Regrets: Malcolm Shabazz

by

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October, 2007. Offices of GIANT magazine. I’m sitting across from editor-in-chief Smokey D. Fontaine. We’re going over stories I’ll be covering in the upcoming year. .

“Do you think you could find Malcolm X’s grandson?” he asked. “That would make an interesting story.”

I shrugged.

“I can find anybody. You know that. But should we find him?”

Smokey rubbed his hands together and his face lit up.

“Of course we should! This young man is a part of history. Malcolm X never had sons of his own. So this young man is the male heir. And then he was found responsible in the death of Betty Shabazz, his own grandmother, Malcolm’s widow. That story would be crazy!”

Before we continue, let me tell you a little bit about Smokey.

When I was trying to get on at The Source, Smokey was the Music Editor. And he was a celebrity in the world of urban journalism. For starters, his real, given name is Smokey. With the last name Fontaine? You can’t be serious.

Smokey D. Fontaine.

If I named a character in a book Smokey D. Fontaine, you’d roll your eyes.

Anyway. Smokey was the man.

When I started freelancing for the magazine, I wrote a few pieces for Smokey, who intimidated the hell out of me. He was loud. It took me five years to figure out that YELLING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS is actually his normal speaking voice. And he has this way of clapping his hands together—POW!—after he assigns you a story. That thunderclap means: this will be the hottest story ever in the history of the printed word. Right? Right!

A few months after I started freelancing, I had my fateful interview with Selwyn for the staff writer position. When we were done talking, he told me to feel free to introduce myself to the editors, if they were still around the office. I got the feeling that it was an unofficial part of the process: if I could get the other editors to co-sign me, I’d have a better chance of getting the job.

I popped into Smokey’s office.

“Can I close the door?” I asked.

Smokey looked at me, puzzled. But then gestured for me to close the door.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“I just had a really good conversation with Selwyn…”

Smokey didn’t look up from his computer monitor.

“Oh yeah? What about…”

“Well,” I said. “What would you think of having me on staff…as a staff writer?”

Smokey looked me dead in the eye.

“What would I think? I think we don’t need a staff writer. And if we did, I’m not sure you’d be the right person for the job. You’re not ready.”

Tears welled up in my eyes immediately. I nodded and tucked my tongue into my cheek to keep them from falling out.

“But if that’s what Selwyn wants,” Smokey said, shrugging his shoulders. “Whatever.”

I did end up getting the job. And my cubicle was directly in front of Smokey’s office. Everyday, when he came in to the office, loudly blaring on his cell phone, I buried my head so he wouldn’t notice me. I kept thinking of what he said: you’re not ready.

I’d show him who wasn’t ready.

I did a slew of short news pieces for the front of the book. I pitched, researched and reported my butt off. Selwyn, a man of very little words, squeezed my shoulder one afternoon after my first issue came out and whispered: good work.

But Smokey would not assign me a feature in the music department. I wrote for News, Culture and Politics. But I was working at the number one music magazine in the country. And the music editor wasn’t feeling me. I’d be lucky to write a singles review.

I’d been there a while. And one day, we all sat around the rickety conference room table and each editor went over what stories would appear in their section and which writers were being assigned to the stories.

Smokey went over his section.

“And of course, Eve is the hottest thing in hip-hop right now,” he said. “Her album is dropping soon. We’re doing a feature on her. I hear Blaze is putting her on the cover. So our story’s gotta be tight…”
Smokey looked up from his paperwork. He turned to the side and jutted his chin in my direction.

“Our new staff writer’s been working hard.”

I peeked over and saw that Smokey had a few of my stories in front of him.

“I think it’s time we assign her a feature. So I’m assigning
the Eve story…”

Selwyn just nodded and scribbled my name. The meeting went on. I just mouthed the word thanks to Smokey and tried to keep my heart from leaping out of my chest.

And so I began writing for Smokey.

He quit his gig at The Source before I could even turn in my story on Eve.

But I’ve been writing for him, wherever he goes, ever since. And I’ve been trying to prove Smokey that I’m ready ever since.

By the time I found myself sitting across from his desk at GIANT, it had been ten years since he told me: you’re not ready.

In so many ways, I still felt like that girl. .

I give him 1000% every time he assigns me a story. He pushes for more secondaries. I find them. He wants more quotes. I get them.

Certain editors just have that effect on their go-to writers.

And so it was. He sent me out into the world to find young Malcolm Shabazz.

And I found him. Serving time in Attica.

I plugged his information into a database for prisoners in the state of New York. And there he was.

For the next six months, I got to know Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X. We wrote letters back and forth. I visited him upstate.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to let you interview me,” he said, the first day I met him.

“Why?” I asked.

“You sent me some of your stories…”

“Yeah?”

“And that Redman joint? In The Source?”

“What about it?”

“It was wack.”

We both laughed out loud in the waiting room at Attica, prison guards throwing a stern look.

We talked for hours during that first visit. I was nervous. Smokey would want the perfect story with lots of quotes. Malcolm talked a lot—no problem there. But there were no writing utensils or paper allowed in the prison. So half of my brain was listening. And the other half was trying desperately to record.

I left the prison, got in my rental car and wrote everything I could remember for a solid hour.

We continued to exchange letters. He was set to be released on January 23, 2008. And the first thing I thought was I need to be here when he gets out.

I knew that would be important to the story. Young kid, getting released from Attica, starting a new life. I had to be there and see it myself…

I decided to ask him on my next visit.

“So you’re getting out soon,” I asked. I kept my eyes on the snacks I bought from the vending machine for both of us.

“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t want to ask my aunts or my girl to pick me up…”

I felt a lump form in my throat. I could see Smokey clapping his hands together—POW!—that’s great color for the story. Not just watching Malcolm released from prison. But actually picking him up from prison!

But was that crossing a line? Where did being a good journalist morph into being a good…friend.

“Do you want me to pick you up?”

“Would you do that?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “I would do that.”

Part of me was excited about adding this element to my story. But another part of me felt like this was an exploitation of a young man with a troubled past.

Throughout our many conversations, Malcolm did not spare any details on his life. I felt myself holding back tears on things he would tell me in a very even-tempered, matter-of-fact voice. He’s the kind of young man that you just want to protect and shield from the world.

And over time, I realized…I didn’t want to write a story about him. He needed to be left alone. He needed some time away from the glare of the media to get his life together. The last thing he needed was me writing a story about him.

Which became a bit of a problem.

Since Smokey was paying me good money to write a story about him.

I told Smokey to book another trip to Buffalo for me.

“Why?” he asked. “You need to visit him again to get this story?!”

“I need to pick him up,” I said. “And drive him to Albany, where he’s going to live.”

I could hear Smokey smack his hands together through the phone.

“THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT ALIYA! YOU THE SHIT! YOU PICKING HIM UP? FROM PRISON?! THAT’S HOOOOOOOOOT!”

I was worthy. I made Smokey proud. Yay.

“We gotta send a photographer,” Smokey said.

We’d always planned to have a photographer shoot Malcolm when he was released from prison. But now that I was part of the story, instead of just reporting the story, I wasn’t feeling the idea of bringing a photographer with me.

“We can’t do that. I would need Malcolm to know ahead of time,” I told Smokey. “And if I write him a letter now, it might not get to him in time.”

“I have to send a photographer. This is history.”

“No.”

“Aliya, I have to.”

“No.”

“Think about it.”

“No.”

“We always said we would send a photographer!”

“That was different. That was before I was the one picking him up!”

“Send Malcolm a letter,” Smokey said. “If it doesn’t reach him and he doesn’t want the photographer there, tell him to leave without taking a single picture.”

“You’ll pay for a photographer to come out there for nothing?”

“Yes.”

“Smokey…”

“Please. Aliya, this is history. He’ll appreciate it too.”

“I will write to him and ask him if it’s okay. If he doesn’t respond….”

“Send the photographer away.”

I wrote the letter and sent it to Malcolm.

Smokey hired Antonin Kratchovil, an award-winning photographer, to meet me at the prison on the morning of January 23, 2008.

“I didn’t hear back from him,” I told Antonin, the night before Malcolm’s release. “If he says no tomorrow, you have to leave.”

“That is fine,” he said, in a heavy accent that sounded Eastern European.

The next morning, I left my hotel at 6AM to pick up Malcolm, with Antonin following behind me.

We drove through a blizzard and made it to Attica at 8 AM.

I went into the waiting area. It was empty. Visitors are not allowed until 9AM. But Malcolm told me to be there at 8 on the dot. Prisoners being released left an hour before visiting hours began. A guard looked up at me.

“Can I help you?”

“I’m picking up someone being released today.”

“Come back at 8:30.”

“I was told to be here at 8.”

The guard didn’t look up from his coffee.

“I’m telling you to come back at 8:30.”

I went back to my car. Told Antonin what happened and that we would just have to wait.

I couldn’t help but wonder if something had gone wrong in the past two weeks since I saw Malcolm last. He could have been in a fight. Or anything could have happened that would make them extend his stay.

At 8:25, I went back inside. The guard looked up at the clock on the wall.

“You can have a seat over there,” he said, pointing to the benches to the right of the room. There was no one there but me.

About five minutes later, I saw some movement in the vestibule behind the first gate, the first place I usually went en route to the visiting room. But this time, I wasn’t going in.

The black iron gate slid open. And Malcolm Shabazz came out.

He was wearing a green wool kufi with orange embroidery, dark blue jeans, black work boots and a heavy coat. He was carrying an open Fed-Ex box stuffed with papers and a green mesh bag full of papers and books.

He looked my way and acknowledged me. He didn’t smile, per se. But he had a look of cautious relief on his face. He wasn’t out yet. And we both knew it. He walked up to the guard at the front door of the prison and stopped.

“What’s your number?” the guard said.

“02 r 4617,” Malcolm said in a sharp, loud voice.

“Date of birth,” the guard asked, without making eye contact.

“October 8, 1984,” Malcolm said.

The guard didn’t look up from his computer.

“You’re free to go,” he said.

I stepped up to Malcolm and took one of his bags out of his hands.

“You okay?”

“I don’t know.”

We walked towards the front doors of the prison.

“Malcolm, did you get my letter? About the photographer?”

Malcolm’s eyes went wide.

“No. What photographers?”

“Shit,” I said. “Giant sent a photographer. He’s outside.”

Malcolm stopped short just as we were about to push open the door.

“No way. No pictures. Not with me looking like this!”

“Looking like what? You look fine…”

Malcolm used his one free hand to gesture to his clothes.

“I didn’t get any clothes to wear out of here…my hair’s not braided…

“You want to capture this moment Malcolm. You’re never coming back here again. Ever.”

“I know…”

“Is it okay? You can say no. I’ll send him away right now”

Malcolm looked at me and then at the front door.”

“Yeah. It’s okay.”

I pushed open the door and walked down the steps. Malcolm took a deep breath and followed me out.

Antonin saw Malcolm and immediately started shooting. And then he stopped.

“Ah-LEE-yah,” he said, pointing at me. “Move away…”

I realized that I had been standing so close to Malcolm that Antonin could barely see him. Subconsciously, I was actually hiding him. Like Antonin was paparazzi instead of a photographer hired to do a job for a story I was writing.

I stepped away. Malcolm looked at me warily.

“It’s okay. Just a few more,” I urged.

I felt like shit. Like I violated something. He didn’t want to get his picture taken, I could tell. And he was just being released from a maximum-security prison. So I can only imagine what was going on his mind.

“Antonin,” I said, “You have thirty seconds. Then we have to get in the car.”

It was 25 degrees, extremely windy and snow was coming down all around us in large flakes.

“Yes, yes. 30 seconds.”

Antonin got up inches away from Malcolm’s face with his camera. He snapped. Then he let the hand holding the camera drop down briefly and whispered something to Malcolm. I don’t know what he said but he seemed to put Malcolm at ease somehow. Malcolm nodded and lifted his chin up.

He gave Antonin an ice-grill as he continued to shoot him, with the entrance to the prison behind him. The words Attica Correctional Facility framed the back of his head.

“Ten seconds Antonin…” I said.

“Who is that?” Malcolm said, pointing to a man standing behind me.

“That’s Antonin’s assistant,” I said.

Malcolm nodded.

“Antonin, we’re leaving.” I said.

Malcolm walked to the rental car. I unlocked the back seat so he could throw his stuff back there. Before he could get in the car, Antonin was at the car, snapping away.

Malcolm stood rigid, his arm on the car door handle, one leg inside the car, staring at Antonin’s lens.

“Antonin,” I said. “No. No more.”

Finally, Antonin took his camera down and went back to his car.

Malcolm got inside, closed the door and looked up at the prison.

“How do you feel right now?” I asked him.

“I don’t have any words to describe it.”

“What do you want to do right now?”

“I need to get something to eat.”

“Somewhere near here? Or do you want to get on the road first?”

Malcolm looked up at the prison, put his hands together and rubbed them.

“Somewhere on the road.”

I turned on my recorder and interviewed Malcolm for the entire five-hour ride from Buffalo to Albany.

When I dropped him off at his new home in Albany, I had everything I needed to write my story: quotes, color, everything.

So that was it. No need to talk to Malcolm anymore, right?

Wrong.

We stayed in touch. Talked about pop culture, current events. We have daughters who are two weeks apart. We updated each other via text message and email on their progress.

I started interviewing other people in Malcolm’s life for my story, while Smokey thought of the images he wanted to use for the story. His idea was have Malcolm re-create some of his grandfather’s iconic portraits.

“That’s hot,” Malcolm said, when I told him the idea for the photo shoot. “Let’s do it.”

So on February 21 of last year, which just happened to be the 44th anniversary of Malcolm X’s death, I’m in a hotel room with Malcolm, Antonin, stylist Aixa Weeks and videographer Mike Jones.

malcom_shabazz009_main

The images were controversial. But from an artistic standpoint, they were very powerful.

Now it was time for me to give this young man’s story some context. I got to work.

And before I could hand in a first draft, the entire story fell apart.

Smokey was transitioning from print to online. Malcolm would be his last cover at GIANT.

I wouldn’t have enough time to complete the story.

“Don’t worry,” Smokey said. “We’ll put an introduction in the print magazine along with the photos. And then we’ll run the entire story online.”

Smokey had me record video of myself before going into Attica. I kept a blog from the first time I wrote him until the day I picked him up. I scanned all the letters we exchanged.

It was supposed to be a multimedia masterpiece—a chance for the world to know that Malcolm Shabazz was more than just what they’d read about a 12 year old who set a fire in his grandmother’s home.

But none of that happened: the story was never properly written. Time ran out. Instead, we cobbled an as-told-to story out of the many hours of interview I’d done with young Malcolm. The story became a very provocative photo gallery with almost no context.

Malcolm’s Aunt Ilyassah, who had graciously allowed me to interview her, wrote me a stern email. Where’s the story? And why did you have Malcolm posing with a rifle? I don’t get that at all.

My response was wack and mealy-mouthed. What could I say?

For months, I kept thinking, if I write a good, solid story, then it will all be worth it. If I write a good story and get Malcolm’s words out there, I will not have exploited him. I will have helped him. If I get a good story out there, it will have been worth it.

The good story was never published. And I wish I’d never been involved at all.

Smokey called me yesterday. The anniversary of Malcolm X’s birthday is today. Smokey’s all ready to roll out the photos and the behind the scenes footage I narrated.

“Can you add something else?” Smokey asked. “To freshen up the content.”

Freshen up the content?

Smokey didn’t get it.

I get random emails from people who call me a savage for interviewing Malcolm at all. He doesn’t need to be in the media. If you really cared about him, you’d protect him from journalists like you.

And it’s not over. Malcolm recently asked me to help him write a book proposal. He wants to share his story. And what he has to say is devastating, unflinchingly honest and wholly necessary. I’m honored that he wants me to help him tell his complete story. But I still want nothing to do with last year’s media debacle.

“No Smokey,” I said. “I’m not freshening up anything.”

“I respect that,” he said. “I’m still re-posting last year’s content tomorrow….Is that okay?”

“Yeah. That’s fine.”

“And you do have the opportunity to say whatever you want to say about where you stand one year later.”

“All I have to say is that I wish I’d never taken the assignment.”

For the first time in eleven years, Smokey’s voice was soft.

“Really?”

“I’m conflicted about every part of that story,” I said. “And I’m not sure if I did right by Malcolm at all.”

“You could write that,” Smokey said. His voice was still soft.

I’m conflicted about every part of that story. And I’m not sure if I did right by Malcolm at all.

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38 Responses to “Regrets: Malcolm Shabazz”

  1. camilo Says:

    that was some solid backstory on that piece. I’m glad you shared.

  2. Tremaya Says:

    Aliya,
    This is one of the most sincere and pained writings I’ve ever read. You totally drew me in. I felt like I was right there with you and Malcolm. I remember reading that story online last year and it really did feel incomplete. I thought that maybe there would be a part two or something, now I know why it seemed that way.

    I’m glad you shared this and set the record straight on what really happened, and I hope it helps you to find peace with the situation.

  3. Zuhirah Says:

    the truth is all there is. thanks Aliya

  4. Katura Says:

    Wow.

  5. Kenrya Says:

    Thanks for opening up and sharing this with us. I know how hard it is to put it all out there. This is a step in the right direction, and I’d love to see a book collabo between you and Malcolm.

  6. kimkim Says:

    Wow Aliya. Sometimes the backstory is better than the cover story. And I think this is a step in righting things. Hopefully, he’s reading….

  7. clove Says:

    wow. I wish I would’ve read this story that you just posted on your blog in a magazine. but people don’t see what goes on behind the scenes that prevents great stories like this from being told even when you do have all the access and resources. THANK YOU for sharing.

  8. Tanisha Says:

    Sometimes behind the scenes can be so intense. The ethics involved in being a good journalist are so sktchy sometimes. Creating a “good” read isn’t always easy or simple, especially when you want to do right by the people who have opened themselves up to you in the first place. I felt you on this Aliya.

  9. Robyn Says:

    Thank you Aliya. What a story.

  10. alexandra Says:

    what a beautiful story aliya. i’m late getting out of the office but couldn’t get out of my chair til i was done.

    this was a giant red flag:

    <>

    of course you know from a journalistic standpoint you’re lost from that moment on, right? that is 100% not your mandate. and yet as a human being, it’s the only thing you could want.

    my beat really doesn’t have me running up against issues like that ever. which is why, in some ways, i chose my beat.

    do the book. in that forum, you can care as much as you want to.

    and it’s really clear you do!

  11. alexandra Says:

    ugh looks like my cut and paste from your story didn’t paste. it was the bit where you wanted to do a good story for malcolm’s sake. from a purely ethical standpoint, you become judy miller with better politics. and that sucks, because you have clearly made the right choices as a person.

    again: this is why i write about hotels and dresses.

  12. Paul Cantor Says:

    I’m sure that whole experience was, as you pointed out, rather gut wrenching. Sometimes it’s best to just say no. But hindsight is always 20/20

  13. Yolonda Says:

    WOW

  14. Imani Dawson Says:

    I am RIVETED. I think you can finish telling the story in the book…I’m ready to get on line for my copy, right now.

  15. Michael Says:

    I remember seeing that photo gallery and wondering what exactly was the point of it. Nice to finally get a back story.

    Fantastic entry. Great writing. Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. Dope Fiend Says:

    This was an amazing piece, you completely captivated me.
    And honestly, I think Malcolm understands. He seems to respect you, enough to ask you to help him write his life story. I hope you do it, I really do.

    xoxo

  17. Alice T. Crowe Says:

    This was an excelent article. Thank you for your courage in even touching the subject. I could not put the article down. It was refreshing to read a story and understand that there is always a story underneath pain and trouble. His life story will help so many others as his voice is heard. Your article really helps fill in the blanks of history. Malcolm has the potential to heal and help others through his honesty, heal too.

  18. A.L.Dre Says:

    Ms. King… I’ve read many of your masterpieces in word form and I had no choice but to respond to this one…
    When I write a piece I know for authenticity sake, truth and substance that sometimes I have to dig, be nosey, snoop and pry into my subjects world as I talk to them over the phone or look directly into their eyes. You want to do your job well, while still remaining a caring human being and at times when you get that quote or admission that you know has not been told before and that will make your final piece shine you get a sense of joy that you’ve made someone comfortable enough to open up to you… at the same time you also get that sense of inner-turmoil that you’ve made someone comfortable enough to open up to you… and at that exact moment you don’t want to take advantage of that achievement and fact.
    I can say that through your words, actions, compassion for and regrets about Malcolm and the story, that you should have no regrets about the assignment… You were the perfect one chosen to do it. Imagine if the openness that you established with Malcolm’s heart and soul had been made and assigned to another writer who did not care or give a second thought to their actions while in the midst of the story…
    Keep in mind you have kept in human contact with Malcolm so as a writer you have a chance now to tell the full complete story as I’m sure you originally envisioned…

    Nuff Respect!!!

  19. Timothy Says:

    Aliya, I wasn’t going to tell you until the time was ripe and right, but I feel compelled. You have a new client.

    When I get my money right, I want to hire you to write a book on my father who passed away a few years back. I don’t care if no one ever buys it, i’m not even sure I want it for sale. I want it for my family and generations to come. And I want you wholly in charge and making all editorial decisions. I say this because I can feel your heart and talent. And actually I find it extremely hard to believe there was a time in your adulthood, that you were not ready.

  20. Luvvie Says:

    WOW. Just…wow

    Maybe writing that book of his is a way to finally complete the story you started

  21. tyrone Says:

    Captivating.

  22. la negrita Says:

    “[I thought] she would go to the fire escape [but] she walked through the fire to get to me. I didn’t think she would walk through a fire for me.”

    This quote stuck out the most to me. Wow. So very sad. I don’t remember Betty Shabbazz’s death at all, but this guy is my age. Just wow.

    I remember this cover story as well, and I didn’t “get” it either. Very moving entry.

  23. Aliya S. King Says:

    Thank you everybody. I really appreciate the comments here. For real.

  24. stressboogie Says:

    loved this

  25. Wayne Abbott Says:

    From one RU alum (and Hill Center basement dweller) to another thanks much for this excellent back story. As I read the piece I kept thinking of what Gwen Ifill went through leading up to the VP debate and how she inadvertently became a part of the story. Although things didn’t turn out how you ultimately wanted from a journalist’s perspective it sounds as if you got something else very valuable in return.

  26. Byakuugan_Mod Says:

    “I’m conflicted about every part of that story. And I’m not sure if I did right by Malcolm at all.”

    This may not make you feel better, but you did right by Malcolm by becoming his friend in spite of what your job was. He needed help and you actually cared regardless of how it all turned out. It is not too late to tell the story properly, but by saying this much you’ve said more than enough.

  27. ak Says:

    so glad you told this story. truth is, it’s hard to be a journalist and a decent human being at the same time. it takes serious courage to build relationships with sources, care about them and then write what you’re gonna write anyway. i’ve failed on that accord many a time. that’s why i consider myself a writer who uses journalistic techniques. I’m waaay too touchy feely for the hardcore shark thing–unless you cross me on some personal shit, like the time cassidy ran his hand up my thigh. but i digress…

    for what it’s worth, you did the best you could with a sticky ethical question. when you’re dealing with an editor who’s using questionable ethics, that makes it even more confusing.

    ultimately this is a question of respect and humanity. when you said no to the freshening up, you did what was in your power to restore both. for that, you should be proud.

  28. rosa cabrera Says:

    Ms. King,I read your article re: Malcolm Shabazz and I very much appreciate your efforts to allow Malcolm’s legacy to become exposed, in the spirit of the voice he left for us through his autobiography. I am a teacher at The James Baldwin High School and am currently teaching a course titled “Human Rights Through the Eyes of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.” Currently my students are working on comparative history papers that they will present to a panel. I would love it if Malcolm Shabazz could share in this experience and witness how other youth percieve Malcom’s work in the context of history and the present.The school is located in New York City, although I am unaware of where Malcolm is located. Is it possible that you could forward this message to him? If this sounds like something you would be interested in covering you would also be welcome to document this opportunity. You may reach me at Rosadominicana@gmail.com Thank you for your time and consideration. Rosa Cabrera

  29. Denene@MyBrownBaby Says:

    Damn.

    That was a helluva back story–absolutely brilliant.

    And the sign of a fantastic journalist.

    Thank you for sharing it with us…

  30. Kimberly Says:

    Wow. I really would like to read the entire story because I was at my mother’s house that night of the fire. She lives across the street from where Mrs Shabazz lived. I woke up coughing. Then I saw the news the next morning. Malcolm was found at my old HS.

  31. Jordan Says:

    I just caught a piece on you in King magazine(I Think) Great Blog. Nice back story.

  32. Kharen Fulton Says:

    Aliya,

    Thank you for the backstory and your compassion for young Malcolm and his family. We need more of you in the industry. I look forward to his book as long as you are part of it.

  33. George Says:

    Peace be with you.

    OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!

    Peace be with you

  34. michele pierce burns Says:

    Bless You Aliya, for your love and sensitivity. I often wonder why American Culture/media sometimes treat people like they are not human…I remember crying as I watched the media swarming Dr. Cosby after his son’s Ennis’ tragic murder and he simply asked if he could go inside the house to see his wife who he had not yet seen. Anyway, I respect your choices and your work as well. My 10-year old son Danson just published his first book entitled DANSON: The Extraordinary Discovery of an Autistic Child’s Innermost Thoughts and Feelings (St. Lynn’s Press March, 2009) and I’d love to send a copy to you as it is all about the issues you discuss here such as “how is one little life supposed to change the world to love when there is so much suffering?” From the mouths of babes…in this case since Danson is nearly non-verbal, from the writings of babes…

  35. Lisa. Says:

    Love your writing, Aliya.

  36. Saudi X. Says:

    ur a bonafide liar.

  37. Saudi X. Says:

    NOT ONE DAMN PIECE IN THIS ARTICLE IS TRUTHFUL… NOT EVEN THE TITLE WHICH WAS STOLEN AS WELL… U WILL READ THE BOOK, “THE BASTARD SEED” WHICH TELLS THE REAL STORY THAT ALIAR COULDN’T GET OUT OF THE CREEP BECAUSE HE’S A SOCIOPATH AND SHE COULDN’T SEE IT.. ONLY INTERESTED IN A STORY, NOT THE TRUTH… SHAME ON YA!! DID U TELL UR HUSBAND THAT U WERE COMING ON TO YOUR SUBJECT IN THOSE LETTERS THAT U WERE WRITING TO HIM TO TRY TO GET HIM TO OPEN UP TO YOU?? NOPE, U LEFT THAT OUT BUT IT’LL BE INCORPORATED INTO MY BOOK. CYA AROUND..

  38. M* Says:

    i agree with Camilo–> “that was some solid backstory on that piece. I’m glad you shared.”

    ==

    man, ive been
    glued to the internet the past two days…just reading articles after articles…links connected to links . I first caught on to this when i seen the video of the photoshoot on Youtube..man was i excited to actually find SOMETHING about malcolm shabazz online..at one point i almost thought no one cared or the “internet government” was hiding content of Q.shabazz and her son Malcolm.

    ====

    I couldnt believe i was watching a part of black history before my eyes, and like Aliya said “a rush of emotions” and the fact he was only 23/24 at the time..around my age. it was fasinating….then i became more interested in the article that supported the artistically amazing photos of malcolm s.

    ======
    I read the two online articles- what i got from it was interesting facts about malcolm [born in paris] , his back story[ moving from place to place..a concept that somepeople didnt know], how he felt [ how he didnt mean to hurt his gma& ‘I didn’t think she would walk through a fire for me’ ] , that amazing quote 4rm Maya Angelou [“God created him,” she said to the audience. “But we made him.”] & the fact at the end of the day -everyone has gone thru things and in order to get thru them, as a whole we should work to+gether &share love. i truly believe if the lineage of love wasnt stopped in taking care of lil shabazz, he would of been allright. this all stuck to me in reading. so thanks.

    ===

    the only issue i had with the whole thing were minor like the wrong date of when Betty shabazz apartment was burned down, the ending where it kinda just feels incomplete, like i really want to know more of what his plans were at that moment after u interviewed him [then again u plan on writing more in the future on him which i look forward too] , and then in the youtube clip where u said “Malcolm Shabazz is a microcosm of young black men today: ..drugs, alcoholism, prison,etc” i think thats a representation of an ill that the whole world faces, not just young black folks, its a epitome or miniature fault of the world/universe.

    ====
    thanks for sharing your courage and determination as a human FIrst! You are apart of history, and im glad u have experienced something so historical -u can share with ur grand babies &children.

    It has given me confidence to do what i have to do in life.

    ===
    “Regret for time wasted can become a power for good in the time that remains, if we will only stop the waste and the idle, useless regretting.”
    – Arthur Brisbane

    &

    “Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence.”
    – Will Henry
    &

    Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.
    – Victoria Holt

    Best Regards,

    thank again miss Aliya King..stay fly.

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