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Khalilah Ali, a Remarkable Journey

Khalilah Ali, a Remarkable Journey

 

 

Introduction to Khalilah Ali.  1:31 min.  Photo & design:  Raymond Elman.

 

In the Spring of 2018, photographer Robert Zuckerman introduced me to Khalilah Ali, the first wife (1967-77) of Muhammad Ali.  Born Belinda Boyd (1950), Khalilah Ali was raised in Chicago where she attended Islamic schools. Her parents were members of the Nation of Islam.

Boyd married Muhammad Ali on August 18, 1967, at the age of 17. After their marriage, she changed her name to Khalilah Ali.

When Ali’s avoidance of the military draft during the Vietnam War cost him his boxing title in 1967 (a decision later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court), Khalilah supported Muhammad emotionally and financially.

During their 10-year marriage, the couple had four children, Maryum “May May” (b.1968), twins Jamillah and Rasheda (b.1970), and Muhammad Ali Jr. (b.1972).

Khalilah Ali studied acting with Lee Strasberg, and appeared in The China Syndrome (1979), What America Looks Like (2017) and Muhammad Ali: A Life (2016).

During her remarkable life, most especially while married to Muhammad Ali, Khalilah Ali met and engaged with some of the most creative people of her time.

The videos below are organized by topic and run between 30 seconds to 11 minutes. Click on any video. You must be connected to the Internet to view the videos.

 

 

EXPOSURE TO BROAD INFLUENCES: 4:04 min.

Describe your experience visiting and staying at the Hampton House hotel, when Miami Beach was still segregated.

 

INSIGHT & INSPIRATION:   8:00 min.

How did you meet Muhammad Ali?

 

CREATES A UNIQUE PERSONAL BRAND:  1:54 min.

Award-winning poets have said that the greatest haiku of all time was Muhammad Ali’s “Me? Whee!”

 

SELF-CONFIDENCE:  1:40 min.

How did Cassius Clay change his name to Muhammad Ali?

 

OVERCOMES CHALLENGES TO SUCCEED:  3:56 min.

There was an uproar and backlash when Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali. What was the experience like for you?

 

UNDERSTANDS THE BUSINESS OF ART:  3:05 min.

Was Muhammad Ali friends with any of his opponents, or did he become friends later in life?

 

COLLABORATION: 0:59 sec.

What did you think of Howard Cosell?

 

DEVELOPS A VOICE:   3:47 min.

What was it like for you to grow up as a Muslim in Chicago?

 

EMPATHY:  4:01 min.

How did his mother react when Muhammad Ali converted to Islam?

 

SEIZES OPPORTUNITIES:  10:40 min.

You were in the hit movie “China Syndrome.” How did that happen?

 

INSIGHT & INSPIRATION:  4:26 min.

Describe your experience working in “China Syndrome.”

 

SERENDIPITY:  0:45 sec.

After you filmed “China Syndrome” did you get the acting bug?

 

EXPOSURE TO BROAD INFLUENCES:  3:53 min.

You had the great fortune to meet some of the most impressive people in the world.

 

EMPATHY:  4:53 min.

Talk about your biography.