Gary Buiso, New York Post, April 6, 2014
Black people are the fathers and mothers of civilization, white men are the devil, the Christian god is nothing more than a ghost and only a small percentage of people understand the world.
These are just some of the beliefs behind the bling — the gaudy Five Percent Nation medallions worn by Jay Z and Carmelo Anthony.
Last week, all eyes at the Barclays Center weren’t on Jay Z’s better half, Beyoncé — but on the coaster-size golden pendant swinging from the rapper’s neck as the couple sat courtside. Asked once if the group’s symbol — an eight-pointed star with the number 7 in the middle — held any meaning for him, the rapper shrugged, “A little bit.”
So what exactly do Five Percenters believe?
“The rationale is that the black man is God and created the universe, and is physically stronger and intellectually stronger and more righteous naturally,” says Michael Muhammad Knight, an author of two books on the radical group.
“Whiteness is weak and wicked and inferior — basically just an errant child who needs to be corrected.”
The group was founded in 1964 in Harlem by Clarence Smith, who later changed his name to Allah, a former student of Malcolm X who disagreed with the Nation of Islam over the nature of God.
Smith rejected the notion of a supernatural deity and instead believed that all black men had God in them and that black women were “earths” who took on a complementary yet subordinate role to their gods.
Five Percenters don’t consider themselves Muslim, but their name comes from the Nation of Islam’s belief that 5 percent of humanity are “poor righteous teachers” who exist to enlighten the masses about the truth of existence.
Caucasians, meanwhile, don’t enjoy an exalted status in the narrative of the Five Percenters.
“The first lesson I learned from the Five Percent was simple: F–k white people. Seriously. White people are devils,” Knight, 36, who is white and converted to Islam as a teenager, once wrote.
He insisted the movement has been welcoming and that he views the controversial sentiment as a statement about power rather than biology.
“For me, it is about who is marked as privileged in the power relations of this society,” he says.