Who Is Mumia?
How Can I Help?
FROM MUMIA ABU-JAMAL BRAHIN : Reporter of the 1st Order Column Written 6/9/2000 Mumia Abu-Jamal All Rights Reserved
It is remarkable that one still has the capacity to be shocked, surprised, or even moved while one subsists in the abode of death.
The shock came when I learned of the passing of African-American journalist, Abdul-Brahin Ahmaddiya, an award-winning reporter in various media, and, many years ago, a friend. Instantly, one was met with the quick photo-flashes of memory, of decades past, of a bright, passionate, community-conscious man, whose smile lit up a room, and who sparked pride in those who saw in him, a "boy from the hood, who made good."
He worked, for many years at Philadelphia's then most listened to black-oriented radio station (WDAS-FM), where he held forth every Sunday afternoon, as host of the program, "Insight: Inner City," an eclectic mix of jazz, discussion, culture, and commentary. It was there, many years ago, that he offered this writer an early opportunity to air commentaries.
He worked, for a time, in Philadelphia TV, and was an editor of the Philadelphia weekly, The New Observer.
Brahin and I had a long, running joke. When we saw each other, we would invariably tell a tale something like this:
Brahin: What's up, man? Don't you know this sister came up to me and told me that she heard my story on Bob Marley, and how much she like it! Man, I was lovin' it, until it dawned on me ---Whoa! I ain't do no story on no Bob Marley, man!
Mumia: Aw, man! Did I tell about the sista who was tellin' me 'bout how she listen to me every Sunday on 'DAS, and was grinnin' from ear-to-ear, man! Until I dug that I ain't been on 'DAS for about a year on Sunday--- I said, what? That's that Damned--
We would both laugh uproars, guffaws and heehaws. His sense of humor was infectious.
But in more recent years, the gifted, and insightful journalists became the target of the state. Drug busts. Firings from high-profile TV stations. Age-discrimination suits. Charges of abuse.
It was years since we really communicated. One lives with the tacit assumption that tomorrow will always be. Tomorrow is promised to none. Do what is necessary this very day.
Brahin was, in many ways, a mentor, an example, and, yes-a professional role model. He showed what was possible.
Years ago, a young female TV reporter, Brahin and I were talking in the newsroom of WDAS. We were joking around, and then one of us asked her, "Damn, girl! How can we get on TV?"
She looked seriously for a few minutes, and pointed to me, "You might be able to do it, Mu. If you cut your damn hair!" We laughed. Then she turned to Brahin: "You? Uhn-Uh!"
"Honey Chile? Brahin? Now you know you too black!"
We all laughed, but in the glint of his eye was a knowing hurt, melded to an iron will.
Within 5 years of that conversation, Brahin Ahmaddiya was doing news and feature reporting for a local Philadelphia TV station. That was Brahin!
According to published reports, Ahmaddiya succumbed to a heart attack, at the age of 57 years. For his passion, his brilliance, and his sheer heart, he will be missed.
Rest well, homie.