“Pan Afrikan week to me means that we are, as a people of the African descent, celebrating our togetherness and our unity. We’re celebrating the history of intellectual thought- about 200 years worth- as black people. Pan Afrikan week means that we must signify and enhance the unity we must have amongst each other. So to me, Pan Afrikan is all about unity, togetherness, and a bond that we must sustain as one people of the African descent. Power to the people, because the people need power.”
“Pan Afrikan week to me is almost like the Black community’s homecoming. It’s a good way for all of the black community to come together, students and alumni, to celebrate good times together, show off new skills and successes we have had.”
“To me, Pan Afrikan week is a chance for NC State students to express African culture through different events such as fashion shows and dance competitions as well as concerts. It gives a chance for other students on campus, other cultures and races, to get the experience to see what some things in African culture are like because a lot of them have never been exposed to it. Overall I feel like it’s very beneficial for our campus and hopefully people continue to support throughout the next few years.”
Nia Doaks | Managing Editor
N.C. State is home to a variety of traditions and festivals. One week in particular, Pan Afrikan Festival Week, is especially important to those who wish to celebrate African-American culture and community on the University’s campus.
Pan Afrikan Festival Week is a tradition that is in its 45th year at N.C. State University. It began back in the 70s, and has sometimes been referred to affectionately as “the black homecoming”.
This year’s festivities include a scholarship pageant, guest speaker Nikki Giovanni, and events held by various AASAC organizations. The week will end on Friday with the first ever Pan Afrikan concert featuring rapper Big K.R.I.T.
What does it take for Pan Afrikan Week to be put into action? The Nubian Message sat down with Amira Alexander, President of Black Students Board, to get an inside look at planning for this community event.
Nubian Message: How long has BSB been planning for this year’s Pan Afrikan week and who is involved with the planning?
Alexander: I have been planning for Pan Afrikan week since October of last semester. My advisors and my board have been involved- they’ve been contacting our vendors and contacting caterers to make sure that everything is perfect for the week.
NM: How has it evolved and changed since its earlier years?
A: Well, there’s not too much that I can get from the past, because we don’t have much to reference in regards to previous activities and events. We only have three years of binders but have been around for 45 years. All that I have to look at are flyers, past Pan Af designs. They had kickoffs, they had cookouts and that kind of stuff- so we kind of have the same feel.
NM: What are the goals of this year’s Pan Afrikan events?
A: My goal was to really bring it into what Pan Afrikanism means. I wanted to bring it into the actual definition of what it means to be African American or people of color and the struggles that they face. This is also why I brought Big K.R.I.T. He’s not a normal artist. Even his nameit means King Remembered In Time. What artist do you know that references themselves as kings? He speaks on things that African-Americans struggle with every day and is true to his art form.
NM: What was the most challenging part of planning this week?
A: I’ll honestly say the most challenging part was working with other organizations. A lot of people have a misconception of what BSB is- we’re not an organization, we’re a committee. This means that we don’t raise money, and I have to go through my advisor to reach anyone and make these events happen [unlike with AASAC]. It’s never been really clear what BSB was, and this made it [stressful] for me.
NM: How do you hope to see Pan Afrikan week change or improve in the future?
A: I would hope that the festive aura that I’m trying to place on Pan Afrikan stays. In the past there’s been so much emphasis on the partying, and I feel like people don’t put as much emphasis on the events that people work hard to have. I’m trying to make it fun and an actual celebration of our culture. I’m redefining pan-afrikanism. That’s why I took Africa out of the design- Pan-Afrikanism is more than just Africa, it’s in our everyday lives. It morphs into something different every single day.
NM: What does Pan Afrikan week mean to you?
A: The unifying of people of the African diaspora. A lot of people don’t want to call themselves African-Americans in order to be politically correct- but you didn’t originate from here. You originated from the Motherland. My goal this year was to bring it back to an actual celebration of our culture, of our history. Recognizing where we came from, recognizing who we are and who we ought to be.
UPCOMING PAN AFRIKAN WEEK EVENTS:
Wednesday, 6:30pm, Talley Ballroom | Nikki Giovanni- an evening of poetry, love, and enlightenment
Thursday, 7pm, Talley Ballroom | Afrolatinidad
Friday, 12:15pm, Free Expression Tunnel | Pop the tension
Friday, 7pm, Talley Ballroom | Big K.R.I.T. Concert
Saturday, 12pm | What’s done in the dark
ALFRED ANDERSON | Staff Writer
Grammy Award-winning recording artist Aubrey Graham, known around the world as Drake, set the internet ablaze just before Valentines day weekend with the surprise release of his seventh solo LP entitled If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. The 17 song LP came as a surprise to fans after rumors circulated for months that Graham would be releasing a new mixtape during the first few months of 2015.
Following a trend set by R&B singer Beyoncé in December 2013, the project came without warning but simply as an iTunes link posted via Graham’s official twitter page. Projected to sell over 500,000 digital copies of the album upon the first week of its release, Graham fell just short of that number at 495,000 digital copies sold during the first week of sales.
Nonetheless, with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late having the largest sales week among Hip-Hop and R&B albums since the surprise release of Beyoncé’s self entitled album (which sold 617,000 copies in its first week of sales), it’s safe to say that Graham has left a memorable impression with his third chart-topping LP, according to Billboard.com.
The LP itself consists of 17 tracks that more than likely, did not make the final cut to appear on his upcoming album entitled Views from the 6 (inspired by the 416 area code of his birthplace of Toronto), which is slated to be released later this year. The most noteworthy tracks that are poised to make some noise on both the radio and club scene are, ‘Energy’, ’10 Bands’ ‘Know Yourself’ and the Lil Wayne assisted ‘Used To”, which along with the rest of the songs on the LP act as odes to his hometown, his affinity for exotic dancers and the trials and tribulations of a Hip-Hop Superstar.
In addition, with the release of this LP, rumors about Graham’s status with his label, Cash Money, came to the forefront as his mentor, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (also known as Lil Wayne) has been engaged in a lawsuit with Cash Money. He’s requesting unpaid royalties or a release from the same label. Graham was signed by Lil Wayne to Young Money, a subsidiary of Cash Money Records and ultimately the Universal Music Group. Lil Wayne, upset with being denied the ability to release his long awaited album, Tha Carter V, lashed out against Cash Money and his mentor Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams, threatening to leave the label and take his Young Money label mates with him.
Throughout, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Graham makes numerous statements that seem to refer to his feelings toward the situation, with one song in particular, entitled: “Now and Forever” seems to directly address his label situation, as Graham appears to be preparing himself to separate from Cash Money Records and not knowing what awaits for him afterwards. To add fuel to the fire, after it had been rumored that this project would be released as a free mixtape, many began to speculate that it was released as a album in order for Graham to complete his four album contract with Cash Money, potentially resulting in his release from the label and the release of Views from the 6 as his first project that is not under the Cash Money umbrella. Furthermore, Graham also takes the opportunity to address his conflicts with the likes of P. Diddy, Tyga and others that has found the Canadian artist in the wrong spotlight.
In all, with the release of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Graham remains one of the most popular and controversial figures in the music industry today. With his ability to compile hit after hit and the bridge the gap between Hip-Hop and R&B, it will be interesting to see where Graham’s career goes from here- from his potential split with Cash Money Records to the release of his next album Views from the 6- Graham is poised to continue to top charts and headlines.
50 Years Later: Malcolm X’s daughter says her father would critique the rhetoric of today’s activists
JESSICA STUBBS | Staff Writer
50 years after the death of her father, Ilyasah Shabazz speculates about where Malcolm X might stand on issues affecting black Americans if he were living today.
What Would Malcolm X Think? is the name of her opinion piece published in the New York Times on Saturday.
Shabazz claims X would be critical of today’s organizing efforts within the black U.S. community.
“Of course, my father would be heartened by the youth-led movement taking place across the nation, and abroad, in response to institutional brutality,” Shabazz writes. ‘And he would appreciate the protesters’ fervor and skillful use of social media to rapidly organize, galvanize and educate. In a sense, his ability to boil down hard truths into strong statements and catchy phrases presaged our era of hashtag activism.”
Shabazz said she believes her father would critique the activists’ rhetoric itself.
“I imagine he would applaud the “Hands Up” gesture for its sheer dramatic effect, but also critique it as rank capitulation that ironically accommodates the very goal of police brutality — to intimidate and immobilize black citizens, forcing them into a defenseless posture if they hope to survive.
She goes on to say she believes her father would share her view of the iconic “hands up don’t shoot” chant, a staple in 2014’s anti-police brutality protests and the “black lives matter” movement.
“He’d agree that “Black Lives Matter,” indeed — but also note that the uniformed police officers who disagree are not likely to be persuaded by a hashtag,” Shabazz said.
Born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska; El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X was assassinated 50 years ago on February 21, 1965 at age 39. At a speaking event in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965, three gunmen charged Malcolm onstage. They shot him 15 times at close range. He was pronounced dead on arrival at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. His assassins, Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson, were convicted of first-degree murder in March of 1966. The three men were all members of the Nation of Islam. Family gathered at the Audubon Ballroom, now the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center, to honor the legacy of the late minister.
In 1953, Malcolm changed his name from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X because he considered “Little” a slave name and chose the “X” to signify his lost tribal name. In Malcolm received criticism for a comment he made regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “[Kennedy] never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon,” said Malcolm. After the statement, Elijah Muhammad “silenced” (suspended) Malcolm for 90 days. In March 1964, Malcolm terminated his relationship with the Nation of Islam, a black supremacist organization. In the same year, Malcolm made a pilgrimage to Mecca, changing his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. There is no record of the meaning of the name, however there are many theories regarding its origin.
Malcolm was one of eight children. His father, Earl Little was an outspoken baptist minister who followed and supported the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. His mother, Louise Little was a homemaker busy with the children. Continued threats from the Black Legion, a splinter of the Ku-Klux Klan, forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan. In 1929, their Lansing home was burned down. Two years later, Earl’s body was found lying across the town’s trolley tracks. Police ruled both incidents as accidents, but the Littles were certain that members of the Black Legion were responsible. Louise suffered emotional breakdown several years after her husband’s death and was admitted to a mental institution, while her children were split up among various foster homes and orphanages.
After the eighth grade, Malcolm dropped out of school, headed for a life of crime. When twenty-one, he was sentenced to prison for burglary and there he encountered the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam. Muhammad’s thesis that the white man is the devil with whom blacks cannot live had a strong impact on Malcolm. Malcolm was appointed as a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Elijah Muhammad also entrusted him with establishing new mosques in cities such as Detroit, Michigan, and Harlem. Malcolm was largely credited with increasing membership in the Nation from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963.
After his return from Mecca in 1964, Malcolm said he had met “blonde-haired, blued-eyed men I could call my brothers.” He returned to the United States with a new outlook on integration and a new hope for the future. This time when Malcolm spoke, instead of just preaching to African-Americans, he had a message for all races. In March 1964, Malcolm terminated his relationship with the Nation. After Malcolm resigned from the Nation and renounced Elijah Muhammad, relations between the two had become increasingly strained. FBI informants working undercover in the Nation warned officials that Malcolm had been marked for assassination–one undercover officer had even been ordered to help plant a bomb in Malcolm’s car.
After repeated attempts on his life, Malcolm rarely traveled anywhere without bodyguards. On February 14, 1965 the home where Malcolm, Betty, and their four daughters lived in East Elmhurst, New York was firebombed. The family escaped unharmed. One week later, Malcolm was assassinated in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965.
50 years after his assassination, Malcolm is remembered by one of six daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz at the Audubon Ballroom, now the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center. Malcolm was honored in cities all over the United States through events sponsored from various groups to honor and remember the legacy of Malcolm X.