Shabazz L. Graham
Hi, my name is Shabazz L. Graham. The ‘L’ stands for 'Lalumba', a word that means something I am completely oblivious to. 🤷🏽♂️
When I first heard that this was my middle name (in my teens) I thought it was a joke 😳, but when I asked my mother; Shirley May Graham (God rest her soul), what it meant, she simply said, in verbose Jamaican patois, “Lalumba is the name of a famous African leader, you should be proud!”.
Hearing that did comfort me (a little 👀). To know I was named after someone ‘great’ felt... ‘great’, but over time, despite much research and enquiry as to who exactly this ‘famous African leader’ was, I finally arrived at the conclusion that my mother, God bless her soul, must have spelt my middle name incorrectly 😣.
I believe now that I was supposed to have been named after the late great Congolese independence leader, Patrice Lumumba (1925 - 1961), but for all my late mother’s many gifts, spelling wasn’t her strongest. So I think I was sadly named incorrectly (I might one day be proven wrong)
So “Should I change my name?”, I’ve often thought to myself. No, I’ve decided that some mistakes are innocent and keep us closer to the people who made them.
I wouldn’t have even mentioned my mother's name in this blog post had I not have told you that short anecdote. So being able to share my precious mother with you briefly in this way, in a unique way, almost ‘justifies’ (to me at least) the reason behind me keeping 'Lalumba' as my middle name, even though I’m convinced it’s a misspelt word. Anyhoo time will tell I guess :)
I was named 'Shabazz' after another late great leader, Mr Malcolm Little, better known and loved as Malcolm X (1925 - 1965). He became known as Malik el-Shabazz, following his Hajj to Mecca, towards the end of his very short-lived, yet ever so meaningful life.
So to be connected to both Patrice Lumumba and Malcolm X by name makes me feel like I have a lot to live up to.
I’m 45 at the time of starting this blog (the same age Malcolm X was when he was sadly killed). It literally dawned on me this morning, Tuesday the 27th of April 2021, whilst jogging, that I’m making some of the biggest meaningful changes I’ve ever made in my life and career, and one of the most important changes I’m making is that I’m stepping out more than I ever have before to become a ‘Professional Writer’; someone who doesn't just occasionally doodle in my iPhone Notes App (my most treasured note pad ever 🙌 ) but I’m now writing every single day; a novel about David and Goliath, a TV series about a superhero who wants to rid the world of 'racism', and many other things which are important to me, that I hope will one day be important to others; things that might one-day help or motivate people to make meaningful change.
Sooooooooooo I thought 🤔, “Maybe I should start writing a blog”. So here it is, I’ve started! Welcome to my ShaBoom Blog!💥
Why ShaBoom? Well, I guess it was the first name that popped into my head this morning🤷🏽♂️. With a name like Shabazz I've had a lot of great banter and nicknames shared around my first name, one of my favourites has been, "ShaBoom".
I like to think that, like that old adage, “If a tree falls in a forest but nobody is around to hear it, does it make any sound?”. I muse that when I was born, on a Tuesday back in 1975, on the first of July, an unheard sound rang out around the world. That sound was ‘Shaboom’; meaning (In Shabenglish) ‘He’s arrived. And one day, hopefully, a distant day in the future, when I breathe my last breath, another ‘ShaBoom’ will ring out from the heavens to commemorate my arrival there. 😁 (Listen out for it :)
So what will I write about in this blog? Apart from sharing some snippets from my novel and scripts (maybe) and journaling about my writing career, I'll be sharing some of the insights I'm learning from my tech startup, and reflecting on insights shared with me from some of the renowned thought leaders I have the honour of working alongside. On top of that, I guess I will also muse and philosophize about social issues near and dear to my heart, whilst sharing some of my life journey; past present and future.
I’ve been told that I’m a bit of a "disruptive thinker" (whatever that actually is), so in me sharing my disruptive thoughts I guess I should say, prepare to be disrupted (maybe?🤔).
If you are disrupted, and/or offended, please can I ask one thing of you, that you stay with me, at least a little longer? A significant moment in my life was 26 years ago when I was starting off in the TV industry. I had what I thought was a quite impressive showreel, which in truth was basically a mass of poorly shot snippets and clips from the many weddings parties and ‘documentaries’ I had 'shot'. I showed it to many friends and family members and they sang my praise (humouring me 🤦♂️), but one day I decided to show it to the man I would come to call my first mentor; a Director from the BBC called William Hicklin, and his reaction changed my life. Without saying a word he looked at me with wise eyes that informed me of my misconception; my showreel was dreadful, he knew it, and by seeing it through his eyes, I knew it too. This was my first lesson in eating humble pie. The humble pie tasted bitter at first, as I was offended and felt a little humiliated, but the pie changed from bitter to sweet, as I slowly came round to learn how to improve my work like I now work to improve my insight and argument.
At the time, my self-confidence needed to be disrupted in order for me to grow stronger and for me to get better at what I did. Offence at times can be a position we choose to remain in rather than one we learn from and move on from.
I share that story to say, I might not be ‘right’ about everything I ‘write‘ about in this blog moving forward, but please do deeply consider some of the things I will be transparent about; especially things I hypothesise and theorise about. And please try to discern and understand the heart from which I share some of the things in this blog, rather than stone me with rocks made out of ill-conceived preconceptions. Some of our preconceptions, like my showreel, might not be as right or as true as we might think.
I look forward to sharing my heart and learning from any feedback I might be honoured to have from you 🙏.
Welcome to, ShaBoom :)
Shabazz L. Graham