Civilized People

Five Percenters 'Build' on Negative Press

While there may not be a media conspiracy to smear the Gods and Earths, the potential for inaccuracies when reporting on an esoteric entity is increased when sources come from outside the group. Exchanges obtained by the Voice between USA Today writer Mark Goldblatt and two NGE adherents angered by a October 29 column in which he called the NGE "virulently racist" are illustrative. "What bothered me," says 27-year-old Irize Refined Earth, a Philadelphia music industry executive who wrote Goldblatt, "is that he didn't make any attempt to contact anybody from the Nation to get information." In a response letter to Eboni Joy Asiatic Earth, who also wrote him, Goldblatt admitted using sources other than the NGE, but did not see this as a problem.

Goldblatt wrote to Irize Earth, "You are inspiring the most hateful, misguided, delusional art ever to emerge from black culture, and thus you are indirectly undermining the confidence of young black people that America is their nation as much as anyone's—a confidence which they need in order to succeed." Irize Earth protests, "He was saying that the Nation on a whole is violent, and I definitely disagree with that. I've never learned racism from the Nation." Asiatic Earth noted that Goldblatt based several assumptions on hip-hop lyrics, such as those from Da Lench Mob, but "you have not quoted our founder, Allah, who said, 'We are neither pro-black, nor anti-white. We are pro-righteousness and anti-devilishment.' "

In Seattle, where Muhammad was a member of a small NOI study group, the local NGE is unfazed by press postulations. Wyking Allah, 25, a member of the community, says they are actively working toward the betterment of the community by establishing schools and African-heritage museums, serving on corporate boards, and even running for political office. "We remain focused on building programs that cultivate our youth to help them realize their potential as leaders of the free world," he says.

"Never in any way, shape, fashion, or form," says Rhymes, "have I personally or any God or Earth ever communicated verbally or through action any kind of information that would implicate that this is something that is being taught, or in the slightest way discussed in any aspect, [within] the God Nation. We don't advocate no violence. We can't even be productive in any way unless we're dealing with it peacefully."

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