Father El-Nakar Allah-Ade and Mallah-Divine Mallah are members of the Five-Percent Nation of Gods and Earths, commonly known as Five Percenters, who embody the nation’s principles of ‘knowledge of self’ and divine elevation in their daily lives. The Five-Percent emerged out of the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) Black Muslim movement in the early 1960s when its founder, Clarence “13X” Smith, deduced that he himself was the almighty true and living God while studying esoteric teachings of the divinity of the original Blackman. By 1964, Smith had taken the name “Allah” and was teaching the youth of Harlem with lessons liberated from the NOI that the Blackman is God. He gave them the tools of “Supreme Mathematics” and “Supreme Alphabets,” where each number and letter has a specific meaning, as keys to unlocking the mysteries within the sciences of life, love, peace and happiness. The ultimate objective being for them to live out their fullest equality as supreme beings. Male members of the Five-Percent Nation of Gods and Earths are known as ‘Gods’ and females are known as ‘Earths.’
The concept of the Five Percenter comes from the teaching that five percent of the population know and teach that the almighty true and living God is the original Blackman. An additional ten percent of the population know this truth and conceal it from the remaining eighty-five percent so that they can keep them mentally enslaved, use them as tools and get rich off their labor. If a person is blind to their divinity, they can easily be misled into surrendering their power to “mystery gods,’ following behind whatever the powers that support this kind of god dictate instead of being ‘I self lords and masters.’
Just having ‘knowledge of self’ is not enough. Once one has this knowledge, it is essential to put it to practical use in terms of self-empowerment and self-elevation. Allah-Ade and Mallah are living proof of this understanding. Both men have elevated themselves since periods of incarceration. Allah-Ade is a fashion designer with his own line, VII Kreative Soul Art. His company and Pan-African designs embody the spirit of kujichagulia (self-determination) kuumba (creativity) and ujamaa (cooperative economics). All of his fabrics are imported directly from African nations. He is also a core member of the cultural activist society known as the Ankhsgiving Collective, which organizes events such as Kwanzaa celebrations and Pan-Africanist educational and social occasions. “Self-determination is the key here to empowerment,” says Allah-Ade.
Mallah is fond of the expression ‘when you know, you owe’ and partially pays this debt with his literary works. Prison Survival: Hell’s Prism documents his empowering journey from prisoner to college grad. The Hidden Hand: Duality of Self is described as the “first urban political street thriller.” It serves as an illustration of philosophies developed from insights of ‘empirical experiences’ gained throughout his life on the inside and out. He has worked on the #CLOSErikers campaign to shut down New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison complex and has lobbied for the Kalief Browder bill in Albany, NY. (The bill, which passed in August 2017, makes services such as vocational training, counseling, and therapy to address drug dependencies accessible to any inmate detained at Rikers for over ten days.)
In 2017, Mallah participated as a national organizer and keynote speaker at the iamWE Prison Advocacy Network’s Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C. “The purpose of the D.C. march was to galvanize disenfranchised organizations, because people came from [all over] to protest the legalization of slavery, what we call the societal 13th Amendment, that allows a lot of the things that we see to go on,” says Mallah. “A lot of people don’t recognize the impact of the 13th Amendment, so the purpose of the march was to bring that light to organizations that are already doing that work in different aspects of prison, social prison and things of that nature. I think there was never no march like this before, and this one specifically, with the prisoners’ rights issues and the 13th Amendment.”
Not all Five Percenters make practical application of their knowledge on a God level. Mallah seeks to connect with those who do. “I’m dealing with people of like minds, you know? There’s probably hundreds of thousands of Gods and Earths globally, everywhere,” says Mallah. “A lot of us don’t think the same; a lot of us don’t value the same issues… Everybody’s got to understand we all can’t be in the same pot. So, I’m just dealing with those that understand what I’m dealing with.”
Brothers such as Allah-Ade and Mallah who have experience with the prison industrial complex are in a unique position to assist others who have fallen victim to a similar path. “You’ve got to be vigilant. I think that any God, any Earth, that was actually incarcerated, they are the ones that need to be paid the special attention,” says Mallah. “The ones that haven’t been incarcerated, they’re not really gonna understand. So they’re working with empowerment and talking to people, but they’re not really gonna understand how a person feels when they’re behind the wall. But Gods that were behind the wall, they are the best advocates for people that are behind the wall, because they understand the justice system.”
Rest assured that Mallah and Allah-Ade will continue to do their part. “If everybody’s got a certain foundation, no matter what other philosophy you’re dealing with, you have those core principles that you embody. Your core principles are going to tell you how to interpret that ideology and philosophy. So when I look at knowledge, and I look at my core principles and values, it’s always going to be an ideology that I utilize,” says Mallah. “I think that everybody’s got their own reasons for doing what they’re doing and you’ve got to have a certain type of mind. I think that whoever’s qualified is qualified; whoever’s not, is not.”