Just in case you hear people barking at the next Million Man March, or if you’re wondering why Louis Farrakhan is wearing a purple shirt and gold boots with his bow tie, don’t be alarmed—it’s just a Que thing.
And if you have no idea what that means, you likely never attended a historically black college or ran for your life when you heard the first few notes of George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog.” So for people who insist that purple and gold don’t go with camouflage, in layman’s terms, on Saturday, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, 85, was initiated as full member of Omega Psi Phi, the first black fraternity founded at an HBCU (Howard University).
The brand new
Que Dawg Omega Man joins the ranks of Michael Jordan, Langston Hughes, and Black History Month founder Carter G. Woodson as a member of the 107-year-old organization. Although there was no probate show at the fraternity’s international headquarters in Atlanta, and though The Root could not confirm if chicken and beer were served afterward, the religious leader did tweet celebratory pictures after his induction.
Although the news was surprising, there are still some unanswered questions:
- When “Atomic Dog” comes on, will Farrakhan set out “a hop”?
- There will definitely be free chicken at the next Million Man March, right?
- Will he wear gold boots to the next Saviours’ Day celebration?
- Is his line name “The HonQrable Louis FarraQhan?”
- Will he wear a camouflage bowtie?
- When white people ask me to “disavow” Farrakhan, can I just say, “That’s my neo?”
- Do any of the 700 chapters stand a chance against the Fruit of Islam step team?
For college, Farrakhan attended historically black Winston Salem Teachers College (now Winston Salem State University) on a track scholarship before reorganizing the Nation of Islam after the death of the religious group’s founder, Elijah Muhammad.
The controversial leader has been criticized as anti-Semitic and homophobic and is simultaneously hailed as one of the few fearless of pro-black resistance, as The Root’s Terrell Starr writes:
There hasn’t been a period during the NOI’s history when the organization hasn’t evoked controversy, be it NOI founder Elijah Muhammad’s unique interpretation of Islam, the group’s ideological clashes with the more acceptable corners of the civil rights movement, its homophobia and, most notoriously, its unmitigated hatred of whites and, under Farrakhan’s leadership, Jews. The NOI also has another side that’s more familiar to many black people: facilitators of black dignity and prison rehabilitation.
We can’t discuss the NOI without exploring the white supremacy that inspires its radical black theology. In a country that warehouses black men in prisons at rates outlandishly disproportionate to their size within the U.S. population, the NOI is known to take broken men and build them up, its most famous convert being Malcolm X.
Some would argue that the NOI was, at one point, the only recidivism program for black men during prison and post-release. Correctional officials and black community groups have long praised the group for filling the void of a broken and predatory criminal-justice system.
Aside from Omega Psi Phi’s civic and community service, the fraternity awards more than 1,000 scholarships to African-American college students each year. The organization also owns and operates one of the few black-owned banking institutions, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Federal Credit Union, and boasts more than 700 chapters in the United States, Bermuda, Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Korea, Japan, Liberia, Germany, and Kuwait.
When asked for comment, Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard.