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Malcolm X's Mecca Diary Travels

Gallery of Malcolm X's 1964 travels through Africa + news on his family suing to prevent the publication of his Mecca Diary by Third World Press.

In April 1964 Malcolm X set out on a historic pilgrimage from West and North Africa to Mecca. Among the African nations Malcolm X would go on to visit during a two or so month period (recounted in this Dec, 1964 interview with Bernice Bass) were Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania (back then Zanzibar and Tanganyika), Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Guinea, and Algeria. Throughout his travels he kept a diary, historicized as the Mecca Diary.


Third World Press was slated to publish these writings on November 14th, as The Diary of Malcolm X, but his family is suing to halt publication. The publication had hinted at the diary's wealth of insight into Malcolm X's thoughts on the changing role of the diaspora with regards to developments in world affairs. Their initial announcement suggested that the diary would offer "a new vision for the elevation and integration of the African Diaspora in the context of the world changing events that are having so great an impact on today’s headlines, both in the United States and throughout the world."

Below Okayplayer writer Mita Carriman discusses the Shabazz family's case. See photos from Malcolm X's time in Ghana, Nigeria, and Egypt underneath.

The controversy regarding the diary started when Malcolm’s daughter IIyasah Shabazz granted reproduction rights of the diary for a book deal to Chicago-based publisher Third World Press. The reproduction of the diary was scheduled for release tomorrow, November 14th, but it was reported that other family members of Malcolm X brought the lawsuit to stop the publication, claiming that Third World Press does not have the rights to reproduce the novel.

While we were unable to get a copy of the complaint in the lawsuit to get the nitty gritty details surrounding this story, a little sleuthing (snooping?) online revealed a March 2003 NPR article which detailed that the diary and other personal memorabilia for Malcolm X went up for auction in 2002 after payments for a storage facility where the material was held fell behind on payments. According to the article, the diary was rescued from the auction by the New York Public Library, with an agreement between IIyasah Shabazz and Malaak Shabazz as administrators of the estate of Betty Shabazz (Malcolm’s wife). That agreement allowed for the materials, including the diary, to remain deposited with the New York Public Library’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture for 75 years, while ownership of the intellectual property embodied in the materials and diaries was to remain with the family.

Whether the publication of the diary will happen or be stopped by the lawsuit, will likely turn to whether the court finds that IIyasah Shabazz properly gave the rights of reproduction of the diary to Third World Press, and if she did, whether her authority is binding on the other family members that have contested the publication in the lawsuit. Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops.

Malcolm X, Cairo, 1964.

Malcolm X, Cairo, 1964.

Malcolm X with Maya Angelou, Ghana, 1964

Malcolm X, Ghana, 1964

Malcolm X, Ghana, 1964

Malcolm X, Nigeria, 1964

Malcolm X, Nigeria, 1964

Malcolm X, Egypt, 1964

Music
(Youtube)

9 Must-Hear Songs From Ghana's Buzzing Drill Scene

We give you the rundown on Ghana's drill movement, Asakaa, and the most popular songs birthed by it.

Red bandanas, streetwear, security dogs, and gang signs. If you've been paying any attention to the music scene in Ghana over the past few months, then by now you would have noticed the rise of a special hip-hop movement. The movement is called Asakaa, and it's the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born subgenre of hip-hop called drill music. It's fresh, it's hot, it's invigorating and it's nothing like anything you've seen before from this part of the world.

The pioneers of Asakaa are fondly referred to by the genre's patrons as the Kumerica boys, a set of budding young rappers based in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. They came into the limelight towards the end of 2020, and have been dropping banger after banger since then, topping several charts and racking up millions of views collectively. The rap is charismatic, the visuals are captivating, and their swag is urban. Characterized by Twi lyrics, infectious hooks, and sinister beats, the allure and appeal of both their art and their culture is overflowing.

"Sore," one of the benchmark songs of the movement, is a monster hit that exploded into the limelight, earning Kumerican rapper Yaw Tog a feature on Billboard Italy and a recent remix that featured Stormzy. "Ekorso" by Kofi Jamar is the song that took over Ghana's December 2020, with the video currently sitting at 1.3 million views on YouTube. "Off White Flow" is the song that earned rapper Kwaku DMC and his peers a feature on Virgil Abloh's Apple Music show Televised Radio. These are just a few examples of the numerous accolades that the songs birthed from the Asakaa movement have earned. Ghana's drill scene is the new cool, but it isn't just a trend. It's an entire movement, and it's here to stay.

Want to get familiar? Here we highlight the most prominent songs of the Asakaa movement that you need to know. Here's our rundown of Ghana's drill songs that are making waves right now. Check them out below.

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