A Walk with Malik

“Why don’t you come to my house?” said the seasoned, firm, inviting voice of New Orleans Living Legend Malik Rahim on the other end of the phone.

“That will be great! I’ll see you tomorrow!” A heartfelt warm sensation came across this cool January morning. I (Duncan) was elated that I would finally get to meet Malik in person.

On my way, crossing the Mississippi River to Algiers the next morning, the shifting street scenes and the turns under the highway overpass serve as reminder that the joy and pain of life is everywhere…

We are now in June, as we update the onepaycheckawaymovie.com film website, this photo image of Malik (on our home page) walking back from our visit along the Mississippi marks a momentary calm before a fury of unexpected torrents (COVID19, George Floyd protests) disrupted so many lives, not only in New Orleans, but across the whole US and reverberating worldwide.

It was eye opening to hear the narrative along the riverbank with Malik. The overcast sky set the eerie tone as he pointed out that alarming high water level in late January. Moments before, Malik was talking to me about the Common Ground Collective to combat the widespread destruction post Katrina.

The environment is a constant shadow urging us to pay attention but more often than not, we don’t…

So too is the hidden voices of community cohesion. Malik has dedicated much of his life helping ex-offenders to secure housing and he was the co-founder of “National Coalition to Free the Angola 3”—an effort to organize the release of three BlackPanthers who were convicted of prison murders and held for two decades at Angola Prison in solitary confinement.

It was Aaron Dixon, former Black Panthers Party Captain, who introduced me to Malik. The first thing that Malik said to me was: “Anyone that Aaron is cool with, I’m cool with…” as he welcomed me with open arms and sincerity to share his life experience and, SHIT YEA, I AM PAYING ATTENTION!

– Duncan Sill