Rapping Civilized: Buildin with Allah B
Allah B runs the Nation of the Gods and Earths Mecca Street Academy in Harlem, NY. The Allah School is the first of many Nation of the Gods and Earths schools across the country and the world. It was in this school where Allah B attained knowledge of self and began his serious philosophical and metaphysical learning of a system of lessons conceived by Clarence 13X, aka Allah, the founder of The 5 Percenters(which later became the Nation of the Gods and Earths). Allah the Father was shot and killed in 1969; his murderers were never brought to justice. After his death, those he taught then taught others, and so on, in an "each one, teach one" continuous cipher. Today the philosophy and spiritual guidelines offered by the Nation of the Gods and Earths lie just beyond the veil of many Hip-Hop songs, and their unique influence has left a mark in American culture, thanks to people like Allah B. This interview was held at the Allah School in Mecca (aka Harlem) on a cold winter day. Rapper, teacher, and activist Why-G also joined Allah B and myself in this conversation about all things civilized.
Prop: Peace, Allah B. Thank you for setting aside the time for this interview. For those unfamiliar with your work within this movement, can you provide a little background info?
Allah B: Peace. My name is Allah B and we are at the Allah School Street Academy. I've been in knowledge of myself since 1964. At that time, I was a teenager at the age of sixteen searching for self-identity and cultural awareness. It was enlightening to learn who I was and to develop a culture, and to express it in a way that was uniquely my own. African-Americans were a group of people who had been taken away from their own homeland by slavery and who were dehumanized from our knowledge, our culture, and our understanding of God. So when I came into Knowledge of Self all of this was enlightening, and this was a process that took a while to learn about myself in this regard.
This was all during the time of social upheaval during the mid-sixties. Those that were on the scene on a national level for freedom, justice, and equality were the Honorable Elijah Muhammed, Malcom X, Dr. Martin Luther King. A few other prominent people like Dr. Kenneth Clark, Dr.Yoseph, Dr. Ben Jochannan, Dr. John Henrik Clarke were also always in Harlem. They all stood on the soapbox to enlighten the Black man woman and child of the lost knowledge of themselves. And though they concentrated on the Black nation of people, they really taught knowledge of self to all the people of the planet earth. However their focus was more specifically focused on those in their immediate environment.
In terms of Islam, my understanding of the Nation of Gods and Earths is that it is an offshoot of the Nation of Islam, what is the relationship between the Nation of the Gods and Earths to the NOI?
We are a branch to a tree that grew from the intial teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammed. In that, during the time when I got Knowledge of Self (where an aderherant becomes aware of their personal self in relation to African History), the NOI was essentially teaching the elite, or higher echelon, all of the lessons, and the laborers, also known as the fruit, were only given them piecemeal or not all of it.
So when it came to the father, as his name was Clarence 13X while he was a member of the NOI, the youth were not receiving the knowledge and information that was most important to them. It was his view and understanding that they didn't have to wait to go through the long and tedious process to attain this knowledge when they should have learned it at birth. So he came into dispute with the leaders, namely the ministers like Captain Joseph, who was running the mosque on a daily basis. At the time Clarence 13X was attending the student ministers class when Malcolm X had instituted the position that the student ministers had to share some of that higher echelon knowledge with more of the fruit, the laborers, within the mosque. So he instituted this while maybe going against many of the higher echelon's wishes.
Malcolm at this time of '62/63, was going through personal torment, and then when he made that statement about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he was sanctioned and expelled from the mosque. Malcolm X was very progressive and he recognized that this truth had to get to more people than what the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and his ministers were getting it to.
So the Father, Clarence 13X, Allah, was an outgrowth. And that's what we recognize ourselves as, an outgrowth of the Nation of Islam.
By virture of Allah, the father, going through that process, and using those lessons to enlighten and remind us of the knowledge that we had lost, we became "found" through that knowledge.
So now this knowledge went beyond the mosque, and with that expansion Allah came to the street and gave it to the youth. And now the youth were receiving the lessons that the higher echelon was once getting. This wasn't too well received by the higher echelon. Though I have to say that the Hon. Elijah Muhammad didn't really frown on it getting to the youth. It was Capt. Joseph who frowned upon it. Capt. Joseph fought Allah the father, he fought the youth. He said that we had to go to the mosque to get this knowledge. He saw it as a privilige to receive this information, but the truth is free and the truth should set you free. So it shouldn't cost nothing other than the time it takes to listen to someone who expounds upon the truth.
And this is what Allah, the father had showed us, and all that he gave us was free, he never charged us money for this. We never had to take on the strict regimen of changing our dress, in that we were young, and we wore clothes of the youth. During that time we wore the "Italian Hustle" fashion or the "Peter Prep" fashion, which was the clothes of the college students. The Italian Hustle fashion was what the older guys in the neighborhood wore. The flashly clothes. The alligator shoes, the lizard, the ostrich, or whatever fashionable shoes. The silk pants the silk shirts, the suede, or alpaca sweaters. We really enjoyed the fasionable clothing. We didn't want to go into the regimen of wearing suits and bow-ties and selling papers on the corner.
So we could never get with that program, so to speak. Now when Allah, the father, came to the street and brought his message to the youth, he didn't put us in the regimented clothing. He taught us civilization and how to be civilized, no matter what type of clothes we were wearing. He instructed us that we had to "dress to impress" when we had to take care of business, so we wore business suits for that. But if we were working with sport and play, then we could wear clothes of sport and play. Being that we were teenagers, most of our time was concerned with sport and play. But when we studied, we studied seriously. We studied what they were teaching in the mosque, but we studied in a different way. They weren't teaching Supreme Mathematics and Supreme Alphabets in the mosque, but we were.
Allah the father did develop those and he taught them. They were a serious key, because they were totally new, and something that no one else was teaching. These were all our own, but were also a universal language that was applicable to everything in existence.
The precision that we received from working with Supreme Mathematics and Supreme Alphabets allowed us to become more civilized, and not fall victim to being a savage. For instance, us learning to stay away from the eating of pigs, because pigs were not indigenous to the land of Africa, which we came from. Instead, we knew that Africa was full of great fruits and vegetables, so we were to eat those instead. There was not much animal killing in Africa. However, since we were in the west, and if we were to eat meat, we would eat the best meat. And the pig was not part of that, which we had learned that consisted of 99 contagions, and that it was an animal that was grafted and made from three other animals, which was a rat, a cat, and a dog; and it can be made today in the cloning process. So we learned to stop ingesting filth, we started then to clean ourselves from all impurities. Once you clean yourself of impurities, you become refined, and in that refinement is civilization, to be civilized.
This refinement consisted of both the refining of ourselves, mentally and physically, but also refinment lay in the power of teaching ourselves truth and then teaching others about knowledge of self and civilization. Civilization in the sense of having knowledge, wisdom,understanding, and cultural refinement. So we became powerful enough to no longer be deceived by the personage who had deceived us, our parents, and our foreparents, so forth and so on, who we recognized as very diabolical and we made no bones about naming this diabolical force, whom we intepreted through a system of government that dehumanized a whole nation of people, we called this force wicked and named it the devil.
What I see in Hip-Hop is a lot of vocabulary borrowed from the 5 Percenter, Nation of Gods and Earths lexicon. Listening to you speak about Supreme Mathematics brought up in my mind at least 5 different Rakim songs. Many rappers, like Nas, speakabout the "God Body." My question to you is, where does that term come from? Is that from 5 Percenter origin, or Kemetic science?
See, knowledge is infinite and you always have to bring it back to the root, where it sprung from. Kemetic is, in my view chemistry, alchem as it's said in Arabic, and it just means change. The knowledge changing its form for a particular use in that particular time. It all originated from the first root, meaning that we may not having been saying that we were the gods, right, but the root to the God is through Allah. So one thing we know is that the first name manifested in the universe was Allah, by virtue of self-examination and self-actualization.
One thing we always say is that when we examine ourselves, we learn the basic parts of our bodies have an arm, a leg, a leg, an arm and a head. We were all given names, until we discovered our own names later on, which we usually chose ourselves. So we also saw that we could take the first letter from these words and form an ancronym to give insight to the truth inside. So with the arm, leg, leg, arm, and head we come up with A-L-L-A-H, and this is on the externally shown, and if we internalize that we see we have ALLAH within us. God within. So we see that it all begins in ALLAH, and it all returns to ALLAH.
And that's the God body?
Yes sir, but we don't utilize that term because the God Body only refers to men, and that excludes the women, who we refer to as the Earths.
You are the director here at the Allah School in Harlem. Can you provide a run down of what's going on here at the school?
Today the function of the school is very high, in that we have four different levels of instruction. We have pre-K, pre-teen, and teenagers, as well as adults. For the adults we go over the 120 degree lessons of mathematics and 120 degress of knowledge on literature. The 120 Classes is a History class taught on Mondays from 6-8pm. The Mathematical Build-up which is an extension of the 120 is conducted on Wednesdays from 6-8pm. And then there is the PEACE course, which is the literary course, and that's conducted on Thursdays from 7-10pm, and these are essentially the adult classes. In addition to that we also host the substance abuse course, NA (Narcotics Anonymous) conducted twice a week on Wednesday afternoon from 3-4:30pm and Friday from 8-9:30pm.
The Pre-K program works in conjunction with the Harriet Tubman Learning Center, which is PS 154, around the corner from here, where we hold our monthly parliaments. And the Harriet Tubman Learning Center has a special program called the Hollywod Golf Institute Pre-K program. This has four major components that involve the community. Under the New York City Board of Education they are involved with our school, and hold classes four days a week from 2:30-4:30 on Mondays and Tuesdays and from 2:30-6pm on Thursdays and Fridays. McDonald's is also involved with the program, in that the youth meet here on Monday and Tuesday and then go to McDonald's and get snacks. Then the State Office Building is also involved in the program because there the kids receive golf lessons there on Monday and Tuesday. So the youth receive an education from the community. They get the traditional setting of education from Harriet Tubman, they get the non-traditional setting of Education from the Allah School in Mecca (Harlem), they get the corporate experience in how McDonald's functions, and then they get to see how the State Office works. So this program is really great, and we are proud to be a part of it.
In addition, we also have a computer lab where the kids come to. This is offered pre-K, which have the computer room from 2:30-4pm, the pre-teens get to use the room from 4-6pm, and the teenagers have the room from 6-8pm, five nights a week, and on Saturday the computer room is open for four hours. And that's the extent of the education programs at Allah School in Mecca.
Do any of the Gods and Earths look upon the involvement of McDonald's with skeptical eyes, because it's a corporation?
Well, it's a corportation that is in the community. Before we might have taken the youth to a mom and pop store. But with the economic change that has occured in Harlem, with all the corporations like new banks and fast food restaraunts, these are a part ofthe environment. So by the kids seeing this, they learn about their environment. Kids identify what they see in their communtiy. The really young are not familar with the corporate entities, what they see is just the surface. Eventually, they will learn the politics involved with major corporations, and they get some ideas of the oppression their parents suffer as they grow older, so the younger ones get the information as they get older.
You mentioned John Henrik Clarke earlier. He was highly critical of the Nation of Islam, and Islam in general, because as I've seen it, he felt like the religion of Islam also played a role in oppressing the peoples of Africa. He seems to have provided a certain critical perspective of Islam. Within the Nation of the Gods and Earths is there also a critical perspective on the religion of Islam?
Within the Nation of the Gods we recognize Islam in a different way than the traditional views. Traditional being the Sunni, the Shi-ite, or the Ahmadiyya views of Islam. We don't pray by prostrating five times a day. We pray by teaching, every word that comes out of our mouths is seen as a prayer to Allah. We recognize Islam as we mathematically break it down as I Self Lord And Master, ISLAM. We recognize Islam from that perspective. Dr. Henrik Clarke was one of my early teachers.
We used to have confrontations about Islam. His criticism was that they were the enslavers of the East. That the Arabs enslaved the Blacks in Africa before the European came to Africa and enslaved them. We used to agree with him that that was the truth, but that the Arab he was speaking about was the Mohemmedian, and that was the idea and philosophy of Mohammed's ibn Abdullah's troops who had broken off and did not represent the true way of life of Islam. We discussed this and agreed on many occasions that these were the devils who used the name of the good to do bad. Just like there were the devils within Christianity who would enslave Africans in the name of Jesus but were not really Christians.
We recognize Jesus as our righteous brother, and he didn't teach Christianity, he taught freedom, justice, and equality. When you speak about freeing the imprisoned, you speak about freedom. When you speak about clothing and giving shelter to the needy, you are speaking about doing justice for people. The Equality is as Jesus used to say, "Do unto others as they do unto you." So in the words of Jesus, our righteous brother, we recognize Freedom, Justice, and Equality -- Islam, in his actions, deeds, and teachings. As opposed to those who came later and claimed to be teaching his teachings, but were really oppressing the poor, starving, and imprisoning the poor. So through that we recognized the difference and made the distinction between the righteous and un-righteous. The name does not make a difference, these people could have said they were practicing Islam, but if their deeds were unrighteous then that's who they were, wicked and weak. But if they were practicing righteousness, then we recognized that as Islam, practicing Freedom, Justice and Equality.
Why-G, Peace. I recognize you as being in touch with all the right energies. I see humanity all becoming a oneness, so I'm wondering what do you see in how we can collectively engage the mass consciousness to help spark and manifest this new level?
That's a beautiful question. One way that I think, right off the bat for the individual to achieve this state, aside from diet, is fasting. That not only cleanses the body, but you can tune in to a lot more frequencies when in that light state. With a one, two, or three day dry fast you can tune in nicely.
On the collectivel level, we not only have to fast at the same time, and tune in mentally at the same time, but we can also concentrate on a specific thought, and this thought can be one word that can change a nation, and that word is "PEACE."
We could manifest something very big if we all concentrated on this word at the same time on maybe a telepathic level, that would then set a course for a chain reaction like an atom bomb that could ripple throughout space. And we could do this constructively, whereas the atom bomb does it destructively. And we would all have to know how to come together at a precise time and concentrate on it to make it happen.Tweet