(FinalCall.com) – “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud,” the stirring anthem by the late legendary American soul singer James Brown inspired many young Black Americans in the 1960s to embrace their cultural heritage. Since the 1930s the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam taught his followers to “Accept Your Own and Be Yourself” and with over five decades of service to Black and oppressed people, Minister Louis Farrakhan declared to the world “The Future is all about Y.O.U.th!”
In accepting the mantle of leadership that serves as an inspiration to previous generations, some of Britain’s Black youth are making their mark in becoming future rulers.
Uni-Hood, a youth movement based in the UK, continues its mission to inspire Black youth to entrepreneurship, positive entertainment, and cultural awareness while promoting peace in London’s boroughs through a series of community events in recent months.
“Proud to be Black” was the theme of a recent Uni-Hood event held Sept. 18 at Brixton Town Hall in an effort to educate young people on the value of being Black with hopes to serve as a deterrent to youth crime say organizers.
The afternoon gathering not only offered food, righteous fun and entertainment, but more importantly for those that attended, it provided a glimpse into the rich and unique cultural history of contributions made by Black people to the world.
“The idea is to educate young people to the value of Black life or what Black represents so that we can eliminate Black-on-Black crime,” says Hilary Muhammad, UK representative of the Nation of Islam and Min. Farrakhan. The event served as a catalyst to impress upon young people what being Black really means as well as sharing with them, the origin of Blackness, he adds.
It is vital for Black people to understand who they are so they can understand the value of Black life and consider what harming each other does, Hilary Muhammad told The Final Call.
“Once you know that the Black man and woman are the Original man and woman in creation then you’re not just harming any old human being. You’re harming and you’re killing a descendent of The Creator because from us has come all human beings on the planet, but our young people are not brought up to speed where that knowledge is concerned. Where I’m Black and I’m proud, and the whole culture of being proud of who we are, that died in the 20th century,” says Hilary Muhammad.
An initiative was introduced in 2008 placing more emphasis in UK secondary history curriculum on the contribution of Black Britons following several years of outcry from Britons of African and Caribbean descent that teaching about their contributions was lacking.
While there is some Black history being taught in British schools, it is not on a deep and thorough level, says Uni-Hood founding member Ayeshah Muhammad, 19. She says the achievements, successes as well as the pain endured by Blacks must be absorbed by young people to give them a deeper sense of purpose. The gathering at Brixton Town Hall gave Black youth an opportunity to share that, she adds.
“It was a celebration of all things Black really. From the young to the old, from those who have gone, those who have come before us, we were basically celebrating being Black,” says Ayeshah Muhammad, a member of the Nation of Islam and community activist.
The event was open to the public and included performances from rapper Fuse ODG, singer Dionne Reid, Mikel Ameen, spoken word artist Oneness and a special performance by Kenny “The Human Orchestra” Muhammad who flew in from the United States.
The crowd was also treated to a special military drill performance by the M.G.T. & G.C.C. Vanguard class of the UK mosque. Many of the young women had just returned the week prior from a special women’s retreat and training weekend at Nation of Islam headquarters in the U.S.
The Brixton Town Hall event was run and facilitated by the Uni-Hood youth movement and Ayeshah Muhammad says when youth begin to become more actively engaged and involved in the community, it will help give them a sense of direction.
“Once young people know exactly or have a firmer kind of grasp or concept on what has happened, it will open our eyes more and also give them the tools to understand their path in life,” says Ayeshah Muhammad, daughter of Hilary Muhammad.
Members of Uni-Hood don’t intend to slow down and are inspired with a passion fueled by their faith and desire to make a difference. New community events and projects are in the works as well as current initiatives already rolled out including the Uni-Hood apparel line and fundraising efforts to build a recording studio.
Reaction from the public to Uni-Hood as well as the renewed spirit of cooperation among many of the UK’s Black activist organizations has been positive, says Hilary Muhammad.
The student minister says the message going out is focused on attracting young people and is being so well received it is almost frightening.
“It’s just in fulfillment to what is written in the scripture I think, and adults were in danger of being left behind because God gave us (Black people) the message first and foremost. And we have not done what we were and are supposed to do.
“We’re so busy bickering and so busy just talking as opposed to building that God is now reaching down into our youth because our youth are ready for change, our youth are ready to work and our youth are ready to put their petty differences aside for the bigger picture,” argues Hilary Muhammad.
“Uni-Hood is part of us as youth fulfilling our mission, that’s what it is and that’s where the energy comes from … if we didn’t know what we do know through the teachings (of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad) then we wouldn’t be in any condition to help out the youth as we’re trying to,” adds Ayeshah Muhammad.