BY SULTAN RAHMAN MUHAMMAD -GUEST COLUMNIST- | LAST UPDATED: OCT 11, 2018 – 12:37:40 AM
(Editor’s note: “Let’s Change The World” limited edition box set includes seven CDs of music representing various genres and was a 14-year project embarked upon by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, a divine leader, teacher, guide, freedom fighter and principled man of God. Min. Farrakhan, an accomplished violinist and vocalist, collaborated with such industry giants as Stephanie Mills, Damien Marley, Deneice Williams, Common, Rick Ross and many others on the special project. The limited-edition collector’s item music box set features over 40 songs, a beautiful nearly 100-page book with exclusive content and photographs, and one bonus DVD of behind-the-scenes footage.)
The following two answers were given by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on August 27, four days before he attended the memorial for the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, held in Detroit, Mich., the city which blessed us with this exquisite woman who expressed the pain and suffering of Black people in America through song.
I was able to ask the Minister questions about his music and the importance of music.
The first question I asked was on behalf of Boston Bay State Banner publisher Mel Miller, who is also a childhood friend of the Minister from Boston. His question was to complete a musical review for his paper on Let’s Change the World. That question and answer was as follows:
Sultan Muhammad (SM): How do you see Music being able to help change the world?
Minister Louis Farrakhan (MLF): All wise rulers have learned how to use art to facilitate political agendas, whether the artist is knowledgeable of that agenda of the political rulers or not. Nebuchadnezzar, in Babylon, used the artists to keep the people in a state of mind that they would not be aware that the handwriting was on the wall announcing the destruction of Babylon.
The artistic community is the most valuable community in the facilitation of the passing on of ideas whose time have come.
Mao Tse-tung is the greatest lesson or teacher in this regard. He had, at the time, nearly a billion people to affect with his ideas and he had a little Red Book that contained some of his thoughts and ideas, but it was the artistic community that he utilized to take his words, put them in song, put them in dance, put them in plays, put them in film so that his message was spread throughout China, on the military victory. Mao Tse-tung (was able to) accomplish what one would think was impossible: He changed the mental state of the Chinese people and made them a power in the world.
So, the question that has been asked of me is, “How will your music facilitate the changing of the world?” If you listen to my playing and you listen to my songs and you listen to the words, every song had a spiritual meaning that reflected the suffering and condition of Black people and many of the songs offered solutions. The greatest solution of which is the unity of our people.
There is no doubt in my mind, that as every nation has a product by means of which that nation becomes rich and empowered, God has gifted the Black man and woman in America, through our suffering, to be the most profound artistic community in the world. Were it not for our suffering, there would be no gospel, no spirituals. If it were not for our suffering, there would be no blues; there would be no jazz; there would be no hip-hop, no bebop.
All of our artistic and cultural advancement came on the heels of our pain and suffering. So pain in our community became the Mother of Creativity. So, there are no people on this earth like the Black, talented human being. No one sings like us; no one writes poetry like us; no one writes plays like us; no one dances like us; no one feels like us, because we are the people who reflect the soul of God.
So, I am becoming, as David was, the Chief musician of the Lord. And as my music and my spirit affects other musicians and artists and they see from the vantage point of the Message in the music, they, too, will catch fire, as everyone that knows the Minister. If you look at the words of the wonderful songstress, Deniece Williams, when she heard my playing, she felt the anointing of the spirit and it came out in her voice and she had never sung like that before.
So, yes, our cultural development, with an idea at the root of it, is true spiritual liberation that will cause a change in us and we will cause change in the world.
SM: The second question is my own. What did God put in David that appeased the “bad” spirit that God, Himself, put on Saul? What did God give David that he could answer Saul’s “bad” spirit and why is his music such that it has that power?
MLF: If I understand your question, music has great power to calm the troubled spirit; to lift people beyond where they are and to give people motivation to overcome a bad spirit, a bad idea, a bad thought.
Music feeds the soul of the human being. The essence of the human being is fed by music. This is why I said, we are the greatest of the exponents of art and culture because no one has suffered more than we. … We speak out of that suffering and we sing out of that suffering; we play our musical instruments. And, because of that suffering, we affect the very being of those who listen to our songs or watch us in our dance, see us in our plays.
David was different. He was a musician, yes. But (there was a) difference between David and his brothers that caused him to be chosen by Samuel and anointed by Samuel to be a future ruler of Israel and he became the Chief Musician of the Lord. It was not that he sang greater or he played greater, but he played and sang from a deeper source, because the scripture said he had a heart after the heart of God.
So, if a man speaks out of the heart of God and plays out of the heart of God and plays out of a soul like God, then he is the most effective in transforming life. Not just entertaining but transforming life from the heart that God had given David.
So, the first time the Hon. Elijah Muhammad laid eyes on me, physically in his home, He whispered in my ear, “You remind me of David.” And of all the great students that the Hon. Elijah Muhammad produced, none was like His Minister.
So, He said of me to my face, “take the Crescent out of the symbol” that I had on a uniform that I had designed. He said, “The Crescent is a sign of equality and, Brother Farrakhan, you have no equal.”
So, you have a Star coming out of the Sun. That’s why we can change the world. That’s why we must change the world. And that’s why we will change the world, because the Heart of God is among the people.
(Sultan Muhammad is a member of the NOI Research Group.)