Channel: Abdullah Oduro
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1971 a man from Kumasi, Ghana, in a small area called ashtown decides to come to America. He finds the opportunity gets a visa and arrives in Chicago. whereupon he says to himself, I want to study. I want to try to obtain this American dream. And he starts to study at the University of Chicago. Two years later, he brings his wife. Yeah, I'm inqua you see this individual? His name was Quadro komati. Now Quadro is someone that is born on Monday, a young boy born on a Monday. And yeah, which his wife that he brought in 1973 is a young girl born on a Thursday. These two individuals young, vibrant, newly married are in Chicago trying to find the American dream. whereupon he finds
opportunity working at a printing press in Arlington, Texas. Now 1973 they're anonymous in Texas. They both end up going to the University of Texas Arlington working late nights 1977, a young man by the name of Abdul Habib oduro, is born July 14 1977. Ladies and gentlemen, that was the beginning of my life. When I was born in Arlington, Texas, young first generation American, I was the only baby amongst a small group of ghanians, in Arlington, Texas. And being the first baby It was kind of like a prize. You're the first American amongst these West Africans that are coming in the 70s. Around that time, because there wasn't a lot, especially in Texas. So I was someone that was the trophy, if
you would, that some even told me later in my life. Well, growing up as a young man eventually took a toll on me being that my father moved from Arlington, Texas, and my mother to Houston, Texas, around 1979. Well, one of the things that happened was, they decided not to speak the language too much to me. They wanted to make sure that I adopted the English that I didn't have an accent, that I didn't get intertwined with the culture that could possibly hold me back from a professional career, etc. They also felt that it may be confusing if I was to join the languages together. So I grew up Americanized. But at the same time, I grew up what one could possibly consider culturally a past
dating. Because when I was in middle school, in high school, I did not want to be associated with anything that had to do with Africa. Because at a young age, kids were making fun of me, very dark complexion, making fun of me being African jokes. I have pages of jokes about the tone of my skin, and how they would make fun of me. So I didn't want to be seen wearing a dashiki coming from church on Sundays, going to the grocery stores. I didn't want to be seen what my mother wearing her garments, cultural apostasy. I had no idea of what I represented and what that meant. I wasn't gonna what for about two weeks when I was two years old, but I really never knew my roots. I really never
knew what I really came from.
And growing up as a teenager, seeing that was something that heavily affected me. Because when rap and hip hop came into picture, I was someone that was deeply involved.
Fifth grade comes around. I'm introduced to British Knights troops, Adidas shell toes, Adidas sweatsuits.
jeans, the jumbo Jean z kaviraj, cheese, pullover jackets, you know, these things were coming around in elementary and high school, but a particularly elementary school is when I first encountered hip hop. That's when I adopted the hip hop culture. Now, some may say the American culture, but some may say no, it's the hip hop culture from the American fabric. I took on all of the styles I took on the beatboxing, the music, the DJing, the breakdancing, the elements of hip hop, as some say nine elements of hip hop, I took it all on, I embraced it. I loved it, especially during the time of the era, when it was African consciousness, recognizing your roots. You have Public Enemy even had dare
I even say, you know, poor, righteous teachers. They had the song self destruction, you're headed for self destruction in the West Coast. So it was really about recognizing your blackness and who you were. At that time, I was considered a little popular because I was from the motherland. I was first generation my parents came straight from Africa. So embracing the American hip hop culture was something that was easy for me. And not recognizing the African culture was something that was dare I even say natural for me.
When coming and realizing Islam was also a process, when I heard about the Nation of Islam was something that was intriguing to me. When I heard about blackness, and I heard about Malcolm X, and I read about Martin Luther King, that was something that I heard about and read about a little, but I didn't get too involved into, I was deep into hip hop and art. Because my mother was very, he was a very spiritual woman, and artistic. And my father was a very intellectual, athlete, musician, waking up and Sunday mornings, and seeing my father pull my mother out the kitchen, and start to dance to Bob Marley, from Bob Marley, and the wailers, all the way to Andy Gibson, the BGS all the
way to Earth, Wind and Fire, all of these artists that we would see and I would see growing up dancing, and cheering and having a good time. So I grew up in this kind of environment of people that were spiritual, and also people that loved music in the arts. So hip hop was natural for me, when getting involved in hip hop and consciousness was something that I really, really had a lot of involvement in, to the degree that I will go on and, you know, try to battle people in rap and hip hop and get really involved into it. Until a little bit for me embracing Islam, I had a lot of questions about the purpose of life. Why am I here? Because I got involved in a lifestyle that
someone considered dangerous. And that lifestyle led me to ask a lot of questions of like, Is this all it's about? The money, the cars? Is that all it's about? There were times in high school where one of my closest friends he had a drop top Cutlass, cut the top off, put candy paint on it had some McLean rims on there, those of you that know what know what that is, and roll with hydraulics. After school were in front of everybody, the car bouncing with hydraulics, and we're playing Nintendo with bucket biscuit seats, if any of y'all know what that is, or royal blue car with white bucket biscuit seats, playing Super Nintendo, while hydraulics are going through well, motion. Ladies and
gentlemen, this is 1994 1995. So we reached a level to where it was fun. But the question kept pounding my brain, in my heart, is this what it's all about? Around 1996, I was really involved in battling I was really involved in rap I had, we had a little group, and we would go around Houston, going to certain clubs. And, you know, we opened up for a couple of groups that were kind of known in the past and certain clubs, and I was really indulged into the lifestyle, and also the culture. So there was one time subpanel I used to, I know some brothers from Brooklyn, and they were Sunni Muslim brothers. And one day I was involved with them on a certain issue. And we started to talk
about Islam. Now the whole time. They're talking about Islam, I'm thinking the Nation of Islam. So then I said, Oh, so you're talking about the nation? They said, No, no, no, we're talking about worshipping Allah subhanho wa Taala by himself, saying that he has no partners, no son, no daughter, and that Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him who was in Saudi Arabia. He was a man that received Prophethood. And that message was universal with all of the other prophets. The more they spoke, the more I was blown away, but I didn't want to show them that. But I realized that the doctrine that they were talking about is exactly what I was looking for. So I eventually embraced
Islam. But upon embracing Islam was another interesting tale.