Malcolm Xavier Combs— who was told he wasn’t allowed to have his legal name printed on his senior sweatshirt because Malcolm X “is not someone he should want to be associated with”—met the civil rights figure’s daughter on Saturday. Ilyasah Shabazz met the teen at the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem, and gifted Combs with a black “X Legacy” t-shirt as a reparative gesture.
“I’m probably going to frame that,” the 17-year-old Christ the King High School student said. “I like it so much.”
As previously reported, Combs was recently pulled from class by white school official Veronica Artibello, who informed him that his request to have “Malcolm X” printed on his senior year sweatshirt had been denied. To add to the absurdity, she and her husband, Joe Artibello—who happens to be the school’s basketball coach—later laughed at his name when Veronica introduced him to Joe as “the new Malcolm X.”
“They had no issue with Malcolm E. or Malcolm D., but that one letter in the alphabet has set off a firestorm,” Combs’ mother, Mychelle, told the New York Daily News.
Reverend Al Sharpton has reportedly vowed to demonstrate if the school does not reverse that decision and change its policy.
“This is absurd that in 2018 we have to teach school administration how to be culturally sensitive,” Rev. Kevin McCall, crisis director for NAN, said last week. “In the spirit of Malcolm X, we are calling [for] cultural inclusion events with this school administration so that they can understand what it means to be Black in America.”
Combs’ mother added: “I’m asking for a legacy for the African-American students who come in after my son, so they won’t be ridiculed for their culture,” she said. “Malcolm X not only represented African Americans, he also represented Muslims. I wonder if she has a problem with them as well.”