Ras Olugbenga

Life & Times In My Lifetime: Part II

Ras Olugbenga
Life & Times In My Lifetime: Part II

Part II

Secretly Mal admired Zo’s uninhibited confidence with women, rather the girls who portrayed themselves as inchoate women. ‘Zo was witty, street-smart, and had an uncanny intuitive sense. He was the type that had no need for an alarm clock, his body just knew when to rise. Needless to say he was routinely late, but always seemed to be right on time. Since Malachi had no ladies to woo during this public transit excursion he pulled out his tangled headphones from his pocket; beginning to nod his head to a beat from a song he would momentarily cue on his ipod. Mal was a fan of “backpack rap” and his classmates routinely teased for his conscious rap affinity. Just as his thumb connected with play he slouched further into his seat and let out a sigh. Typically, the second home game of the basketball season and plans to meet Ciara afterward were cause for celebration. But for some reason, he could not bring himself to a joyous state. All of his logical attempts of reasoning failed. Mal was beginning to see the world in a new light, one that gave the inequities of society a distinct glow like blood under black lights.

His mind drifted back to 4 weeks prior in October when he had been asked this question by his calculus teacher. “What were Africans doing before Jesus?”  Never one to shy away from an intellectual challenge (especially concerning African history), Mal unknowingly jumped down a rabbitt hole and after a month of amateur research he was falling deeper and deeper into the abyss of his ignorance. Truth, is often likened to a light or illumination, or freedom and foundation. Ironically, Mal’s search for truth had led him to a dark place, where he felt constrained with no solid foundation to support his heavy discoveries. His father, Malik, had embraced the unconventional Black liberation theology of the MOorish Science Temple, but out of respect for his Mal’s mother’s staunch African Methodist Episcopalian background, Malik chose to avoid doctrinal conflicts and placed his focus on the impact and divinity of Noble Drew Ali when teaching his young king about spirituality. Conversely he consciously made little to no mention of Jesus the Christ, except that Malachi should know that Jesus was a Black Man like him, who had been killed by an oppressive government. Malachi had never been a fan of gospel music and as a child felt sinful for not finding enjoyment in the protracted praise sessions of his AME church. However, with religiously inclined parents, Malachi always felt a spiritual beckoning that he could not articulate. Of course it is say to say he did not want to articulate this calling because it would imply  - 1) He heard a voice, outside of his own, “calling him” 2) that he understood this voice 3) had made peace with this voice and was ready 4) to make this “word flesh”.