بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Dearly Beloved Sisters (and Brothers ;) )
I was so excited about this year’s Central Avenue Jazz Festival that I could hardly go to sleep the night before. All week I was preparing, getting my soup ready, bread baked, I even planned to sell my Honey Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies. The one thing I DIDN’T plan to sell, which Allah, Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom Praises are due forever, told me twice to make sure I didn’t forget, were the Messenger’s (Peace Be Upon Him) DVDs and CDs.
The day before, I bought a cute little bag to hold my cookies, and made a cute sign which I decorated with glitter. Patrice and Ndugu (the band I wanted to see) weren’t scheduled to perform until 4:10 or 4:30, I couldn’t and still don’t remember exactly, but festival shows are never on schedule, so I knew as long as I got there a little after four I would get there around the same time they came on. The important thing was staying on the path of Allah – Al Sirataal Mustaqeem – and it wouldn’t matter what time I got there, I would still be right on time.
I got up early to make my cookies and I don’t know what the problem was, but I didn’t get one to come out right. I ended up eating them and giving some to my neighbor and son. That was an omen right there of what was to come.
I left around 3:30, with my sign and my goodies and caught the bus to Central. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was probably too excited to think. I walk to Central all the time to go to the Post Office. But in my enthusiasm, I stood and waited for the bus. It only costs me a quarter, but still. I could have used that quarter to go somewhere else.
Anyway, we get to Central and the bus comes almost immediately. The Bus Driver was not very friendly, but I asked him what was the best stop to get off to go to the Jazz Festival since I knew the street would be blocked off. He said something I can’t remember because it didn’t help.
So, on the bus, I gave the Black People cards, and two wheelchairs got on the bus. It was crowded and I had my “ghetto cart” and my huge sign, but we made it do what it do. I talked to a Brother and a Sister, whom I thought were together, about the Teachings and we all got off at Vernon before the bus made its detour.
The Brother walked next to me and continued talking, but the Sister lagged behind. I asked the Brother and found out that they weren’t together and the Brother started asking personal questions, so I quickly told him if he had any questions about the teachings to give me a call and waited for the Sister while he continued on.
The Sister, I found out was an “undercover” Muslim and she expressed an interest in The Messenger’s (PBUH) DVDs. That was when I realized I had left them right by the front door. I felt like such a donkey for not taking Our Saviour seriously. We talked for quite a while, exchanged numbers and then parted ways.
I continued on to the Festival, walking in the middle of the street, trying to be as conspicuous as possible and sure enough, it wasn’t long before a Brother on the sidewalk flagged me down. We met half-way and he was inquiring about everything. I showed him the soup and the bread, but he wasn’t ready for that yet. Then he asked about the DVDs and yet again I felt like Shrek’s best friend.
I detest making excuses, but I didn’t want to remove the notice of the DVDs from my sign because I figured they could take my number and call me later, In sha Allah. So, I gave him a card and continued down the Avenue.
I passed an art vendor who had some paintings of some Jazz musicians on display, but didn’t stop. As I neared the stage, I didn’t hear any music, so I turned back around to go take a closer look at the art. She had an amazing painting of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, affectionately known as “Bird.” And another bearing a resemblance to Miles, but not really. She was a young woman, interested in but not too knowledgeable about Jazz as of yet, so I told her whom her paintings immortalized and gave her a card. Then a Sister who lives around the corner from me walked up and co-signed on my blog. I felt like a BOSS. ;)
When I started heading toward the stage, I couldn’t decide which side I wanted to enter, so as always, I waited until I got a Word from Allah and He Told me to cross the street to the opposite side.
So, I crossed and I begin to hear some music, but I’m not thinking it’s Patrice so when some Sisters started eyeing my sign, I stopped to talk and give them cards and whatnot. I am really not paying any attention to the music as I walk toward the front of the stage, but when I reach it, I notice Patrice is at the piano and my heartbeat quickens. I think it’s so cool that they didn’t bother with an introduction. They just started playing. That show their love for the music right there. No egos.
I’m right in the very front of the stage on the right and she’s facing my direction. I’m so happy I obeyed Allah. Then, it occurred to me to see who was on the drums. I peeked around to the other side of the stage and I see a thin man who bore no resemblance to Ndugu Chancler. He noticed me peeking and started acting silly; putting on a show, and I mouthed, “You are not Ndugu Chancler,” like he was trying to fool us or something. I thought Ndugu couldn’t make it and he was a stand-in. But when he looked completely dejected at my lack of restraint masquerading as a joke, I knew I had put my foot in my mouth. I looked closer but still was sure it was someone else. I mean Ndugu Chancler was chubby, with a butterball body and a doughboy face. This man was long and lean! But as I continued to very openly stare, I realized, he had just lost a lot of weight and started to show a few signs of age.
Then this devil came and walked right in front of me. So, I was like “Hell, I’m her mother. If she can go in front of me, I can go up to the stage!” So, I left my ghetto cart, but took my sign right up to where Patrice was and took her picture and some video of her and Ndugu close up.
My assertiveness prompted others to do the same, and soon everybody who wanted a close up picture who was intrepid enough to come up and take one, got one.
When I realized Patrice was playing a solo, I thought that would be video gold. So, I went up to get a close shot and as soon as I got there, she wrapped. So, I stood right there and waited for the next one. But as soon as she got to her solo, my cameraphone suddenly stopped and said something like “Memory full.” I thought, “Figures.” And went back to the curb, pun intended :/ .
Then I tried to video tape some more and my camera started working again, so I went closer to the stage so when Patrice’s solo came again, I would be ready. But as soon as she started her solo, my cameraphone turned off again! I thought, “This can’t be happening.” But it was, so I just watched. She is absolutely amazing.
I couldn’t believe it when I was talking to this Brother later and he said, he wanted her to do her R&B stuff! I was incredulous. I love her R&B music too, but Jazz displays her true skills of incredible musicianship and virtuosity. You can’t get that ANYWHERE ELSE BUT AT A JAZZ FESTIVAL. I felt so HONORED just to witness it!
So, then I asked a Brother near me, who was on the saxophone. He didn’t know. He (the saxophonist) looked like a Mexican/Hispanic but I didn’t want to believe that, so I thought maybe he’s just one of those high yellow Brothers. But after listening to him play, I knew he wasn’t. I can just tell. Black musicians make me feel their music all through my body. It just permeates through my skin to my bones. Other musicians feel like it’s lacking something. In France, they call it je ne sais quoi. We call it SOUL. And he didn’t have it.
He was Justo Almario, and I deliberately ignored him. It’s easy to get a point across tacitly. No one wants to say it, but I will. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself enough to ONLY want to be with people who look like you. Nobody else IN THE WORLD feels like they have to have people of other races in everything they do, but the American so-called Negroes.
Mexicans have all-Mexican stuff. Devils have all-devil stuff. Chinese and Korean people have all Chinese stuff and all-Korean people stuff. They have TOWNS right here in America, where there are nothing but Chinese people; Korean people. AND THEY ARE SELF-SUFFICIENT. We don’t have one square foot in this whole country that we can say is ours, as a group of people. It is a shame.
But I digress, the bass player was Reggie Hamilton. I had heard of him but never saw him play. He was pretty good. I couldn’t remember his name though after they said it twice.
So, I’m standing on the side and Patrice stands up to the mic and the paparazzi is going crazy. She said something like, “You know a lot of Jazz Standards actually come from musicals. This next number we’re going to play is from a musical – “My One And Only Love.”
I was floored. That is my favorite JAZZ love song of all time and I tried to stay put but I couldn’t hold back the tears. So, I walked over to an empty spot on the wall and turned my camera on again, just to get the audio. I thought about covering up the lens but I thought it would be cool to get some random shots. I was not paying ANY attention to what I was filming and had no idea I was taping this couple who looked like they were in love.
So, when I regained my composure, I walked back to where I could see the stage and when I sensed Sister Patrice’s solo coming up I ventured toward the stage. But as soon as I got near the piano, my camera abruptly turned off. By now, I had resigned myself to the fact that she and Allah were in cahoots to deter me from capturing any footage of her marvelous abilities. So, I just stood and watched in awe, filled with emotion at her choice and then rendition of my favorite song. I was so melancholy, I barely noticed when the song ended.
But, I was jolted out of my reverie, by the joyous opening of “Cantaloupe Island,” which always makes me happy. I need to learn how to play that. It always lifts my spirits and it is so impressive watching and listening to the pianist who can play such a complicated piece. It’s comparable to that song Schroeder from Charlie Brown plays on his tiny piano for me. And the next thing I know, I’m happy and smiling again. A crowd of dancers started to form in front of the stage so I moved back to my spot by the curb and took out my guiro. I felt like that was the instrument Patrice wanted me to play. So, even though I wanted to play my maracas, I played the guiro. After a while, I tried my tambourine, but it didn’t mix well. Then I tried the maracas and they didn’t either. So, the guiro it was. It was nice to practice even though nobody could hear it but me. They saw me. ;)
I thought it would be nice to give Sister Patrice a card, so after years of experience going to live shows, I knew that they would be coming out of the back and since I had to go that way anyway, I went that way. I passed a Brother who looked so familiar, I asked him from where did I know him. He didn’t know but I kept thinking, I didn’t want to miss Patrice, but Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom Praises are due forever, told me to keep talking. So I did as long as I could. And when I started walking again, he followed me.
We reached the back of the stage and I stopped to regroup and we were talking for a while. Then I see a swarm of people and cameras gather around a very short nucleus. I knew it had to be Sister Patrice, so I got out a card and went and handed it to her. She was very gracious and I got to tell her how much I enjoyed her performance and her music and that she is an inspiration to me. She said, “Thank-you” and looked very sincere and smiled genuinely. I turned and went back to my stuff and the Brother.
Sister and her entourage passed right by us, and she was so forbearing with all of the people who knew her from back in the day. It was very nice for them. I know they are proud of her success. I wanted to take a picture with her, but knew that my camera was trippin’. So, I didn’t even ask. And she continued greeting her obsequious sycophants. All while this is taking place right in front of me, I thought about my next door neighbor, who told me that Patrice Rushen used to like her husband.
After she told me this, I looked up her videos and “Forget Me Nots” bears witness to what my neighbor told me. So Allah, to Whom Praises are due forever, told me to “Ask her.” I did NOT want to ask her. So, I’m standing there with lead in my shoes and Allah Tells me again. And I still did not want to ask her such a personal question that might bring up old memories and pain that I did NOT want to be the one to dredge up for her.
But I MUST OBEY MY MASTER.
So, very trepidatiously, I tapped her on her shoulder and said, “Sister, do you know a Brother, named Abdul?” Her face lit up. She said, “Abdul??!! “YES!!”
I felt terrible but didn’t know what else to say, so I just said, “Oh, Okay,” smiled and just walked off.
I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO SAY and I don’t do awkward well.
THEN I HAD TO GO BE BY MYSELF FOR A MINUTE BECAUSE THE WHOLE SITUATION JUST HIT TOO CLOSE TO HOME.
She was obviously in love with this Brother and had dreamed of him leaving his wife for her, which never happened. I sent her this message on Facebook yesterday.
“In the Name of Allah
As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Sister Patrice,
I pray Allah, these words reach you in the Best of Health and Happiness and Enjoying Abundant Blessings From Allah, Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom Praises are due forever. I am thankful and happy that I am the same. Al Hamdulillah!
Dear Sister, I am the Muslim Sister who approached you after that magnificent performance you and Brother Ndugu Blessed us with yesterday. Please apologize to him for me for accusing him of not being himself. I felt like such an idiot after I realized he had just lost weight and gotten a little older since the last time I saw him. I hope he is just being more health conscious.
In any case Sister, if you are wondering how I know about Abdul, it’s because I live next door to the woman who married him.
Sister, I’m so sorry to inform you that He passed away in 2009.
If it’s any consolation, she’s been mentally ill since the eighties.
We used to be good friends. They were homeless for very many years and when I met her, in 2010, she was still homeless. I let her move in with me and my nine-year old son but she didn’t want to look for her own place. So, I made living conditions difficult for her and she moved out.
But, when the apartment next door became available, I told her about it so I am the reason why she is not still homeless, Sister. But then she started inviting all sorts of strange men over and spending the night with them. I tried to tell her that that was not respectful behaviour and then she really started acting crazy. She hates me now and is a miserable, lonely, psychopathic hermit. I really hope you get some satisfaction from that, Sister.
The bottom line is we’re all Sisters and even though she hates me, I love both of you. Sometimes, love can be such a complicated and sensitive issue. But the truth is, all of our histories were written 15,000 years ago, Sister. We are just living out what has already been predicted. The Best Thing We Can Do Is Submit To Allah’s (God’s) Will and Plan For Our Lives.
He Is The Best Planner And He Loves Us. The ONLY Way To Find True Peace and Happiness in Life Is Just To Submit To What Was Already Written. I Believe You Have Done That, My Dear Beloved Sister And I Pray Allah Continues To Bless You With Peace of Mind and Contentment.”
And I sent a video of my neighbor acting crazy.
I met up with the Brother again at the bus stop. He was MUCH older than I am. He said he graduated from Locke in 1969 and that he knew Patrice and Ndugu. Anyway, we talked and he told me that Sly Stone used to be a D.J. on some radio station up North and that his was the first integrated group.
I started telling him how he (Sly) was a SELLOUT. The Brother disputed with me saying he could make more money that way. I told him that that is the definition of a SELLOUT. I’m sorry, but that’s probably why Sly is in the condition he’s in now. Living in a trailer parked somewhere in Leimert.
Was it worth it, Sly?
So, when I got home, I was pretty much in shock. And my camera wouldn’t play any of the videos and wouldn’t let me see any of the pictures. I had to delete all of my picture and all but two videos just to get it to work! The two above, I just happened to send to Facebook right after I took them.
Sometimes, Allah won’t let me look at footage I have taken. That’s what happened the last time I videotaped my Honey-Stick. Somebody stole my camera before I had a chance to view the footage. My life…
Later on that night, I remembered something I had seen in this documentary about Charlie Parker. After he found out his daughter had died, he kept sending telegrams to his wife because he was in L.A., I think. Anyway, I thought it would be cool and piquant to send my Honey-Stick a telegram too. So, I Googled it and at first all I could find were singing telegrams and I didn’t want that. But eventually, I found a reputable telegram service. I wrote down the name and put it on the “back-burner.”
So, yesterday (Sunday, the Jazz Fest was Saturday. Now, it is Monday night/Tuesday morning) I’m still buggin’ out over everything that happened at the Jazz Festival and I’m starting to just accept that our lives parallel somewhat. So, I decide to go ahead and watch “Forget Me Nots” again. It has been a few years since I’ve seen it, I guess. And I wanted to watch it immediately after the Jazz Fest, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. You see how long it’s taken for me to write this blog!
finally, I sat down to watch it and the first thing I see is someone in a bellhop styled uniform ringing a doorbell with a telegram in her hand. I freaked out. This type of stuff happens almost every day to some degree in my life, but I’m still not used to it. That’s why everybody is scared of me. I gave up a long time ago trying to be normal though. Take me or leave me.
As I write this, “My One And Only Love” is playing on my Internet Radio station. It shocks me a little, but what can I do? But submit?
I think about my Honey-Stick and how he is in love with his enemy. But I know I will NEVER love anyone else. No matter what. I always thought about it from the perspective of if I gave up and married one of these men who would love to have me as their wife. I would always be wondering, “What if he changes his mind???” Marriage is sacred and when I get married, I’m going to do it the way Allah ordained (for life and for fidelity). So, marrying someone else is out of the question. I can’t marry anybody but him. And I had/have no problem with the possibility of loving him unrequitedly until I die.
But, after bearing witness to Sister Patrice’s life, I started seriously thinking about what if he dies? I’ve seen enough people die to know that life goes on regardless. Then and only then will I even contemplate marrying someone else. Our Nation will live forever, regardless. Just like Abdul, my Honey-Stick knows how I feel. And I’m always going to feel this way, but our situation is different in that his life is at stake.
So, before I can even express my love, I have to get him out of the line of fire and I mean REAL FIRE. America is going to be burned up and all I can do is show and prove. It’s up to Allah for him to accept it. And I know time is running out. I see the signs. If I go places and see more inter-racial couples than Black couples, I know it’s the end. And to be Truthful, I’m ready.
My daughter has rejected Islam. My son has rejected Islam and my one and only love is rejecting Islam. I’m going to continue to give him the Teachings as long as Allah Gives him time since I can’t marry any one else. But it’s not easy.