Swipe For Song “Free the Land,” another song on A Grain of Sand, was written by Chris for the Republic of New Africa. Nobuko Miyamoto participating in Republic of New Africa demonstration at the United Nations, New York
This organization established by a group of Malcolm X’s associates after his 1965 assassination, was the first group to call for slavery reparations—in particular in the form of an all-Black homeland in the southern states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Atallah Muhammad Ayubbi and Dr. Mutulu Shakur, both Republic of New Africa members, performed on A Grain of Sand. Atallah worked in the Black and Puerto Rican communities in the Bronx where he grew up. He was also a conguero and sometimes accompanied the group in live performances. Dr. Mutulu Shakur, who is the godfather of Nobuko and Atallah’s son, provided background vocals on the album.
He often played the album at home, and his stepson, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, grew up listening and singing along to it. Of this time in the early 1970s, Nobuko recalls, “It was like jumping into the pool of revolution…. Every day there was organizing going on at many different levels. It was powerful. You see something wrong, you have an idea how to fix it, you put it into practice.” And about this period living on the Upper West Side, she says, “that was the first time I ever felt like I was part of a community. You would walk down the street and see people you knew, and they would ask if you were going to be at such-and-such event and could you bring food or perform. It was a dynamic moment. We were crossing borderlines, and the music helped us to do that.” #RepublicofNewAfrika