"We all "live history" every day. But history is more than the construction of collective experiences, or the knowledge drawn from carefully catalogued artifacts from the past. History is also the architecture of a people's memory, framed by our shared rituals, traditions, and notions of common sense. It can be a ragged bundle of hopes, especially for those who have been relegated beyond society's brutal boundaries." Living Black History
When I first heard the news that Dr. Manning Marable passed away, my first thought was of his book Living Black History. This book has been foundational to my thinking about the awkward, yet necessary scholarly endeavor, of re-framing history. We each do this in our own lifetimes, re-visiting our pasts and shifting our perspectives to empower our present thoughts and behaviors. This is almost second nature to the Hip-Hop Generation. Like my homey Leilani (@leimatic) told me, "that was like three Leilani's ago," referring to her own ability to reinvent herself. We remix our names, identity to identity like Malcolm Little to to Detroit Red to Malcolm X to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Each part of ourselves that we claim, a step closer to claiming what BX emcee Intikana (@intikana_ who recently changed his name) refers to as our "infinite selves."
As it is the season for reinvention, allow me to reintroduce myself: My name is kahlil almustafa. In re-imagining my past kahlil, who always thought about making the short bus trip uptown to sit with Dr. Marable over tea and gain from his infinite wisdom. I am remixing a new kahlil who studies the scholars who came before me, attempting to match their urgency. And I invite the Hip-Hop Generation to reinvent ourselves into the fulfillment of the promise embedded in the movement and the music.
Marable, Manning. Living Black History: How Re-Imagining the African-American Past Can Remake America's Racial Future. New York, NY: Basic Civitas, 2006.