|Malcolm X was "gay-for-pay"|
|And here's why|
Before any of us in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities laud Malcolm X as our new gay icon or castigate him for being a black heterosexist nationalist on the "down low," we might need to closely examine the recent revelation that for a period in his life Malcolm X engaged in same-sex relationships.
Also, before any of us in the African American community flatly dismiss these assertions as part and parcel of a racist conspiratorial propaganda machine that is out to discredit our brother Malcolm, we need, at least, to hear these nagging claims.
And this time hear them coming from one of our own -- Manning Marable, a renowned and respected African American historian and social critic from Columbia University.
Sadly, Marable died April 1, just days before the release of his magnum opus, an exhaustive and new 594-page biography Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, on April 4th, which also marks the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968.
His assertions in the book -- deriving from meticulously combing through 6,000 pages of F.B.I. files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, records from the Central Intelligence Agency, State Department and New York district attorney’s office, as well as his interviews with members of Malcolm X’s inner circle and security team -- leaves the reader in shock and awe.
For those of us who always thought Malcolm X’s assassination, as with King’s, had everything to do with J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I, we are correct. Marable emphatically states that both the F.B.I and NYPD had advance knowledge of Malcolm X’s assassination plot, and did nothing to abort it.
But what will come as a shock is Marable’s assertions that the Malcolm X the world has come to know through Alex Haley’s 1965 New York Timesbestseller The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Spike Lee’s 1992 film Malcolm X based largely on Haley’s book is fictive. And the spin we have, in part, is due to Malcolm himself.
In creating an autobiographical narrative that would have his book fly off of bookshelves as well as elevate his status to a national -- if not world -- stage, Malcolm X intentionally fabricated, exaggerated, glossed over, and omitted vital facts about his life. One such fact omitted was his same-sex relationship with a white businessman.
The claim, no doubt, will become a hotly contested topic in sectors of the African American community. With an iconography of racist images of black masculinity ranging from back in the day as Sambos, Uncle Toms, coons, and bucks to now gangsta hip-hoppers, Malcolm represented the negation of them.
As a pop-culture hero to young black males of this generation and as the quintessential representation of black manhood of both America’s Black Civil Rights and Black Power eras, a gay Malcolm X will be a hard, if not impossible, sell to the African American community.