Sunday, April 27, 2008

::By unnecessary means::

In this month's issue of Giant magazine, photographer Antonin Kratochvil and journalist Aliya King peer into the troubled life of Malcolm Shabazz II, the grandson of great civil rights figure and iconoclast Malcolm X. This is one of the very few pieces in pop journalism that I'm jealous of. This is the type of ish that I'm definitely trying to get into. Though the actual journalism played second fiddle to the centerpiece of the article, the recreated iconic photographs of his grandfather, the scant dialogue that was printed spoke volumes about his perspective on his life and the adverse effect the burden of his grandfather's legacy. On his recent release from Attica prison, what we do know for certain is his resolute pledge to never return. But with the rate of recidivism amongst Black male inmates, the odds are highly stacked against him.

In many ways, his story is one of irony and heartache. With all the tenets of empowerment and self respect that his grandfather strove to impart to black men with the intention of improving their condition and staving off the plight of the Black community, it is interesting that his grandson would stumble upon the very same pitfalls he warned of. Malcolm II's plight is a shining example of how the social institutions continue to fail the Black community.

The fire that he started in 1997 at the age of 12 claimed the life of his grandmother and widow of Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz. When news of this spread, many chose to crucify him in the press instead of thinking critically and asking the question of what would lead him to perform such a grave task.

Conversely, we could view Malcolm's journey as a replication of his grandfather's. Let us not forget that Malcolm X was also a "troubled" teenager who dropped out of school at a young age and bounced from several foster homes, detention centers, and even prison. In addition, Malcolm X was sent to live with a relative when he was too rambunctious to remain at home. Likewise, Malcolm II was sent by his mother Qubilah to live with his grandmother at the age of 12. Could it be that we're witnessing the making of another legend? Just a theory...

Check the story here:
Malcolm Shabazz II - Giant Magazine story

and here:
Malcolm Shabazz II - News One story

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