Today May 19, 2017 is not just important because it is the 92nd year since the arrival on earth of Malik el-Hajj el-Shabazz, most well known as Malcolm X. May 19 also marks 99 years since the lynching of 8 months pregnant Mary Turner. It is also 85 days before the 97th year of Red, Black and Green. President and CEO of the Mhotep Corporation, Nnamdi Azikiwe realized the time was perfect to announce his company’s plans to make August 13, 2017 the Reddest, Blackest and Greenest day ever. To commemorate the 97th year of Red, Black and Green (#RBG97) they invite everyone to “Wear Red, Black and Green on August 13!!!” The “90 Days of Hope” campaign has been underway for the past 5 days as an effort to “engage, entertain and educate” millions of people around the world to take the RBG Challenge (#RBGCHALLENGE) and wear Red Black and Green on August 13.
The significance of the colors Red, Black and Green first came to Mr. Azikiwe’s awareness through his membership in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). “In 1998, while developing the first UNIA website I learned from the years 1900 to 1920, Black people were belittled for not having a flag through the lyrics of the song ‘Every Race Has A Flag But The Coon,'” he said.
After attending the Malcolm X Day Celebration in Washington, DC’s Anacostia Park during May 1993 he was inspired by Betty Shabazz to create a symbol based on the colors Red, Black and Green. “Dr. Shabazz spoke as scheduled even though a thunderstorm ended the event prematurely,” he says. “Earlier the park was packed mainly with people interested in seeing Riddick Bowe. Many of us sought shelter under the skating rink when the storm blew through. Dr. Shabazz stayed in the camper which brought her to the event. She came and spoke to those of us who stuck around. I don’t remember much of what she said except one thing: Create something.”
That admonition would prove inspirational. Later, he designed a graphic which would become his company logo. It is also the symbol behind the product line known as Keyamsha the Awakening. The symbol, known as Keyamsha, The Shield of Audacious Power named in part for an admonition by Dr. Adam Clayton Powell. Described as a “Red, Black and Green symbol of the power of the human spirit” with a golden ankh in the center it is just one of several RBG products available for purchase at KEYAMSHA.COM.
Additionally, the 100th anniversary of the Red, Black and Green will be August 13, 2020. First President-General of the UNIA, Marcus Garvey, presided over the meeting of 20,000 UNIA members at Madison Square Garden in New York City on August 13, 1920. At that event the Declaration of Rights was presented publicly for the first time and signed by over 100 people. Declaration 39 states:
That the colors, Red, Black and Green, be the colors of the Negro race.
That means Black people, Colored people, Negro people, African people, at home and abroad, have had a flag for nearly one hundred years. To invoke the historical and cultural significance of the RBG in a global act of unity on that day will create an event of historical significance. We have the knowledge, skills, resources and ability to restore justice or Maat to this planet. What we seem to be in short supply of is hope. The purpose of wearing Red, Black and Green on August 13th is to restore the hope of “an unfortunate people.” Wearing Red, Black and Green on August 13th focuses our attention on pride, dignity, nobility and self-respect. An event such as the wearing of Red, Black and Green lets those who know the significance of the RBG express the reality that it is our blood, our melanin and Africa which unites us.
Mr. Azikiwe finds May 19th to be most auspicious in regards to making today’s announcement. “I found Marcus Garvey through Malcolm X. When Spike Lee announced he would be directing the biopic on Malcolm’s life, I decided to read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” Upon completion of the book’s first chapter Mr. Azikiwe had a question in his mind: “Whatever happened to the UNIA?”
By reading Malcolm’s autobiography he learned of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA. “To me, the first chapter is about three things: Malcolm’s father, Earl Little, Marcus Garvey and the UNIA,” he said. Shortly after the question about the UNIA formed in his mind the answer came.
“One day during 1993 I was listening to WPFW
August 13th is also designated “World Melanin Day.” Melanin is part of the history of the Red, Black and Green, because, melanin puts the “B” in RBG. Melanin, specifically eumelanin, is the chemical which makes Black people black. At this moment, the aromatic biopolymer and organic semiconductor, melanin, is worth over $350 a gram more than gold.