On Thursday February 28th, Western New Mexico University hosted a one-day exhibit for Black History Month. The exhibit was to show off all the trials and tribulations African-Americans face daily. It also showed all the racial slander that is displayed in our world today towards black individuals. The wise man in charge of this exhibit is Khalid El-Hakim.
Khalid El-Hakim is an educator, activist, and founder of what he now calls the “Black History 101 Mobile Museum”. The Black History 101 Mobile Museum is a collection of over 5,000 original artifacts that displays and gives you a closer look of the Black experience from slavery to Hip Hop. The Black History 101 Mobile Museum travels all over the world and are collectibles that can be taken to showcase them to colleges, universities, elementary schools as well as cultural events across the country.He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan in a rural neighborhood. He only attended three schools throughout his entire life. His parents provided a very stable life for him to be able to succeed. He did grow up in the 1980’s where the drug “crack cocaine” had an outburst in the streets.Cocaine is also known as coke which is a strong stimulant and is considered a recreational drug. He said that there were so many drug dealers that became famous in their area and even rich off selling crack in the rough streets of Detroit, Michigan. He mentioned that people tended to go their own ways. The drug dealers, hustlers and school guys all had their own identity and their own way of doing things.
In Khalid’s city, he was mainly around black people. His city had a black mayor, black city council and black chief of police. Khalid felt like he was destined for greatness because he seen so many black people in his city in these high positions and it made him feel like he can do it too. Everyone around him was in a powerful position and that’s how he wanted to be. Even the law enforcement in his city spoke on serious issues that went on in their city. Growing up, he had a great relationship with the police and he wanted to be a policeman. He was influenced by the Afro-Centric Era with, rap groups like Public Enemy and N.W.A. He was so influenced by their music that when “F— the Police” came out by N.W.A, it caused him to stop liking the police and his whole mindset of them changed.
He then wanted to be a teacher because he wanted to give back and affect his city in a positive way. He attended college and went to Ferris State University in Northern Michigan and received his degree in social studies with a minor in business. On campus, Khalid was very involved and in tune with everything. He then learned how to network and connect with different artists and learned how to build relationships with significant people. From all the things he learned in college, he took those tools and started his own management and production company. He was the manager forstar rapper “Proof” all the way until he passed. Proof was a famous rapper from the group D12 which was from Detroit, Michigan which included one of the best rappers of this day being Eminem. Proof was the person who helped Khalid jumpstart his career in selling black history antiques and collectibles. Proof gave him the money to get all the KKK antiques. Khalid’s whole purpose of doing this was to educate people on race and how serious conversations about race can be for some people. He wanted to start this and discuss things like that to break the race and to also prepare people for the racial slander that comes with it.
He has been doing these exhibits for 13 years. Coming to our university is the 38th venue he’s been to and he’s traveled to about 15 different states showing off his amazing collection. The name of the speech that he gives is called “The Truth Hurt: Black History, Honesty and Healing The Racial Divide”. His point of doing this is to dig deeper into the artifacts on the table. Also, he wants to examine how people see it or how they deal with it.
He does not like the phrase, “money is everything” because he feels it becomes problematic. He stated, “money can buy you access but not integrity.” He believes that for things to change that we have to come together to create change. He says that we cannot depend on our government nor the education systems to provide us with the information we need to survive. He claimed that white supremacy doesn’t listen or get involved in anything unless it affects their personal money or income. Mr. El-Hakim feels that if you have a platform and can speak on injustice then that’s what you should do.
Khalid displays the artifacts because he said that they are left out of the museums. He believes that people are dismissive when discussing sensitive topics. Khalid is an African American mogul who wanted to be successful from the beginning. He started from the bottom and worked his way up. He went from wanting to be a police officer, to wanting to be a teacher, to going to college. He then formed his own management and production company and managed one of the biggest stars in hip pop of the time, Proof. He now purchases these artifacts and black history collectibles to show off to the world so we can all be more educated about black history.