CHICAGO–Final Call entertainment writer Michelle Y. Muhammad returned to Allah Oct. 31 after a bout of pneumonia. She was 33.
Sis. Michelle was blossoming as an up-and-coming writer and photographer of the entertainment industry at the time of her death. Her weekly contributions to The Final Call newspaper under the titles “The Queen’s Scene,” “Spotlight” and “Rewind to a Moment in Time” were widely read and a favorite attraction in The Final Call, particularly among youth.
Sis. Michelle joined The Final Call staff as a receptionist 12 years ago and worked her way up to her current position. She also managed the photo library for The Final Call, among other tasks. Once she got the desire to start writing and submitted her first article a year ago, she took off and grew her presentations into a two-page spread.
“Sister Michelle was a very sweet young Muslim woman,” commented Final Call editor in chief James G. Muhammad. “Once she started writing and shooting photographs, it was hard to keep up with her. She wanted to present the more positive side of our young entertainers since they are so influential among our youth. She didn’t want only the negative things emphasized that we so often see in the other media.”
Known for her great sense of style and fashion, Sis. Michelle was born July 2, 1969 in Chicago to the union of Allen Harris Sr. and Luvenia Harris. She accepted Christ at an early age under the leadership of Rev. Walter Haynes of Christ Open Door M.B. Church.
Sis. Michelle accepted Islam under the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on May 12, 1990. She attended Kershaw Elementary School and graduated from Englewood High School in 1988.
Always a person who stayed busy, Sis. Michelle did volunteer work at Operation PUSH during and after high school. She later went on to attend Columbia College to further her God-given talent in photography. She always acknowledged noted photographer Gordon Parks as a person she admired.
Her photographs also have appeared in Jet magazine among other publications.
“Our beloved Sister, Michelle Y. Muhammad, was very small physically, and, to my knowledge, did not perform any physical feats requiring great muscular development,” commented Final Call columnist Abdul Allah Muhammad. “I called her ‘Mighty Mite’ because her spiritual powers enabled her to accomplish astounding feats in various areas of human relations.”
“I was quite impressed to see her work and see how fast she had grown so quickly–to write, take photographs and get her own section in the paper,” commented freelance photographer Monica Morgan who runs a studio in Detroit and was another professional whom Sis. Michelle respected. “I always looked forward to seeing her writings and photos in the paper. I will truly miss her.”
“When it came to the entertainment industry, we were like the female version of Batman and Robin,” said Latonja Muhammad, a television producer and close friend. “I feel like P.Diddy without Biggie now that she’s gone. Within the last year we were able to interview some of the biggest and brightest stars in entertainment.
“I will always remember her great sense of dedication to accomplish whatever she put her mind to. She was up on every bit of news when it came to entertainment. She was a great researcher and organizer,” she said.
Sis. Latonja added that Sis. Michelle’s main reason for going after the artists was to get the younger people more interested in reading The Final Call. If they were to read a story about P. Diddy or Alicia Keys, perhaps they would read what Minister Farrakhan said. She wanted them to become acquainted with the Minister, she said.
“I thank Allah for the opportunity I had to know Sister Michelle Y. Muhammad, a wonderful sister, friend and Believer in the cause of uplifting Black people. She took great pride in her work, both as a laborer for The Final Call newspaper and as a photographer. Sis. Michelle effortlessly carried herself in a way that was both dignified and lofty as well as down to earth and real,” commented Toure Muhammad, publisher of Bean Soup Times, a Chicago publication that featured Sis. Michelle’s work.
Stars that Sis. Michelle interviewed during her year of producing her columns were LL Cool J, Brian McKnight, Patti LaBelle, Tavis Smiley, Amel Larrieux, Nas, Chuck D, Russell Simmons, Jill Scott and many, many more.
Sis. Michelle leaves to cherish her memory her mother and father; brothers Allen Harris Jr., Steven Harris, Eric Harris and Jeremy Harris; grandmothers Rosie Hickman and Susie Harris; a very special cousin and “little sister” Joice Beasley, and a host of relatives and friends and a Nation of Believers in Allah (God).
Funeral services were scheduled for Nov. 6 at Gatling’s Funeral Home,10133 South Halsted St. in Chicago, at Final Call presstime.