Remembering Legendary Radio Host Bob Slade – Your Black World

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By Bashir Akinyele

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (Arabic: إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ‎) is a part of a verse from the Qur’an which translates to “We belong to Allah (God) and to Allah (God) we shall return.”

It is with a sad spirit that I write this commentary!

My good friend Bob Slade, the former news director for 98.7 KISS FM radio and the founder of the great Openline FM community radio talk show on the current 107.5  WBLS FM radio station in New York City, passed away last Sunday morning. Originally, brother Slade’s started the show in 1989 on the defunct KISS FM to create a forum for Black and minority issues.

I got to know this brother while organizing against the  pandemic disease of senseless violence plaguing Black, Latino, and poor communities  of Newark, NJ back in the early 2000’s. At that time, I felt that the problems facing Black people, and other oppressed groups, were being ignored by New York news media.

I then began to email brother Slade everyday my news reports about the ignored rampant shootings, killings, senseless violence, and high crime rates going on in Newark under former Mayor Cory Booker. I emailed this brother so much about what was going on daily in the city of Newark that brother Slade gave me the nickname brother Email. Occasionally, brother Slade would quote me on air while hosting his Openline show on Sundays.

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Eventually, he and I would finally meet in person on his show at KISS FM’s radio station in New York city. While I was a guest of my good friend James Mtume to discuss senseless violence  in Newark’s Black and Brown communities, I got to know the legendary Bob Slade. Off air,  I would plead with brother Mtume and brother Slade to get Openline involved in our struggle in New Jersey to stop the violence

(Brother Mtume is a world renowned music producer and one of the most respected  community activist in African American community. He is best known in the Hip Hop world as the creator of the song ‘Juicy Fruit’, which was sampled by Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs for Rap artist Christopher ‘Biggie Smalls’ Wallace’s 1994’s hit Juicy).

It was during these times that Brother Slade’s spirit and his commitment to Black liberation were moved to intervene in Newark’s Black and Brown communities to help find some solutions to put end to the violence.

With my brother, and  co-host of the Openline radio show, James Mtume leading the way,  brother  Fatyin Muhammad-the Executive Producer of the Openline radio show, brother Bob Slade-the Creator of the Openline radio show, brother Bob Pickett-Co-host of the Openline radio show, brother Ras Baraka- the Founder of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition (NAVC), sister Fredrica Bey-Founder of the Women In Support of the Million Man March, the members of Mighty Newark Anti-Violence Coalition (NAVC), brother David Muhammad-a Co-Founder of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, brother Delacy Davis-a Co-Founder of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, and I-a Co-Founder of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, all agreed to work together to convene a  massive Emergency Town Hall meeting to discuss solutions to stopping senseless violence in Newark, NJ in the winter of 2011 at the Women In Support of the Million Man March (WISOMMM) African American Cultural Center on James Street in downtown Newark.

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Our choosen community key note speakers were the National Action Network’s the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s National Assistant Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad. We invited various respected community organizations and community leaders from Newark to co-sponsor the  event.  Although a major blizzard blanketed the city with heavy snow, over 5000 people came to the program to offer solutions of peace and healing in the streets on that Friday night.

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After the success of the anti-violence program, brother Slade would eventually ask me many more times to come on the Openline show as a guest to give perspective on issues affecting Black people and oppressed people in Newark and in America.

Alhamdulillah rabbil al’aameen (Praised Be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds) for allowing me to meet an awesome Blackman. Brother Slade is gone now, but he will not be forgotten for his love for Black people and Black liberation. His show, which is still on air today, has cemented itself in the annals of Black progressive media as a place for oppressed Black and Brown people to debate, discuss, and find intelligent solutions to problems facing people of color in America. Ma’shallah (It is the will of God), I will miss you much old friend. May Allah (SWT) forgive you of your sins and grant you paradise. Aameen

As Salaamu Alaykum!
(May Peace Be Upon You)!

Bashir Muhammad Akinyele
-Community Activist
-Radio Show Producer / Radio Show Talk Show Host

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