“Malcolm Is ’bout More Than Wearing a Cap”

Written and Performed by Michael Warr

WarrMalcolm X Mural at the Corner of Third and Kirkwood.

The problem is not the letter X
or the myriad of emblazoned caps
even worn backward by white boys.
When Arsenio sports a rhinestone-
studded X to match his Armani suit,
I see Malcolm emasculated by fashion.
As if X symbolized a new NBA team
challenging the Pistons, Cavs, and Bulls,
their jerseys blinking “Buy American”
with every slam dunk sponsorship.
Then a sandwich is named Sandwich X,
and a four-wheeler is named Bronco X,
until the substance of X is x’ed out.

A dollar for every X on a cap
can either make a multi-millionaire,
or hopefully help pay for a revolution,
a cry we hear these days almost
as much as we see X’s — in America
where all is commodified.

Will X stand for change or
changing what America wears?
As ruling designers alienate
the Malcolm from the X. Separate
the meaning of Malcolm from the
punctuated power of X.
To Malcolm is to do. Your cap
is clean, but Malcolm is ’bout more
than wearing a cap. Your horn rims
impress, but Malcolm is ’bout vision.
Your T-shirt is down, but Malcolm
is ’bout taking over.
Your enemies will also wear the X,
sell the X, sex the X, film the X,
praise the X, record the X, raise the X,
fraternize and buy the X.
Your enemies will never Malcolm the X.
Only we can Malcolm the X.

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