With his father lying in a hospital bed, Hasan Salaam takes some time out to get some things off his chest in the DopeHouse premiere of his “Father’s Day” video. Holding nothing back, the New Jersey native airs out his grievances and touches on the pain he endured growing up with a quasi-racist absentee father–including a time when he came across one of his pornographic magazines that depicted Ku Klux Klan members raping a black woman.
My father gave me this 6 month old magazine he ripped from a doctors office for my bornday after calling me on the wrong day. There have been years he missed it all together. Anyone with a family member dealing with substance abuse issues knows the in and out nature of these relationships. Funny thing is in some warped and twisted way, this liberated ESPN The Magazine with whoever’s real address missing from the bottom left corner is a microcosm of my interaction with my pops. Nothing has ever been right with it, except boxing. Ironically fighting is the only thing we can talk about without fighting and is the only practical thing he has ever taught me. I learned to fight as a kid while he was fighting for his sobriety. He would pick me up, put me on the chair and tell me to put my hands up to defend myself. He would use his palms as mitts and call out “jab, jab, cross” “jab, cross, left hook.”
I learned the natural counters for each punch and how to use footwork to evade my opponents attacks. I had gotten away from training for years especially when our interactions were limited and then non-existent. There were unresolved issues that boxing couldn’t solve unless we stepped into the ring with each other.
“It’s just like riding a bike, once you know it, you know it”, he told me. I had just caught an assault charge in Ft. Collins Colorado after landing a punch only he would appreciate. I walked into a bar with a few friends and was called a nigger by one of the patrons, who proceeded to take a swing at me. I slipped it and landed a right clean across his jaw, no need for a combination, goodnight. The charges wound up being dropped by the state mostly because the dude woke up spitting blood on EMT workers and was on record telling them “I’m gonna kill a nigger tonight”. Proving self defense wasn’t a problem. Sitting here reading this magazine with a history of hand wraps, corner cut man techniques and behind the scenes information on Floyd Mayweather and his tumultuous relationship with his father, it all comes together. We as human beings are naturally flawed, but if you can find some way to connect with family, do it. It’s worth fighting for. We sat down, had a meal and spoke about old fighters, recent match ups and how I’m going to train people at Body Altitudes using some of the techniques he taught me as a child. The discussion left the ring, we fought and went our separate ways.
The song and much more can be found on Hasan’s Life In Black & White LP, released today on Immortal Technique’s Viper Records.