“…I said that even before I knew I was.”
I am usually not affected by celebrity deaths. We come, we go. It is the fact of life. However, I would like to take the time to write about of the greatest icons to grace the earth during my lifetime. I am thankful that I could share this space in time with such an inspirational energy.
I appreciate athletes who use their platform to stand for a cause. I love that athletes can, with determination, perseverance, and confidence, train their physical bodies to do extraordinary feats. This is why they are idolized. I get it. Talent is a gift not many people find within themselves.
I grew up in a place that did not share my parent’s culture. So I had to create one at an early age. In school, Muhammad Ali was the only Muslim name we learned about. He made it okay to be a Muslim in America. He also shared my father’s name, so it was extra cool. I remember watching news clips of his boxing in documentaries. I remember watching him on TV during the Olympics as he lit the torch.
Thousands of people went to his funeral and thousands more watched from home. Many young people learned of his extraordinary life for the first time. Many people are learning about Islam for the first time as well.
Muhammad Ali was fierce. He was a fighter. He stood up for what he believed was just, and did not back down. He refused to compromise his morals and rejected the Vietnam War draft, which put his career on the line. He was bold and confident; he used his fame to fight for social justice during the Civil Rights Movement. I admire him for all he has done outside of the limelight.
He was truly a legend. May he rest in peace.
“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”
*Photo was taken from BuzzFeed Video‘s Facebook page*