Muhammad Ali

It is rare the individual that is great in one lane, but Muhammad Ali was great in several, fighting the good fight in several areas that led to his title as ‘The Greatest’ uncontested. No matter how you came across his name, there was a unifying one that everyone could spell.

L-E-G-E-N-D.

He made us notice him when he was barely a man himself, when at only 22 years of age, the then Cassius Clay became heavyweight champion of the world against Sonny Liston. Already an Olympic Gold medalist by this time, great things were already expected of him and over the course of the next five decades his legacy expanded far beyond the boxing ring. From the African jungle to the Southeast Asia forests, Brooklyn and beyond, there was no one on the face of this earth unaware of his name. With his winning smile, cockiness, and vault of catch phrases and rhymes, it was impossible not to notice him. But it was what he did with his fame that made him a great among greats.

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Referred to in the press often as silver-tongued for his controversial comments at the time, to many people, his words and phrasing were the golden nectar that his people needed at a time when they direly needed one. Unlike today’s era, where most stars of sports and screen remain silent/dormant/inactive on important issues, Muhammad Ali was one of the leading figures of the civil rights movement, forging a path that made him a living legend for well over half his lifetime.

What makes a hero? What makes a champion, crusader, icon? If you were to throw all the ingredients necessary into a bowl, you’d instantly know that few manage to carry the recipe to distinction to the degree that Ali did. His public battles became our battles. His personal pain became ours.

Muhammad Ali
When diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he battled it like he did everything else in life – with integrity, grace, and moxie. By speaking out about the crippling disease and helping to raise millions for charities, he gave it a face and educated the world about it tirelessly.

My heart is heavy now. 2016 has been most cruel with the calling home of some of our most beloved icons. As a child, I was told by my father that Muhammad Ali was to be respected – it was an executive order and one that I didn’t entirely understand then.

But I do now.

As we currently stand in a world that celebrates mediocrity and praises inaction, do not forget that not too long ago, there were exemplary figures shaping our history for the better and Ali is a shining example of what can be accomplished with an inspired life.

Rest in peace, Muhammad.

You were ‘The Greatest’.

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Triston
Triston is an American jetset performance artist, writer, event organizer, and activist based in Europe. As a freelance journalist, he has covered both the underground and mainstream aspects of the arts, culture, music, entertainment, travel, fashion and Fashion Week in several cities, including New York, London, Berlin, Istanbul, Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Tokyo to name a few. He has been published in The Huffington Post, Trespass (London), Adaras Magazine (Miami) as well as featured in publications such as the New York Times, Vogue Italia, Turkish Huriyet and other on-line and print magazines in the U.S. and internationally. He recently released his memoir on life in Europe, 'Heaux Confessionals'. As a solo performer and with his band $kandal Du$t, he has toured in some of the world's most renowned clubs, simultaneously maintaining an underground renaissance, blurring the lines of all that is traditional and leaving his indelible, and ultimately unforgettable impression. There is no divide.

Brace yourself.


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