10.10.15, #JusticeOrElse, and The Art+Politics of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam held local Memphis area entertainers and artists as his audience on Wednesday, August 19th prior to his citywide address. In this meeting, Farrakhan directed the artists’ attention to the social and economic problems in Memphis and nationwide. He announced his #JusticeOrElse march, app and platform.
The March, held in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the Million Man March, occurred today, 10.10.15, and was just as successful as the inaugural event twenty years ago. While much has changed for society during the time between the marches, for Black Americans, social conditions have become dire. Police murders, poverty, mass incarceration and a decaying educational system combined with gentrification and the suburban displacement of African-Americans have created conditions that perpetuate the further decline of Black communities.
Neosoulville caught up with Mmilk/Yasiin Allah, emcee and spiritual center of Memphis hip hop group Iron Mic Coalition (IMC) to discuss his experience at the #JusticeorElse march today.
M/YA: Well I missed the first one, so a friend and I sent my baby brother and another friend of ours to attend. For me this was my time to show my love for our people and my willingness to do my part. Pretty much experience being around so many like minds and spirits.
NSV: Farrakhan met with artists nationwide before 10.10.15, did he speak today about the work of artists in America?
M/YA: Not specifically. His message was to the men and women in our community, to one another, our children and future on every level. Protecting, educating, respecting, and building outside of government and white influence.
NSV: What does following through with Farrakhan’s message look like for you personally upon your return to Memphis?
M/YA: I have, for a long time, wanted to use my God-given gift to inspire some sense of unity and respect for life in our city. My intention is to pull together a few brothers I know and push a serious anti-murder agenda (of our people) for those reasons that have no validity so there is less bloodshed. I don’t expect the violence to simply stop, because that in my opinion is unrealistic at the moment, but if we can curb the killing of one another, somehow slow it down, that would be a great start.
NSV: Is there anything else you want to share about your experience in Washington?
M/YA: Yes. The whole “black people can’t unite” thing is an illusion. I walked among countless numbers of brothers and sisters from all walks of life and different cities and there was no drama, tension, violence or disrespect. Just love, respect and peaceful interaction. We never need to say that again.
Farrakhan admitted during his meeting in August that he wanted to influence the artists to make music that has a positive influence on listeners, as art is an incredibly powerful form of activism. According to media accounts, Memphis artists were in good company. Comedian Dave Chappelle, and artists J.Cole and Snoop Dogg were also in attendance. Much like the performers who created the movement songs of the fifties and sixties, this generation’s artists have not only a motivation, but also a mandate, to raise the vibration and celebration of Black culture. #JusticeOrElse