Yusuf Bey (born Joseph Stephens, December 21, 1935 - September 30, 2003) was the founder of the now-closed Your Black Muslim Bakery (Uptown and North Oakland locations). As a response to gentrification, he once urged blacks not to sell their homes "but if you have to sell it to other Blacks".

Bey was born Joseph Stephens in Greenville, Texas in 1935. In the early 1950s, his family moved to Oakland, where Bey was a graduate of Oakland Tech. Bey converted to Islam in 1964, and for a time went by the name Capt. Joseph X. He founded a bakery in Santa Barbara in 1968, then moved it to Oakland and renamed it Your Black Muslim Bakery.

In the 1980s, Bey's hour-long sermons were broadcast on Soul Beat television under the name True Solutions. Bey also promoted his bakery, and while he spoke of the need for economic self-reliance and self-knowledge for blacks, he also pushed the racially-charged idea of the "Original Man". 1

In 1994, Bey ran for mayor of Oakland against incumbent Elihu Harris, but was soundly defeated receiving only 5% of the vote. Bey had numerous detractors including the East Bay Express, who accused Bey of cultism and corruption. Bey's son Akbar Bey was shot and killed by a drug dealer outside the then-closed Omni nightclub.

Bey was charged with numerous counts in 2002, including rape, abuse and coercion, including sex with underage girls. There was said to be DNA evidence proving Bey was the father of a child with a pre-teen. Bey died of cancer September 30, 2003 before the case went to trial.

The book Killing the Messenger by Thomas Poole explains Yusef Bey and the founding of his version of Black Nationalism in detail.

In 2007, Bey's son Yusuf Bey IV was convicted of the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey, who was investigating Your Black Muslim Bakery.

Links and References

  1. Yusuf Bey on Wikipedia