By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Famous journalist, photographer, poet and Black Press columnist Askia Muhammad has died.
“With deep sadness, the family of Askia Muhammad announces his passing of natural causes today at the age of 76,” WPFW-Radio in Washington, DC, said in a statement.
“A private service will be held with a memorial scheduled for a later date. There are no words to express the deep sadness we feel at the death of our dear brother.
Station officials, where Muhammad, an editor at Final Call, said he gave a lot and was always friendly and smiling.
“Words are insufficient at this time. So we just hold on to the vibration of love, truth, perseverance, hope and joy that Askia has always given off,” the station continued.
“Let us reflect on the beautiful legacy Askia has left us and how we can collectively convey the impeccable vibration of her spirit.
For more than 40 years, Muhammad was a staple of WPFW, The Final Call, and his column appeared regularly in black-owned newspapers like the Washington Informer.
One author, Muhammad’s most recent book, “The Autobiography of Charles 67X”, featured a collection of photos, poetry and personal essays spanning his life as a politically and socially engaged journalist.
When asked by The Final Call about the book and his radio debut, Muhammad said he didn’t have much jazz music.
“I discovered in my limited collection that there was a recording of Charlie Parker. My name given by my mother was Charles, so I had some identification with that,” Muhammad said.
“Then I found out he had recorded a song, his signature song, ‘Yardbird Suite.’ The ‘Yardbird Suite’ was recorded on my first birthday.
“So I said it was natural. I will have a garden bird show, and that was it, and since I have this double album with Charlie Parker songs, I have plenty of Bird, 27 songs on this album, ”said the journalist for a long time. “Bird” and “Yardbird” were also nicknames for the iconic jazz composer and saxophonist.
“I was able to put on a show, and that was the first song, the ‘Yardbird Suite.’ I call my show ‘Sweets’ like in candy because I didn’t want to be confused with Charlie Parker’s Yardbird Suite. So we went there, and that’s why,” he said.
More than 40 years later, Muhammad’s spectacle remains vital, and the Washington, D.C. City Council passed a resolution commemorating the achievement.
Despite his ties to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, who appeared on the show on Tuesdays, the DC City Council recognized Mr. Muhammad even though a council member said the minister was not welcome in DC .
“The spirit of our beloved new ancestor, Askia Muhammad, is ascending,” tweeted Professor Greg Carr of Howard University. “It’s #MaaKheru [The Voice is True]. We cherish the time he spent here in this form and in this place, finding and telling the truth,” Carr continued.
“We will keep him in our memory and lift up his example to light our way.”
The famous journalist Roland Martin also paid tribute to Muhammad.
“I’ve bumped into Askia Muhammad a number of times, including guesting her on TV One and News One Now,” Martin wrote on Twitter. “Sorry to hear of his transition to the ancestor.”