As a people who were stolen from our land, words, language, and how we use them carries a very specific power. But when you’re speaking about the giant that was El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, born Malcolm Little, known to the world as Malcolm X, we’re not just talking about power.
We’re talking about an entire movement.
Arguably one of the most powerful transformations ever recorded in history, we’re very familiar with his journey. His life was tragically cut short before he reached the age of forty. At the time of his death, Malcolm X was one of the most hated men on the planet. The beauty in that ugly truth is that the same reasons why society hated him, we revered him. Only fitting that the great Ossie Davis was tasked with delivering his eulogy. And when we’re thinking about how much heart, soul, and passion went into that enormous task, we’re not just thinking about Malcolm.
We’re thinking about an entire movement.
The narrative around who we are and what we’ve been is often skewed by mainstream and what makes this eulogy one of the greatest speeches of all time is that it takes ownership over OUR history. The media would have loved nothing more than to defile Malcolm X in life and even more so in death. But Ossie’s words are a balm for the pain that we inherited, a call to action to continue to love and to continue to fight, even in the face of tragedy. Because it’s really about not just about us.
It’s about an entire movement.
Rightfully so, because Malcolm was for the people. And he loved us so. Watch below for the full speech pulled from Spike Lee‘s X or read it in its entirety here. Bonus: Listen to Malcolm X: The Lost Speeches on Tidal below.