return of the mecca


Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) on Malcolm X, for “Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop”


Muslim festival, Anohia Village, Afikpo Igbo Village-Group, Nigeria.

Unmarried female Muslim dancers, Anohia Village, Afikpo, at one of their festivals. Most of this village converted to Islam in the late 1950s when a village son returned as a Muslim, an Alhaji, after being to Senegal, Mecca and elsewhere, converting many of the inhabitants of the village. The dance movements were fairly typical of Afikpo but the songs were in praise of Allah and the dress differs.

I have no information on what became of the Moslem community following the outbreak of the Nigerian-Biafran civil war.

Simon Ottenberg (1971). A Moslem Igbo Village. Cahiers d'Études Africaines, Vol. 11, Cahier 42 (1971), pp. 231-260

Religion allows people to feel kinship with strangers halfway across the globe with whom they share values, which can serve as a remarkable vehicle for cosmopolitanism. Religious pilgrimages that take people across borders are not only spiritual quests, but also social ones. A powerful example of this is how Malcolm X was so moved by the great multicolored crush of humanity he witnessed on a pilgrimage to Mecca that upon his return he decided to adopt a much more inclusive understanding of race relations.

Yasiin Bey on Malcolm X, for “Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop”

“A statesman without a state, a revolutionary, an outlaw…”