I did not intend to say one word about the Beyonce controversy.
But the offer by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to use the organization’s legendary security force as the pop star’s bodyguards during her moneymaking world tour has me riled up.
Poor black men and women are dying on the streets of Chicago everyday and the Nation of Islam is nowhere to be seen.
Yes, the “brothers” are still out there selling bean pies and hustling “The Final Call” newspaper on Stony Island Avenue.
And three years ago during a particularly bloody spell, Farrakhan made a show of going out in hard-hit areas with the members of his paramilitary unit.
Known as the Fruit of Islam (F.O.I), the army of black bow-tied, suit-wearing men were straight out of the “Malcolm X” movie.
The presence of the iconic Farrakhan on street corners normally occupied by idle young black men brought a measure of peace — if only for a little while.
But after a couple of visits, that effort faded.
Now he’s speaking up for Beyonce.
One of the most popular entertainers on the scene, the singer has not only been slammed by the former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for her Super Bowl half-time performance, but last week, the Miami Police Union voted to boycott her April concert.
On Sunday, Farrakhan came to Beyonce’s defense, resurrecting the notion that the F.O.I. is something other than a prop.
“[Beyonce] started talking that black stuff … and white folks (said), ‘We don’t know how to deal with that,” Farrakhan reportedly said during his annual Saviour’s Day speech.
“But when one of us shows some independence, look how you treating Beyonce now. You goanna picket. You not going to offer her police protection? But the F.O.I. will,” he said.
Has the Nation of Islam been hijacked?
Beyonce and husband, Jay-Z, can pay for their own bodyguards.
After all, a concert (that most of us can’t afford to attend) isn’t a public service or a benefit. Beyonce is going to make millions off each venue.
Besides, if police officers want to exercise the right to not staff a Beyonce concert, that’s their prerogative. It won’t be the first time cops used a boycott to show their dissatisfaction.
Last year, when Mayor Rahm Emanuel claimed intense scrutiny and criticism had caused Chicago Police officers to become “fetal,” Farrakhan didn’t show up with the F.O.I.
He would have been welcomed.
If anyone needs the intervention of a security force, it is the people who are living in neighborhoods overrun by armed thugs.
Since Jan. 1, there have been 372 shootings and 97 murders. Last year at this time, there were 172 shootings and 45 murders.
The black community is being destroyed internally by violence.
The people who need help from groups like the Nation of Islam are the mothers and fathers who boldly demand justice — not only for loved ones killed by police, but those who are killed by other blacks.
Last summer, Tamar Manasseh, founder of Mothers Against Senseless Killings, organized mothers in Englewood to take up posts on street corners in an effort to prevent violence.
Manasseh did this work without anyone stepping up to say: “I’ve got your back.”
Without a whole lot of fanfare, she is quietly organizing mothers in other neighborhoods to join this cause.
“In Chicago, summer is the killing season. It is our national disaster. We don’t have hurricanes. We don’t have tornadoes. We have murders. We have the summer slaughter,” Manasseh said.
That’s real life.
Farrakhan’s threat of using the F.O.I to protect Beyonce is not only a joke, it is a slap in the faces of all the women who are risking their lives everyday trying to save young people.
To learn more about Mothers Against Senseless Killings go to www.getbehindtheMASK.org.