Thursday, June 9, 2016

"The Greatest of All Time" - Muhammad Ali, A Proud, Free Black Man

January 17, 1942 - June 3, 2016
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."  

The greatest "spoken word" poet of our time has died.

It's taken me a few days to actually sit down and write about what the passing of Muhammad Ali (née Cassius Clay) means to me and that's mainly because I think until today I've been in denial.

Although, we had all seen the effects of Parkinson's on his body for over two decades, he left us with so many quotes and poems and memories, it didn't seem that he would ever really be gone.  But, he is.  And we're all better people for him having graced this earth for over 70 years.

Muhammad Ali came of age in an era when it wasn't popular for a black man to "speak his mind."  Or, speak, at all, for that matter.  But, speak, Ali did.  And speak.  And preach.  And predict.  And he did it all with a freedom, poise, confidence and power like no one had before or has done since.

His popularity spanned generations.  In fact, my great-nephew who isn't even two years old yet, can often be seen sporting a baby tee-shirt with one of Ali's quotes emblazoned on his tiny chest.  Obviously, he doesn't know who Ali was, but one day, maybe he'll look back at his baby pictures and be grateful that his dad thought it important that he "put some respect on Muhammad Ali's name."

He was right.  He was so pretty.  And smart.  And the greatest of all time.

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