-February, I turn back my calendar to February 2000, to check which was a Sunday. This major pilgrimage was always difficult, always different. The date, regardless that it was confusedly straddled between the 20th and 21st became a shrine in my mind that I visited and revisited.

Perhaps this year, I will try merely to celebrate a father’s, my daddy’s, love. His love was comforting-a comfort borne from being known, flaws and all, and loved deeply nonetheless. It was a love that saw all my colours and hues-bold, muted, hideous, beautiful. It was not loud or demanding, just certain, constant, and always present. I did not ever turn behind or around to look for it, certain as I was that it was always with me. It was that trusted gabi, neither too heavy and suffocating, or too light and unreliable. It was the feeling of sitting indoors, spoonfuls of cardamom vanilla honey laced oatmeal on a cold keremt day, whose sensation lingers into the summer days. His love I think come before and beyond my story-indeed when pressed, he would tell me, ‘I loved you the moment I knew you were conceived’.

If matter is neither created nor destroyed, perhaps so it is with my father’s love.

X + 48

X + 48

“I have had enough of someone else’s propaganda
I’m for truth
No matter who speaks it
I’m for justice
No matter who it is for or against
I’m a human being and as such-
I’m for whatever and whoever will benefit humanity as a whole”

It’s been 48 years since Malcolm X was assassinated,
but he lives on in more ways than one.

Image

July 31st

July 31st marks the day of my birth. It also marks African Women’s Day. This is the perfect opportunity for me to pay tribute to an amazing African woman. After all, birthdays shouldn’t be a celebration of ourselves (for what did we do aside from being born), but rather a celebration of the phenomenal women who carry us around for nine whole months, endure countless hours of hard labour, bring us into this world, pamper, nurture, and shower us with unconditional love, deal with our nonsenses and make immeasurable sacrifices. Today and always, dearest momma, I salute you. You are truly a phenomenal woman. I am where I am because of you, I am nothing without you. I pray that the ALMIGHTY showers you with long life, good health, countless blessings and infinite happiness. I wish you all your heart desires and much more, because you deserve nothing less.

Dearest momma, I love you more than you know, and I love you with a love I will never outgrow.

Today, and always, I salute you momma.
You are a phenomenal African woman.

Dear Mama

Lyrics for Tupac’s “Dear Mama”

You are appreciated

When I was young me and my mama had beef
Seventeen years old kicked out on the streets
Though back at the time, I never thought I’d see her face
Ain’t a woman alive that could take my mama’s place
Suspended from school; and scared to go home, I was a fool
with the big boys, breakin all the rules
I shed tears with my baby sister
Over the years we was poorer than the other little kids
And even though we had different daddy’s, the same drama
When things went wrong we’d blame mama
I reminice on the stress I caused, it was hell
Huggin on my mama from a jail cell
And who’d think in elementary?
Heeey! I see the penitentiary, one day
And runnin from the police, that’s right
Mama catch me, put a whoopin to my backside
And even as a crack fiend, mama
You always was a black queen, mama
I finally understand
for a woman it ain’t easy tryin to raise a man
You always was committed
A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how ya did it
There’s no way I can pay you back
But the plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated

Lady…
Don’t cha know we love ya? Sweet lady
Dear mama
Place no one above ya, sweet lady
You are appreciated
Don’t cha know we love ya?

Now ain’t nobody tell us it was fair
No love from my daddy cause the coward wasn’t there
He passed away and I didn’t cry, cause my anger
wouldn’t let me feel for a stranger
They say I’m wrong and I’m heartless, but all along
I was lookin for a father he was gone
I hung around with the Thugs, and even though they sold drugs
They showed a young brother love
I moved out and started really hangin
I needed money of my own so I started slangin
I ain’t guilty cause, even though I sell rocks
It feels good puttin money in your mailbox
I love payin rent when the rent’s due
I hope ya got the diamond necklace that I sent to you
Cause when I was low you was there for me
And never left me alone because you cared for me

And I could see you comin home after work late
You’re in the kitchen tryin to fix us a hot plate
Ya just workin with the scraps you was given
And mama made miracles every Thanksgivin
But now the road got rough, you’re alone
You’re tryin to raise two bad kids on your own
And there’s no way I can pay you back
But my plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated

Pour out some liquor and I reminsce, cause through the drama
I can always depend on my mama
And when it seems that I’m hopeless
You say the words that can get me back in focus
When I was sick as a little kid
To keep me happy there’s no limit to the things you did
And all my childhood memories
Are full of all the sweet things you did for me
And even though I act craaazy
I gotta thank the Lord that you made me
There are no words that can express how I feel
You never kept a secret, always stayed real
And I appreciate, how you raised me
And all the extra love that you gave me
I wish I could take the pain away
If you can make it through the night there’s a brighter day
Everything will be alright if ya hold on
It’s a struggle everyday, gotta roll on
And there’s no way I can pay you back
But my plan is to show you that I understand

You are appreciated
Sweet lady
Dear mama

Tribute to the Brothas

To the down and out brothas,
To the ones that keep their heads about them when all are losing theirs
To the brothas that stand by their sistas
To the fathers that step up
To the ones who’ve been told they’re no good
And refuse to live down to those expectations
To the ones who mold the world to themselves
And hold up half the sky

Just to tell you, you’re appreciated.

Lyrics-Angie Stone, Brotha

He is my King, He is my one
Yes he’s my father, Yes he’s my son
I can talk to him, cuz he understands
Everything I go through and everything I am
He’s my support system, I can’t live without him
The best thing since sliced bread,
Is his kiss, his hugs, his lips, his touch
And I just want the whole world to know, about my..

Black Brotha, I love ya, I will never – try to hurt ya
I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you – forever true
cuz youre my
Black Brotha, strong brotha, there is no – one above ya
I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you – forever true

He’s misunderstood, some say that he’s up to no good around the neighborhood
But fo’ your information – alot of my brothers got education (now check it)
You got ya wall street brotha, ya blue collar brotha,
Your down for whatever chillin on the corner brother
A talented brotha, and to everyone of yall behind bars
You know that Angie loves ya

Black Brotha, I love ya, I will never – try to hurt ya
I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you – forever true
cuz youre my
Black Brotha, I love ya, I will never – try to hurt ya
I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you- forever true
cuz youre my
Black Brotha, strong brotha, there is no – one above ya
I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you – forever true

You mean so much to me, you give me what i need,
I’m so proud of you (I said I’m so proud of you)
I love you for stayin strong, you got it goin on
I’m so proud of you (I’mmmmmmmmm)
Going through thick and thin, brothas you gonna win
I’m so proud of you (I said I’m so proud of you)
Whenever you facin doubt, brothas gon work it out
I’m so proud of you (I got unshakeable faith in ya)

Black Brotha, I love ya, I will never – try to hurt ya
I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you – forever true
cuz youre my
Black Brotha, strong brotha, there is no – one above ya
I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you – forever true
only my
Black Brotha, I love ya, I will never – try to hurt ya
I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you – forever true

Tribute to X

Feb 21, 1965 47 yrs on but your legacy lives on.
Tribute to the man amidst the men-the man who spoke truth, regardless of the consequences.

I am a man amidst the men
The personification of black pride
And the heights to which people can rise
I was and still am
One of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood
People of my time
I present to you
One of the most fascinating and personal histories
Of the 20th century

I am
Unapologetically bold and brazen
Uncompromising in my values
Unwavering in the truth I speak
I say it like it is
After all,
Truth is truth

I was schooled on the streets
Locked up but liberated
Physically incarcerated but mentally emancipated
And then proceeded to school the streets

My thirst for knowledge, wisdom & understanding
Can never be quenched
I demand, first & foremost
Human rights, not civil rights
I don’t beg for respect, I command it
I could start or stop a riot

Rather than mold myself to the world,
I mold the world to myself
I refuse to settle for status quo
The constant exploitation and degradation of my people
I strive tirelessly
For the betterment & empowerment
Of the black race but for humanity as a whole

“I have had enough of someone else’s propaganda
I’m for truth
No matter who speaks it
I’m for justice
No matter who it is for or against
I’m a human being and as such-
I’m for whatever and whoever will benefit humanity as a whole”

I’m convinced ill make progress
Or I’ll die trying
I prefer to die on my feet
Rather than live on my knees
If I can die having brought any light
It is due to ALLAH
Only the mistakes have been mine

And who am I?
I am El Hajj Malik El Shabazz
I am Malcolm X!

47 Years & Malcolm X Still Lives On

The Man Amidst the Men

Today marks 47 years since El Haji Malik El Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X was brutally shot down & killed. He had one of the most fascinating and personal histories of the 20th century. He was and still is one of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood people of his time. He did what few manage, he didn’t simply exist. He lived. He made an impact. He left an undeniable legacy that lives on decades after his passing. He spoke the truth, regardless of the consequences. And we will forever love him for that. He is most definitely our prince.

Favorite quotes:

“I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

“Having said that, I know I’ll hear anti-Semetic from every which direction. Oh yes. But truth is truth.”

“I say and I say and I’ll say it again. You been had, you been took, you been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amuck..”

“Just as the white man and any other man for that matter on this earth has the God-given right, the human right, the civil right, the natural right and any other kind of high right you can think of to protect himself, just as this white man has the right to defend himself, we have the right to defend ourselves too. This is only natural.”

“You can’t stop the rooster crowing once the sun is up. And the sun is up.”

“We have been bowing for 400 years. I think it’s about time we stand up”

“I don’t care what they’re saying. I see what they’re doing.”

“We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”

Rest in peace & paradise X.

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