Glenn Ligon (b. 1960, Bronx, NY)
Give us a Poem (Palindrome #2), 2007
Gift of the Artist
There is no can’t, won’t, or impossible.
Impossible is Nothing.
Adidas Spot, 2004 by 180 TBWA, Amsterdam Continue reading
When I started getting attacked so bad because I am a Muslim, I had to decide, if it would come to me having to give up one or the other, what was most important to me, my religion or my fighting. I made up my mind that I could give up fighting and never look back. Because it’s a whole pile of other ways I could make a living. Me being the world heavyweight champion feels very small and cheap to me when I put that alongside of how millions of my poor black brothers and sisters are having to struggle just to get their human rights here in America. Maybe God got me here for a sacrifice. I don’t know. But I do know that God don’t want me to go down for standing up.
— Muhammad Ali
Alex Haley Interview, Playboy (1964)
But it all stemmed from boxing. His matchless magnificence, the self-proclaimed “greatness”, was invented early as a cheery prizefighter’s publicity stunt. It was a greatness that was to balloon and achieve near-universal acceptance as he became acknowledged as a beacon not only for downtrodden African Americans but for global Islam as well, not to mention the anti-war movement or poverty in developing countries. In the middle of press conferences, reporters would earnestly ask him about solving the Palestine problem, or if he could have a quiet word with Moscow about President Ronald Reagan’s star wars programme. Ali was a rebel with a cause – lots of them.
I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.