The Apollo Theater of Harlem: What Happened?
Brothers & Sisters Session; Washington, D.C.
The Apollo Theater of Harlem: What Happened?
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed (raa)
It says when Muhammed the Prophet pbuh was born, this is a story, a myth among the Arabs it, says they noticed that everything was strange and when they looked at the wicked, the devils, they saw all the devils with their heads hung down. And they said, "What has happened today?" And they later discovered that Muhammed the Prophet pbuh was born on that day. So no hope the devil said it is too late once Muhammed pbuh is born it is too late we can't do our thing. I don't fear anything as I told my brother I fear nothing but G-d, not that I'm afraid of other things hurting me, certainly, but the fear of G-d is so much greater than the fear of those things.
So lastly, here comes the meat, we have talked all of this deep knowledge, we had all of this deep insight into the nature of things, are we just going to have knowledge for knowledge sake? To do that is a sin.
Once you are enlightened then you have to act according to the light. Now recently we were in Harlem, we spoke at the Apollo theater, after speaking there I was told almost before I left the area, if you're going to reproduce the tape you can't reproduce it if you put Apollo on it, you can't have the name Apollo on it. I said what is this?
I said you mean to tell me we speak at a place and we can't even say where we spoke? They said, no, you can't use the name Apollo" I said that can't be true. So they finally went back and forth and finally came to me a couple of weeks later and said, "Well the ones that have the lease they failed to read everything carefully, you can't use the name Apollo." I said okay we will use the name Harlem, just say I spoke in Harlem it is good enough. Then I got the word that the owner, this is not me talking I'm just telling you what they told me, the owner is a Jew, the owner says, "You can use the word Apollo for $I5,000. 3 didn't say anything but I wanted to say tell him we will buy the Apollo for $I5,000.
Black Business Undermined Historically
Now just think about this, this is the main part of my message, this is why I wanted you together, this message is for the community, for sisters and brothers equally. You all think about this, and don't forget re-read what I have given you today up to the point where we are now the closing of this. We had no opportunity to be included in this country's productive life until we showed that we were going to build our own productive life, then they decided with pressure coming from whites and others and us that they were going to include us in their productive life.
Black Talents are Harvested by Other Ethnic Groups
We had an African American or black baseball authority, not just responsibility, it was an established authority over black players in baseball and they were making plenty of money off of blacks who were just so excited about seeing them play. They accepted us into the national league, American league and we gave up that, now where is the money that we were making off of baseball that was coming to us? They got it. Now I will name one or two other things but just look right there, what happened.
Now look in music just think of all the great musicians that we have had and think of the vocalists we have had, the great dancers, Bill Roberson, Bo Jangles going all the way back to him who go so popular right there in Harlem. He go so popular he revolutionized tap dancing for America, right? And he danced at the Apollo Theater I think. I'm pretty sure and now the Apollo Theater which was a landmark for African American entertainment is gone, a Jew owns it.
Do you think any other people would allow other people to harvest their resources and command their life? That is what they are doing. They are harvesting our resources and commanding our life for their advantages. Would that happen to any other people but us? No. There is not another people on this planet earth that would permit that, not even the American Indian. If you come and steal something from the American Indian he is going to say you will give it back or we will take your scalp. And you will have to lock him up on a reservation or something, you will have to put him in prison to keep him from doing what he wants to do.
Blacks are the Sacrificial Lamb of the World
But we can be freer than birds, they take everything we got and we don't complain, if that isn't the sacrificial lamb tell me who is. Cut my throat I won't make a sound won't even say Baa, take my skin make coats out of my wool, do what you want. Eat my flesh I won't even say Baa. So don't think of Jesus anymore as the sacrificial lamb, that is a story the reality is you African American people made the sacrificial lamb of the world.
The soul explored and exploited to enrich the treasures of this world. Here we are don't have anything as establishment, if I become a great singer I got to go to the Jews for a stage, that's a shame, we can't have this anymore.
Islam is Responsibility for Muslim Community Life
Look we thinking that this religion is just fasting and praying and waiting on the next Eid, this religion is responsibility for Muslim community life it is as plain as day. The average one of you can't do much more than to show your moral support, your spiritual support and to bring your physical presence here to let us know you're with us. When those men in the language of the Bible told David when he was facing the great challenges and the great armies, they said to him, "You are flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone."
QUR'AN 2.57; Manna and quails
"And We gave You the shade of clouds and sent down to you manna and quails saying: "Eat of the good things We have provided for you"; (but they rebelled); to Us they did no harm but they harmed their own souls."
Exodus 16.13, 15; Manna, quails
"And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. [I5] And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, this is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. "
When they said that to him it was only a very few who he could really count on for some actual work being done, but in spirit they all were with him and that is all we need from you. We need all of you to be in spirit supportive of what we want to do and to bring your presence to help strengthen the spirit of our community, your physical presence helps strengthen the spirit of our community. And learn as much as you can and as the people were told in the Bible when G-d rained down manna and quail for them. They were told to go out and get the manna before the sun comes up because when the sun comes up it will disappear. Go out and each person gather as much as he can take into his own private home. Well that is a science and what it means I will give it to you in a very practical way now in plain language, what you hear from Imam Warithuddin Mohammed take as much of it as you can manage, take it into your own private mind, take it back to your own home and share it with your family as much as you can manage, but do it before the sun comes up. That means before you start thinking something else, while you got this on your mind do it, don't wait until you go to bed and in the morning you have some other things on your mind. The light of those things will do away, melt away or dissolve a way what we're talking about right now. So before you take chances on losing it in the interest and influence that will come on you tomorrow when you wake up, do it tonight. Go home with whatever you digested safely and comfortably take that home and share it with your loved ones that you can talk to.
And be as consider of their capacity to understand as I am of your capacity to understand. Give them no more than what you think they can handle, if you think they can't handle it don't give it to them. And then the community will begin to register importance of what I'm giving you. See if you just hear it and don't work with it, don't share it with others how will the community will ever register the importance of it? We used to be excited because our parents or older brothers and sisters when they came home from hearing the teachings they would come in there and share it with us.
They would say, "The minister said such and such," they shared with us but you have to first find it interesting. If you don't find it interesting you're not going to have it in your own mind. I guess that is what it means when it says "Some grain fell upon stony ground. Some upon a rock and the rain came down and washed the seeds off," they were lost.
A practical thing for us to do is to sit down our learned ones in the community, you with the higher education, you who are thinkers, if you're not a thinker forget about it. You who are thinkers you just don't hear things but you want to understand things, you want to study things. That is a thinker, not just hearing something but wanting to understand what is heard and wanting to study what is heard to get more benefit out of it or to apply it to use. And then he wants to look at the future and see how it can be extended or given to the future to make the future even better than the present, this is thinking. So you who are thinkers you should take what I have given you today and you should identify the business men and some of them are here today, business men you are responsible too.
You and the educated one who are here you need to get together and look at our problem and start coming up with some steps for us to take to solve these problems.
We Need Black Theaters
We cannot accept that we have all of this talent and no place of our own to present them to the public, we can't accept that. Our brother Imam sitting to my right here he is trying to acquire a building right now so we can have a place for cultural expression, singing, theater, dancing, music etc., that is just one place, but what about the Apollo? The Apollo is a landmark in our name, to our credit, how can we let a non African American own that place and decide how its going to be used and whatever, that is ridiculous. The landlord now is not one of our own people, but that belongs to us, our life and our history, but the landlord now is not even one of us.
Apollo Buy It Back For African Americans
Qur'an 4.2; Give the orphans their property
4:2 To orphans restore their property (When they reach their age), nor substitute (your) worthless things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by mixing it up) with your own. For this is indeed a great sin.
So are we accepting that the property of the orphan be taken? No, we need to go and talk to Percy Sutton who owned it before, he is an African American. After we talk to Percy Sutton we need to talk to Rev. Jessie Jackson and we need to let them know that this is a shame on our race that we don't have a place or a stage for presenting our own talent. Will any other people accept that? No other people would accept that, so we need to get outside help, we need to get our other brothers and sisters from Christianity to get involved. And we need to raise enough money to buy that place back from that Jew or from those Jews you never can tell it might be more than one Jew. We need to buy it back from those Jews and call it Salaam Apollo or Apollo Salaam, leave it up to the Christians but we got to be recognized in the new name.
Tell them we are the guardian of property of the orphan, G-d has established Imam Warithuddin Mohammed and his supporters as the guardians of the properties of the orphan. And we don't want to see that remain in the Jew's or any other ethnic group's possession, we have nothing against Jews. If it was E.T we would tell E. T. go back home give us the Apollo back and you go back home, tell them just like that, please. Tell them the Imam said if it was E. T., he said E. T. give us this property back and you go back home, this is our home, get out of our house.
When they are in the symbol of your cultural life, they are in your house, they are the owners taking over your own house. And we need to look at these other situations like the Regal Theater, it has been in Chicago for so long. Nat King Cole in his beginning, that is where he sang and played in the Regal Theater. It was on King Drive at the time, now it is on 79lh Street, they reopened it. We need to be watching these places and discreetly find out who the owner is. These black people buy and they have faith in us, they think we're going to support it and then they get discouraged, they get hurt and then they sell it to somebody else.
It is so important, they don't know, they don't have insight, they don't know that life like we know the life, so to them they can sell. We should never sell, you never sell your property that represents your life history. You keep your history, keep the property that represents your life history, you keep it you don't ever sell it to anybody else, we have to get them back.
Theaters We Need Several in the U.S.
Form a Black Baseball Team Again
That is nothing but a drop in the bucket, we have to support brother Imam in getting a theater where he is, we have to get at least four or five in the United States and we have to start having our talent there. We ought to tell them we want our African-American baseball team back and the Muslims should start searching for baseball players, form a national baseball team, wouldn't that be justice? We ought to do it and let us start playing and getting our own audience and making our own money. Say, "You have to have another league," I'm telling you that would be something.
And I guarantee you if you do it we would find some talent that would be better than what they have, it is plenty of them out there, great hitters, great pitchers, great catchers they are out there, they are just waiting, think about it, don't act too fast but think about it. But as far as giving stages, facilities for our entertainers we have to move on that.
Slavery G-d Will Reward the Slaves Fully
We can't wait on it that is a shame, it is a great discredit to us as a people, that makes us look so bad, it is like we aren't doing anything we are just housed, or cooped and somebody else is running the life, that is no good we can't accept it anymore, that is what I wanted to present to you today. Don't forget the two points that I have impressed upon you today one is that G-d is in control of our destiny and G-d has permitted what has happened to us in the history of our life to fulfill prophecy and to glorify His name and to reward us fully for all that we have lost and been robbed of and the big pay day is near.
Muslim Model Community Neighborhoods
We don't have to sell the world on us, believe me the wise in this world they know us, the big pay day is near. And that pay day will be a day when we have our own communities and have the institutions and industry all producing for that community under our authority. Even if it includes others which we can't say non Muslims can't be a part of it, yes they can be a part of it. but we will be in authority even though it includes others. And it will be our responsibility not theirs, we have to have responsibility for our own life in community, that means providing what community needs for its citizens, for its people. And we have to have authority to do that, authority over that and we will.
This life of ours is getting ready to blossom in a big, big way you just watch and see, just keep your eyes open, just keep living and I don't mean a long time. I'm older than most of you so just keep living, I expect to see it in good health and condition when we are going to have this community blossoming in a big way and producing under our authority I expect that to come real soon so don't give up.
But at the same time let us work on getting this ugly, infantile, dependent state of black people to change from one of dependency for everything to one of producing these things for ourselves. That is what the Hon. Elijah Muhammad wanted. And it is as much a requirement in our soul as it was a need in the life of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. So don't think that he's gone and we don't have to have it, but we should be more energetic, more excited, more enthused about doing these things now than we were then because now the evidence that G-d is with us is so much plainer and so much clearer. And the way is open and the opposition is going away and those who could hurt us or stop us are saying no we are your well wishers.
So you who don't accept to join us and do these things with us you are lost and you're going to be miserable, yes you are, you're going to be left alone and miserable. G-d is going to cut you off and leave you alone and miserable while you watch us rise up in new glory, it is coming as sure as you're sitting here present today, in fact it is already in the process.
Thank you don't forget what I told you today let us act upon it and I think we did not need any separation of gender today.