[Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from July of 2000. The Final Call will continue to reprint articles written by our late and dear Mother Tynnetta Muhammad.]
“And says man: When I am dead, shall I truly be brought forth alive? Does not man remember that We created him before, when he was nothing?”
–Holy Qur’an Surah 19, Verses 66-67
In 1984, following the presentation of a multimedia musical production titled, Music, Color and Medicine For the Healing of The Nations in Phoenix, Arizona, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan made this comment: “Let the cultural revolution begin and let the city of Phoenix be the one to show the way in Dance, Music and Drama.” His words reflect the coming to birth of a new cultural genesis and art form which is rooted in Divine. Thirteen years later in 1997, another musical production was staged in Phoenix, Arizona featuring the renowned Artistry of China’s foremost performer in the art of Traditional Chinese Instruments, ancient Ducimer and Yanquin, Lily Yuan. She invited me to perform in her concert at the Chandler Arts Center. She invited me to perform one of my compositional works on the Grand Piano. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was in the audience and was joined by several brothers and sisters from our Muslim community. After the concert, he met many members of the Asian community who reside in Phoenix, Arizona.
Three years later, on June 10th of this year, I traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, accompanied by a Muslim family from Oakland, California, who had arranged for me to participate in “A Seven-Day Celebration with Prince.” These dates coincided with another event that was scheduled at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis. This cultural event focused on “A Tribute to Paul Robeson and China’s Mei Lanfang.” Artist and Teacher Lily Yuan and her family had recently changed locations from Phoenix to Minnesota. When our renewed contact was made, she invited me to attend this theatrical performance. In the meantime, forces were at work which we now understand as (the Law of Synchronicity)–that were moving in the darkness to bring about an unusual synthesis and interaction between Black artists of differing musical styles and backgrounds merging into the arena of Asian Artists in the performing arts. On the same day of our arrival, we attended our first function that evening. The Chinese producer collaborated with other Black artists and those from China to pay tribute to the great Paul Robeson and the late Mei Lanfang, the great opera actor of the Peking Opera Company in Beijing, China.
Paul Robeson’s artistic gifts brought him into the arena of the performing arts in many acclaimed productions such as “Emperor Jones,” “Othello” “Showboat.” He came to prominence in the 1930s and 1940s. He was also a social activist in the international struggle for civil rights in America and abroad. He was accused during the McCarthy era in the United States as being a communist. Quoting from the advertisement highlighting this event we read: “… from vastly different worlds, Paul Robeson and Mei Lanfang shared a common charge: to use the art of their heritage to promote the rights of all people.” In the athletic arena, he was profiled for his excellence in the field of college football, and earned a law degree from Columbia Law School.
Mei Lanfang became China’s foremost opera star in the Peking Opera Company. He studied African vocal techniques which was incorporated into his performances enabling him to reach a high pitch sound. He was a male actor who performed maiden roles. Expressing a high achievement in this art form, he was catapulted to genius and greatness during the changing eras of China’s political history. Born in Beijing, China, he also became a social activist in the cause for women’s rights and stood up in protest against a wide range of other social ills.
It was truly a magnificent experience to hear accomplished Black artists in jazz and contemporary and classical musical styles to name only a few such as: acclaimed jazz composer/flutist, James Newton from California and the bass baritone voice of Timothy Robert Blevins from New York, blending with the traditional musical sounds of Chinese artists performing on string and percussion instruments. One of the Chinese performers on the two-stringed violin called the Erhu named Jiebing Chin, is a recent acquaintance of mine whom I met while performing in Chicago at the Contemporary Museum of Art along with Chinese jazz pianist Jon Jang who were teamed up with the masterful drummer Max Roach in their first live performance in Chicago as the Beijing Trio. The above named cultural event was taking place in Minneapolis at the same time as the Seven Day Celebration of The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, who, in actuality, was born with the given name, Prince, who is, indeed, a kind of prince in shining armor!
In the story of Sleeping Beauty, the princess is induced by the wicked opponent of the King to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and falls to sleep. Whereupon, in the appearance of death, she is laid to rest in the castle and is not awakened until one hundred years have past. The Nation of Islam, growing up in the wilderness of America, can be compared to Sleeping Beauty who was slowly awakened in the last one hundred years from a long and painful sleep. Upon the Coming of a Prince, Master Fard Muhammad, who journeyed from the East looking for his Lost and Found people of His Father’s House or Kingdom, he began the process of our Awakening. He found us in a deep mental sleep ignorant to the Knowledge of God, ourselves and others. He entered America like a Prince in the night, in a time of love and embraced us, His Black family, with a Holy Kiss and like the bridegroom came to join us in Holy Matrimony back to our God and People.
Each of us can be characterized in different stages of our development as both Sleeping Beauty and the Prince all in one. Meaning, as each one of us awakens to this truth, we become a more dynamic human being working in the service of a Mighty God to awaken our people to this new found truth. As we awaken from centuries of ignorance and mental death imposed upon us by our former slavemasters through the system of forced servitude slavery, having lost the knowledge of our culture, language and high civilization, once revived, we become like the Prince of this story awakening spiritual consciousness among our people.
The father of Prince so named him because he believed that his son would become a great man which is also the destiny of our entire Nation. Through the Divine Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad on the history of Jesus, as taught by Master Fard Muhammad, we as a people being restored back to life after death are proclaimed as the Long-awaited Jesus figure who must be Resurrected and ultimately arise above the persecution and slander of our enemies to become the builders of God’s New Kingdom on Earth. We are now approaching the dawn of the Golden Age of a New World Civilization.
According to the Divine Scriptures of both Bible and Holy Qur’an, a day is equal to one thousand years. We have reached the seven thousandth millennium in which it is prophesied that Christ will reign in person to establish a Righteous Kingdom on Earth. The story of Prince begins to take on a new meaning in the lives of Black people today. This young man’s seven-year struggle as a gifted artist to reclaim his own name on the basis of Freedom, Justice and Equality, pitted in a legal battle with Warner Brothers Records, has placed him in a vanguard position as an example for others.
He communicates through his lyrics, messages that are coded with the use of a script bearing the signature of a letter, number and word code. Thus he is evolving a new mathematical language to communicate his ideas right down to the modern times. When asked over his website, “You seem more spiritual than ever. What words of advice or insight would you share with another who is seeking a more spiritual path? He answered, “Learn the Truth, then u can never b lied 2 again. Can u give Truth a name? A good description 4 the truth would b the Law of God.” This use of letter/number symbols and words represents a new creative style of thinking defined in mathematical terms. I found it ironic that a comparison could be made with his style to the definition of Islam’s highest meaning which is mathematics given by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The methodology given to the students to master our Assignment is given in a letter, number and word code in order to extract the Higher Wisdom of God’s Teaching which is Laying the Base for a New Kingdom.
Upon touring the beautiful Paisley Park Studios which has been totally renovated and beautifully decorated with light pastel-colored walls blending into the skylines with clouds reaching into cosmos designs painted in many of the ceilings, one gets a feeling of euphoria. After passing through the entrance, we entered an open atrium with a high glass ceiling which radiates the sunlight from the dome onto the floor design which depicts his unpronounceable symbol sculptured into the floor pattern which is surrounded by purple carpet embossed with patterns of the zodiac. The second floor view is equally as spacious and is enhanced by an enchanting array of caged doves. A library is in the workings, which will house his private collection of books as well as translations of his favorite Bible from which he draws his inspirational songs and lyrics. There are adjoining game rooms for children, a small gym and offices for his colleagues and associates. There is a large comfortable conference room and exhibit room featuring his most treasured guitars and percussion instruments. We were also shown a room, which contains his unpublished music, which could be produced over the next twenty years. There are long hallways beginning at the entrance to his studios displaying many of the awards he has received for platinum and gold recordings over the last twenty years. There are additional mountings of some of his favorite photos along with an extensive art collection. He has built into the complex state of the art recording systems designated as A and B, with Studio C in the workings. Do you know your ABC’s? And don’t forget your 1,2,3’s?
Returning to the lower level again, we were led through his timeline gallery of photos depicting his career over the past two decades. As we end the timeline, he emerges as a soulful priest or devotee in prayer and meditation depicting his evolution to God. The most ingenious theme of Paisley Park Studio for his renovation of this large white complex was for everyone to enter this domain with the view as seen through the eyes of a child. We are reminded in the Scriptures that when Jesus was teaching his disciples about the Kingdom of God to come, he told them unless they become as little children, they would not be able to enter.
Our party was received at the studios with great warmth and respect by all of his staff with extended courtesies to my son, Rasul, who flew into Minnesota to accompany his Mother to the concert on the evening of June the 13th. We were each escorted on a private tour of the entire complex. We also learned that he is a strict vegetarian, which excludes all meat, fish or dairy products. Neither smoking nor drinking is allowed by anyone on the premises. We were given complimentary tickets to his concert and were seated in the front rows. Several Muslims from around the country had flown in to attend this special Seven-Day Celebration. Upon recognizing us, they came over to greet us and were pleasantly surprised to see Mother attending a Prince concert. Almighty God Allah guides us in ways that we know not which is reminiscent of our travels with the Wise Man in search of Knowledge. When we recognize His Spirit, then we are guided into the recognition of all Truth in all places and in all times. Some of the outstanding guest artists who performed in his concert included Angie Stone, rap artists Doug E. Fresh and Q-Tip, famous saxophonist, Maceo Parker, bassist, Larry Graham and a brass section known as the Hornheadz, along with former members of his band The Revolution.
He is the Founder of a charitable non-profit organization which was established in 1996 called “Love 4 One Another.” His organization is dedicated to relieving poverty, by communal action and self help programs which shall, in his words, eliminate “lack” from the global vocabulary. The Prince is back and has found his home in the godly kingdom of his own. He has provided for me, yet, another study of the naturally gifted brilliance of our young Black adults and youth who in their growing maturity are walking through the three evolutionary stages of the souls journey back to God. The awakening of Sleeping Beauty in her union with the prince is an allegory which portrays the awakening of a sleeping dead people being reunited with God at the end of the world we have known. The young man Prince, is moving through a process in time, as are we all, in retracing our footsteps in the renewal of hope, with the new vision coming to birth in the regeneration of our souls.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has appealed to the masses of people throughout his Spiritual Mission, as the Great Helper of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, with a special appeal to our youth, the world over, touching us all with the Redeeming Spirit of God. If we could but follow his lead, we, too, can also become a redeeming force in the present world of chaos, sport and play. We must leave behind the old images of our former slavemasters and transmute these images into the golden reflections of Righteousness in a New World Order of True Peace, Love and Harmony.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad desired that our entertainers and performers would become spiritually awakened to the knowledge of themselves by placing God in the forefront of their creative gifts and influences. The man named Prince appears to be sincerely motivated and guided by a genuine spirit of godliness seeking to escape the entrapments of a dying world. Many martyrs have passed our way, while we look on with praise for their efforts, but, when the final test comes, we generally stay away from the real battle of life, even though a war is going on. Sleeping Beauty indeed represents our Black people in America who are awakening to proclaim our freedom in the expression of Age of Our New Cultural Revolution which has now begun.