5 Percenters: Their History and beliefs
Walking the streets of Harlem, New York were I reside, often times I and possibly many others, we may miss the little things such as a new street mural, a new clothing store down the street, or a new church around the corner. But in this case I want to talk about this run-down building, where a poster of hip-hop artists, and a picture of a black man, supposedly was God, where posted all over this property and as its sign it said, "Headquarters of the 5 Percent". Observing this, at once I had to ask questions of what this headquarters was about and what sort of relations it had with hip-hop artists of today. I had a fragment of information on the 5 Percenters and I knew in finding more information I would have to research in-dept, therefore I knew picking this subject would be an excellent choice as my research topic. I will examine the history, beliefs, and teachings of the "cult". 5 Percenters, rather be known as a "culture" and "a way of life" hates being called a religion or cult. This sect, which was taken from the Nation of Islam, "5 Percent", also known as the "Nation of Gods and Earth was established in Harlem in the late 1960s by Clarence 13X". ("Five Percenters, Nation of Gods and Earths"). The name is taken from their belief that they are the selected five percent of humankind who live an honorable
"Islamic" life and by this they have manifested the "right divine nature of the black man who is God or Allah". Thousands follow the teachings in Harlem, where the group began, and beyond in New England, California, the Midwest. Lance, who once believed and wanted to live the way of life as a 5 percenter, and is also the person I interviewed, confirmed, "5 Percenters is accepted in the midst of many African-American male youth, mainly in poor, urban areas. Yet, this thinking is taken in by the educated as well. Its recognition is help by many R&B/Hip-Hop artists. Wu-Tang, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Common, spread the word on CDs and radio." (Wilbur, Lance)
The group was founded by Clarence 13X (Clarence Jowars Smith), who is known by Five Percenters as "Father Allah," "Allah," or "The Father." He is given these names because he made the teachings that created the basics of the Five-Percenter movement. Clarence 13X was initially a member of the Nation of Islam, attending Nation of Islam Temple 7 in Harlem, New York, where Malcolm X was a minister. Following his questioning about the theology of Wallace Fard Muhammad, "who was a reverend and founder of the Black Nationalist movement the Nation of Islam (NOI)" ("I am God", NOI, and the Five Percenters"), Clarence was disciplined by the group, and was immediately detached from affiliation. This separation led Clarence to teach his own version of NOI beliefs. Clarence 13X used the Nation of Islam's teachings to teach that any Black man could become God through living a life of righteousness and that people of other races could also become "civilized people." He found success on the streets of Harlem and those who adjusted to his movement. As time pass, the "Five Percenters gained a
reputation as being an uncontrollable group of Black youths thugs, blamed for actions such as bank robberies and muggings." ("The Department of Corrections calls them trouble.") The Five Percenters also established a headquarters in Harlem, New York known as "Allah School in Mecca."
From the late 1980s until today, many Five Percenters are found in the midst of the East Coast/West Coast/Midwest cities of New Jersey, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, mainly with the Hip-Hop scene. Hip-Hop artists such as, "Wu Tang Clan, Nas, AZ, Rakim, Brand Nubian Nine"( Perry, Imani) and many others has spread the practice of the Five Percenters, using the coded language of Supreme Mathematics and the Supreme Alphabet. The Supreme Mathematics, a cycle of principles...
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