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EUR Video Flashback: Watch Tense Exchange Between Muhammad Ali and Sly Stone Over Reparations & More!

*The name Muhammad Ali is synonymous with confidence and candor. This 1974 clip of “The Mike Douglas Show” illustrates just how Ali earned that reputation. The video gives us a rare glimpse of Sly Stone, of Sly and The Family Stone, expressing his thoughts on race relations and politics.

The video opens with Mike Douglas asking Ali whether his wife is ever concerned for his safety in the ring. It’s not a conversation that builds, but this one question leads right into Ali sharing his personal religious beliefs and views on race relations.

Ali claims he’d be more afraid of piloting a plane than getting in the ring, but says that when others spot him on their flight that it immediately alleviates their fears and they view his presence as a divine sign that they will be safe. “The wise ones,” (believe this) says Ali.

In true Ali fashion, he is outspoken about his stance on racial relations, drawing a clear divide between blacks and whites referring to the caucasian panelist as “you people” when the panel is later joined by Ohio Democratic Congressman Wayne L. Hayes.

Sly, who remained relatively quiet, was quick to speak up when Ali stated that he would never be a politician because he wouldn’t want to have the “white’s man flag hanging over” him. Sly abruptly interjects “No, you don’t,” then goes on to share his plan to change the color of the American flag.

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sly stone & muhammad ali1 - screenshot
Sly Stone and Muhammad Ali

It’s a delight to see such an exchange between two highly respected, legendary African American figures.

Ali remains steadfast in his backing of the black community. He is clearly what many today would consider as being “woke.” Throughout his career, Ali openly used his platform to discuss the issues that have plagued the Black community and strived to create an open dialogue toward solutions. We see Ali in a way that is sincere, authentic, and raw; staying true to the persona that he is widely known for.

Sly evidently plays the role of the peacekeeper in this clip. Throughout the interview, Sly didn’t have much to say but chimes in with support of Ali with the occasional, “Right on, brother,” although he didn’t completely agree with all of Ali’s views.

This piece gives a glimpse of classic, prominent figures in African American history in a way that we don’t see too often. We hear great stories about Ali and Sly Stone, but it’s rare that we get to hear their views from their own mouths, which is what makes videos like this are so important.

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