Damn, I don’t want to get into this one. SMH.
The teachings of the Nation of Gods & Earths are the foundation of the dopest and most life affirming Hip Hop ever. For that, I am eternally grateful to the Nation and Clarence 13X.
I’ll just leave it at that, or maybe not….yes I will; or I think I need to say something…Damn you @ralphielauren!
Mythological concepts and ideologies are not enough to construct and sustain a Nation, and more importantly the State. They just aren’t. Such ideas and dogmas have a role to play (if they are African based), but if we can’t build on and advance beyond mythological concepts we will become stagnant.
When I moved to NYC in the early 1990s many Cats I hung with were up on the Mathematics, they knew the Science, they donned the symbols, and all that, but there was no substance, there was no on the ground program or action, but that was the case from most of the ideological groups in Brooklyn back then.
Many 5%-ers were only separated from the 85%-ers though rhetoric, not action, organization, or discipline; again this is all my limited personal experience with the 5%-ers way back when.
I never had any really negative experiences with the 5%-ers, but I felt that there was un-reached, or even limited potential in that whole System.
I think we need a secular analysis and formation to advance us; and the mission has to be above and beyond any individuals.
The notion that we are Gods, that the “Black man is God,” fed much dysfunction over time, again in my observation. It was hard to practically construct a plan an move forward with dudes who took their Godhood literally I would be working with Brothers in Rikers Island who would be asserting their Godhood while in chains, I’d try to reason with them, to discuss some practical actions to address their situation, and they’d say: “I’m a God Nigga, these Devils can’t touch me,” or some shit like that. Asserting Godhood for men just leaves the door open to so much abuse and dysfunction, I’ve observed.
But a lot of people told me that the 5% teachings were the only reason they are here today. The teachings and the music it inspired also greatly helped me to not only navigate a drug, crime, violence, and poverty infested community in my youth, it laid an academic and critical thinking foundation for my as I entered my formal and informal education as a Black Man.
So, ultimately, my feelings about the Nation are mixed.
My criticism about the Nation are universal to most Religious groupings, especially based in an Alien Religion like Islam. We can’t build and sustain an African Liberation Struggle with a Religion that has a history of oppressing Africans at it’s core, that’s my analysis; we can’t do it even if we make “corrections” or amendments to the teachings of Islam.
As far as Clearance 13X, I admire him and his efforts, we do him the most honor by building on and advancing beyond his legacy, not by simply replicating him and his actions. The same goes for all of our other Icons of the Struggle.
Here are some of my fav 5% tracks (no particular order):