The United States has never declared a Malcolm X holiday, probably because of the type of leader he was, says Ejypt Clough, a local poet. “Maybe he was too much of a rebel, and he wasn't always peaceful. Maybe it's because nobody really got together and fought to have it,” she says.
Still, it's important to pay homage to someone who did so much for African-Americans and other minorities, she says. “All civil rights leaders need to be acknowledged. That's the only way for the younger generations to even know they existed.”
Ejypt C Productions has created an event that will showcase Albuquerque's strong poetry community, including a Diva Spotlight portion with Jasmine Sena, African dance with Yahfah Rai, appearances from local slam heroes, a raffle, an old-school dance party and community service awards.
Hakim Bellamy, a member of the Duke City's 2005 and 2006 slam teams, was in the midst of composing his tribute to Malcolm X, which will be performed that night, when we spoke with him. “I like doing research pieces,” he says. “I'm a geek first and a poetry geek second.” For Hakim, writing a poem also means he's ingraining something significant in his memory. “If I can commit it to a poem, I'll never forget.” And the pressure comes not from performing in front of a grip of renowned slam poets, but from the nature of the day. “I don't feel like I have to be impressive to the poets, but to the occasion. It's like, what if Malcolm was here and he was hearing this?”
By Any Means Necessary occurs Friday, May 19, at 8 p.m. It's 21-and-over. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 417-9474.