Doing for Self: We are what we’re looking for!
By Rhodesia Muhammad
Doing for self was always in his DNA. Student First Officer, Patrick 2X of Muhammad’s Mosque No. 46 of the Nation of Islam in New Orleans said he filled out his first application to work when he was nine years old for his father’s janitorial company and said that was the last time he filled out a job application.
“One thing I first observed about my father was he was always someone who did for himself. He never waited for somebody to do something for him,” said Bro. Patrick 2X. “When I came up, my father was a business owner. I never saw him trying to get a job. So, that left me with no desire to be a worker in the sense of expecting somebody to give me a check on Friday. I’ve never had a job like that. Because of him, I always had the mindset that if anything was going to happen with my finances, it would be me making it happen,” he charged.
In 2015, after listening to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s message at the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March, Bro. Patrick 2X knew he had to make a move immediately.
“Going into our community and making it a decent and safe place to live was like a direct command to me from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” he affirmed. “I already had the idea to renovate blighted properties, so I decided I would start with the dilapidated properties right next door to our mosque,” he added.
Bro. Patrick 2X was 12 years old when he learned how to do carpentry work from a contractor who was building a house for his father. He said he always loved seeing things come together, so he followed in his father footsteps and started his own business called Supreme Developers. It encompassed new construction, renovation, janitorial services, labor support services, industrial services, and maintenance.
“I guess all of us to a certain degree have this problem where we look for other people to do things. That is the mindset of a slave,” he asserted. “At a certain point, it dawned on me that I’m the person that I’m looking for to do this.”
He also wanted to get into Real Estate, so in 2001, Bro. Patrick2X and his wife Keione X got married and purchased their first home. When they moved out, they decided to renovate and rent it out. It became their first rental property. A few years later, they did the same thing with the next home they bought. Soon, they were buying properties, fixing them up, and selling them. Eventually, they started Supreme Investment Group to separate the Real Estate side from the service side of their business.
“It pained me to see other areas in the city growing and blossoming after Hurricane Katrina and see our areas not flourishing. I felt like the areas where Black people lived was being neglected. I guess all of us to a certain degree have this problem where we look for other people to do things. That is the mindset of a slave,” he asserted. “At a certain point, it dawned on me that I’m the person that I’m looking for to do this.”
Initially, he said he reached out to make it a group effort, but people didn’t see the vision the way he saw it. So, instead of letting that hinder him he decided to move forward in hopes everyone else would catch on and follow.
“But as far as developing and renovating property in our own community and taking blighted property and transforming it into something nice, I told myself I will take the lead on this. And that’s what I did,” he said proudly. “I started with the properties directly next to the mosque. Those properties had been through so many hands and they had become deplorable. I purchased them for more than what they were worth because I felt like we had to have them.”
We put a lot of money into them like it was in one of those upscale communities uptown, he said. We took those houses down to nothing because they had termite damage and water damage and we brought it all the way back.
Now, in 2018, they have nine units next to the mosque. It’s two duplexes and a five plex. With the purchase of those units, Bro. Patrick 2X says, it comprises a whole square block. So now, the Muslims own a whole square block in the community. A square block is from street to street. The Nation of Islam flag can be seen flying on one of the properties in the community.
Four Believers in the NOI are living in four of the units and three people from the community are occupying the other three units. Two units were turned into commercial units, one is a management office and the other unit is occupied by a sister from the community who just opened a beauty salon. Some of the units are handicap accessible.
“I made sure the houses were very affordable. I actually brought the prices down so that believers or anyone in our community could afford it. I fix it up to the max. Sometimes I go over budget in fixing up the properties because I wouldn’t put someone in a property I wouldn’t live in myself,” he admitted. “I also wanted to put more money into the homes because what I found was that when property and neighborhoods look deplorable, crime exist more. So, the more we beautify the neighborhood, the less crime we’ll have and the less traffic.”
“To be successful in this business, you can’t be a slumlord,” he stated adamantly. “Those type of landlords always have something breaking, or have mold, or mildew smells and they’re looking for quick money. When you don’t put a lot into the property, what you give out is what you attract. So now, you have this property that’s not up to par and the tenants that are looking at the property are not up to par.”
“The buildings were dilapidated and pretty much in need of demolition,” said Jason Muhammad, Student Captain of Mosque No. 46. “They were an eyesore and a danger to the youth in the community because of the unstable structure and potential for injury for anyone entering. Bro. Patrick gutted these buildings to the studs and revitalized what was once a nuisance to the neighborhood, into a safe place for individuals to live and an income producing property for his business and the city’s tax infrastructure.”
“In the future, I see Black people as a unit,” Bro. Patrick 2X stated, “taking over our portion of the city and establishing our own government inside of the city separate of the present establishment that is not beneficial to our condition as black people. I see us not talking about changing it, but buying up a major portion of it, particularly the area we’re being pushed and forced to, which is known as New Orleans east, the area that’s considered the poor part of the city,” he declared.
Student Minister Willie Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No.46 says Bro. Patrick 2X is an inspiration to him and others in and outside the mosque.
“He’s committed to his family and the Mission. One of the things I admire about him,” says Student Min.Willie, “is that he did not have to be prompted to use his knowledge of housing rehabilitation to help execute what the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has expressed to see. I know the Minister would be proud.”
But for anyone, Bro. Patrick 2X says, who desires to do for self has to re-educate themselves to not think like slaves. We can’t have the mindset that the only way we’re going to make it is if someone’s providing for us, when God already gave us everything that we need to provide for ourselves.
“We are what we’re looking for,” he reiterated. “We’re the ones that got to get it done. Nobody’s stopping us from creating our own business. We have this thought that someone else is going to do it for us and in the NOI we know this as the spook God theory. Why didn’t somebody do something is the mindset we were raised under as slaves because we didn’t have to provide these services for ourselves. The slave masters provided it. And unfortunately, we still have that mindset today. We have to do this for ourselves,” he concluded.