Friday, July 21, 2000
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Collins' peers question his actions on TV show

Eye of 'Big Brother' off Philly native


by Terry Wynn II
Daily News Staff Writer

 It was a message of both reprimand and forgiveness.

William Collins, the glib, superconfident Philadelphian who was voted off TV's "reality" program "Big Brother," last night, is in danger of losing his "ghetto pass," black radical Khalid Abdul Muhammad said here yesterday.

Collins, 27, also known as Hiram Ashantee, was a follower of Muhammad and served as a national field marshal for the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

At a press conference in Muhammad's Mosque, 63rd Street and Lansdowne Avenue, Muhammad listed incidents involving Collins on the "Big Brother" show that Muhammad said he and his followers had found "questionable," mostly involving Collins' interaction with white women.

But Muhammad, who refers to whites as "devils" and is so radical that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan kicked him out of the movement for anti-Semitic remarks, said that Collins was welcome to return to the fold and that he wanted to hear from him.

"We pray you can clear all of this up for us, once you return home to us," Muhammad said, addressing the absent Collins.

"It is our sincere hope and prayer that what we have seen on the television screen, the so-called reality show 'Big Brother,' is just a good job of acting by our brother," Muhammad said.

"If it has indeed been a good job of acting - improvisation - then some would go beyond that and say that he is a brilliant performer. He is a good young actor."

But, Muhammad had words of warning.

"We are gathered here today because we don't want our brother, Brother Hiram Ashantee, slave named William Collins, to have his ghetto pass revoked. We don't want him to lose his ghetto pass."

Muhammad said that Collins' "questionable" behavior included complementing a white woman, feeling a white woman's buttocks, appearing "semi-nude" in a bathroom with a fully clothed white woman, and making negative comments about the red, black and green Black Power flag.

"Big Brother" has 10 contestants, male and female, black and white, spending three months in a house, their every movement videotaped. The survivor wins $500,000.

The handsome, muscular Collins put himself forward as brash and outspoken, which apparently annoyed viewers, who have the power to vote members of the household off the show.

But Muhammad said his movement was forgiving.

"The door of the black house is still open," he said.

If Collins returns to the movement, Muhammad said he hoped to "replace the feeling and the groping with some prayer and some hoping."

Outside the mosque, Amina Phillips, 28, of Upper Darby, said she knew Collins would be the first to get kicked out because he was "really vocal and he spoke what was on his mind."

She said that white people "look at it as us being rebellious or going against the grain, but that's just how we speak. We speak our mind and we say it in a way that white people just aren't used to hearing."

Phillips applauded Collins for being outspoken.

"We always voice our opinion in way that white people are not used to," she said.

"They are always threatened or scared by it."

Phillips and her friend, Kerreen Brooker, said they see the "Big Brother" show as sending a message to black people that if you don't act the way white people want you to act, they will get rid of you.

"The point is to convert us," said Kerreen, 23, of South Philadelphia.


Send e-mail to wynn2t@phillynews.com

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