This is the reply to a question i received from a very inspiring woman, i hope i get to tell you about her.
This is probably the most difficult question I have had to answer, aside the cliché, “How are you?” There are just too many options. I haven’t read as much as I would have loved to but it’s still difficult. What exactly defines your favorite piece of writing? Should it be because of a certain emotional response such as pain, anguish, love, joy that it elicits? Should it be because to can relate? Should it be because of the recognition the song lyric, novel, poem has had? I think it should be what that piece of art means to you.
My favorite piece of writing has to be the Autobiography of Malcolm X as told by Alex Haley. Hitherto reading that book I just knew Malcom X by his iconic and popular pictures. He was just one of those “Civil Rights People”. Not being American, the issue of race was not such a passionate matter around, but the book opened me up to a whole new world. A world where a widow does not receive her husband’s life insurance because, somehow, he manages to fall in front of a speeding locomotive train. A world where a young boy is told he can’t be a lawyer because of the color of her skin. A world that fails to find solutions to the problem it creates. That’s basically the world we live in but I was blind to.
Malcom or El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, talks about the white man with so much hate, which is quite understandable giving the circumstances in his life. But the book, like the great man, should not be misunderstood. He is a person that didn’t resist change or knowledge. A person who used whatever skills life gave him to survive. Be it a hustler on the streets on Harlem or in prison or on a stage, ‘emancipating his people from mental slavery’. The impact he had and continues to have on human life is immeasurable. He sparked a sense of consciousness and mental awareness in to life of the black man in America. I love the book for introducing him to me.
The main reason why it is my favorite piece of writing is because it taught me to believe in myself. Before reading it, I dreamt of being great but I didn’t within me feel I could actually do it. Reading about Malcolm Little transform form a police-dodging hustler and drug addict into one of the most influential men of his time made me believe. I am as good as I want to be and work hard to be. I also love the book because it showed me the power of knowledge, whose principal source is books. There are other sources but books are the easiest to access and understand. Whilst in prison, Malcolm was fortunate to find Allah and fight his addictions, altering the course of his life. He used a lot of his time to educate himself, reading books on economics, history, religion, politics, and the dictionary. In those books he found the fuel that powered him to become who he became. The world is an amazing place but we are lost without knowledge of it and its operation. Books are the prime source of this knowledge
My favorite quote of the books is
“From Lagos, Nigeria, I flew on to Accra, Ghana.
I think that nowhere is the black continent’s wealth and the natural beauty of its people richer than in Ghana, which is so proudly the very fountainhead of Pan-Africanism.”
I only like this because I am Ghanaian.
The Autobiography of Malcom X is my favorite piece of writing because it steered me into the right direction.
[Common, Cocaine 80s x Young Hearts Run Free]
Social influence is the most powerful and most dangerous determinant of human behavior. Mainly because before you begin to realize it, the effect has already taken place and can be herculean to reverse or counteract. As Stanley Milgram and his team showed, Human beings are capable of shocking things. Behavior is predictable, but excessively erratic. However, it can be careful controlled. This is something too many people know nothing of.
With the burst of the internet and the relative simplicity that communication has achieved, ideas (both good and bad) are exchanged rather too easily, considering the power they behold. Social influence has become extremely passive. Social media has evolve from being a platform for social interaction to the greatest tastemaker. This is not surprising; it just means that the unconscious effect of social influence has been sped up. People don’t think too much, of what they read and watch, but are still influenced by it. It does not mean if you follow stupid people on your twitter you will get stupid or if you follow smart people, you will get smart. It is impossible to elude the influence of any phenomenon, idea or person in a lifetime. My concern is what the influences is.
The subtle nuances in what we surround ourselves with end up shaping our beings, and the inability to recognize this is dangerous. I am therefore a slave to a force I cannot perceive until I cannot do nothing about. A mental slavery, where bright screens are the cages, lines of text- the shackles, videos and songs-the whips. The slavery has also evolved and adapted to the changing times. So does my young heart really run free or is unclosed in a large filed and the tracks built as I grow?
Slavery is not always negative because there is no way to prove that we have ever been completely free. We cannot fight the influence, but we can try to control it.
What do you think?
Could we just sit
In the garden and listen to the birds sing
Watch the butterflies caress the bright petals
Feel the breeze tickle the hairs on our skin.
I wish we could be trapped
In this perfect moment of bliss
Where Time we don’t obey
And age has no place
I hope we rock gently
As we appreciate Mother’s artwork
And think of no other time but now
Enjoy no other presence but ours
Could we just stay…
Pick up this pen of mine
Scribble some electric lines
With recurring rhymes
About this deadly time
To be living a life
Without being alive
And be blind to the crime
But rather full enticed
Elude the surprise
Till the hour you find
That this world is a mine
And you’ve been sleeping outside
You didn’t bother to hide
Or even perturbed by the hive
Till the day that you die
And your potential expires…
Today I thought about life and all its surprises
All its dull moments and spices
All the things that I despise
And those I adore in disguise
How we keep telling ourselves lies
And see only what we perceive to be good for our eyes.
How we talk about change and keep talking
How we claim to be sane but keep talking
How we glorify heads downplay hands
Is it cos we forget the need for balance?
Today I thought about how I should not be thinking
About how the air pockets are filled and the ship is sinking
How all the loot has crushed our deck.
And the current’s rushing not to clear our dirt
But for our heads.
Today I don’t no only think but I act
I mix saffron with the soul of a maverick.
I stop mediocrity from spilling out the aqueducts
Roll up my sleeves and perform magic
Today I am who I want to be.