Because of Muhammad Ali, I Am…… El-Fatiah Muhammad Shabazz

Written by on June 4, 2016

Malcolm X kidding around with Muhammad Ali, New York, 1963

2016 sucks in a major way thus far. Today I come to the realization that the GOAT of all goats has passed away. Today I mourn the loss of Muhammad Ali.

Ali meant a lot to me. The first time I remember seeing him was on an episode of Diff’rent Strokes. Where Arnold had to play like he was dying in order for “The Champ” to stop by and visit him. Even then at a young age, I equated the name Muhammad with the word CHAMP, greatness.

The next time Muhammad entered my life was during the height of Mike Tyson’s dominance and as a young child I ran around telling everyone that Iron Mike was, in fact, the greatest boxer who ever lived!! That is when an old school cat in the hood pulled me to the side and gave me a VHS tape of a documentary on Ali’s career and instructed me to watch it. I watched that video tape over and over and over again. I studied that tape as I ate breakfast. I studied the tape late at night. And I soon came to the realization that Mr. Muhamad Ali was, in fact, the Greatest of All Time. Not only for his boxing skills but for the battles he fought outside the ring. His champion could not be contained to the ring. I still have that VHS tape. It meant so much to me that I never gave it back.

The 3rd time Ali meant something to me was when I had to come up with a rapping name. I felt as a person I graduated from the run of the mill names of other cats. I not only needed a name that was special, but it also had to represent where I was in my life at the moment. Being a student at Grambling State University my life had changed in oh so many ways and my attribute had to reflect that. As I went through a book of African names I ran across the name el- Fatih. It means the conqueror in the Arabic language. Me being the writer that I am I added an A to the name and pronounced it with the I being silent, El-Fa-Tah. El-Fatiah. How does this go back to Ali you ask? Well, 2 ways. I needed a complete name because El-Fatiah now meant more than my rap name. So I placed Muhamad in to represent my favorite athlete. And the Shabazz represented Malcolm X. The second way this transformation leads back to Ali is that when I returned from Grambling and spoke with people I knew for years many of them by habit called me by my government name. In a way influenced by Muhammad Ali, I always corrected them with “my name is El-Fatiah.” “My name is El-Fatiah.” “My name is El-Fatiah.” From that moment El-Fatiah meant more than my rap name, it became who I am. I am El-Fatiah. Now the majority of everyone I know calls me by my attribute El-Fatiah, and not my government name. (Except family, they refuse to.)

Muhammad Ali influenced me and how I developed into a man. What he stood for as a person transcends the confinement of an athlete. He changed the world in many ways and will always be regarded by the world as being the greatest. To me, he will always be one of the reasons I Am El-Fatiah Muhammad Shabazz.


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