“AT HOME WITH MUHAMMAD ALI”

Encore: November 19, 2020

In the boxing ring, Muhammad Ali floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. But what was he like when the gloves came off? His daughter, Hana Ali, shares the intimate side of growing up with “The Greatest.”

Aired on June 26, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

ATHLETES, ACTIVIST, ICON, THE GREATEST.

FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION MUHAMMAD ALI WAS ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

FROM HIS CHILD IN THE SEGREGATED SOUTH TO HIS FINAL FIGHT WITH PARKINSON'S DISEASE, MUHAMMAD ALI NEVER BACKS DOWN.

BANNED FROM BOXING DURING HIS PRIME BECAUSE HE REFUSED TO FIGHT IN VIETNAM, HE BECAME A SYMBOL OF THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT AND DEFENDER OF CIVIL RIGHTS.

AS THE GREATEST, HE WAS A BOXER OF ENDUNABLE TALENT AND CURRENTLY AND IN THE RICK, ONLY ALI COULD FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY AND STING LIKE A BEE.

BUT WHAT WAS ALI LIKE AT HOME AS A FATHER, AND A HUSBAND?

THE ANSWERS CAN BE POUND IN THE NEW BOOK 'AT MEAUX WITH HUMT ALI, A MEMOIR OF LOVE, LOSS AND FORGIVENESS,' WRITTEN BY HIS THIRD YOUNGEST CHILD HANAYALI.

BASED ON 80 HOURS OF RECORDING ISSINGS HE LEFT FOR HIS DAUGHTER.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

SO THIS IS REALLY AN AMAZING COLLECTION OF STORIES THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO TELL ABOUT YOUR FATHER AND I JUST WANT TO ASK YOU, WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO DO THIS BOOK.

OH, MY GOSH.

I HAD A FEW.

THERE WAS A SITUATION WITH MY FATHER BEING I ALWAYS SAY HE BELONGED TO THE WORLD.

PEOPLE LOVE HIM AND SHARING SO MANY STORIES ABOUT HIM AND ASKING A LOT OF QUESTIONS, A QUESTION THAT WE GET THE MOST IS WHAT WAS HE LIKE AT HOME AS A FATHER?

WAS HE REALLY THAT BOASTFUL AND BRAGGADOCIOS?

SO I WANTED TO SHARE THAT SIDE OF MY FATHER WITH THE WORLD.

I WANTED TO SHARE A LOT OF STUFF I WAS LEARNING AS I WAS LISTENING TO THE AUDIO RECORDINGS HE MADE IN THE '70s.

I LEARNED' LOT FROM THOSE.

I WANTED TO SHARE THAT INFORMATION.

I WANTED TO SHARE MY MOTHER'S STORY AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP AND MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY FATHER.

SO WHILE THIS IS A BOOK, OBVIOUSLY WE WEREN'T WRNT AREN'T GOING TO HEAR RECORDINGS.

THERE ARE TRANSCRIPTS IN THERE.

RIGHT.

WHAT WAS SO INTERESTING THAT WOULD FIT WITH THE CHARACTER HE HAD THE FORESIGHT TO MAKE SOME OF THESE AUDIO RECORDINGS, THAT HE THOUGHT THAT YOU KNOW, IT'S IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT SOME OF THESE ARE PRESERVED FOR TIME.

YEAH, SEE, MY FATHER, PEOPLE DON'T'S THIS BUT IN HIS MIND HIS GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT WAS BEING A FATHER.

HE LOVED BEING A FATHER.

HE USED TO SAY HE'S THE DADDY TO THE WORLD.

HE JUST DIDN'T WANT TO BE OUR FATHER BUT THE WORLD'S FATHER.

HE WAS A HOME BODY.

HE LOVED BEING AT HOME.

HE COULD SIT IN HIS OFFICE FOR HOURS AND BE HAPPY ON THE PHONE TALKING.

FLEETING MOMENTS WE TOOK FOR GRANTED TOUCHED HIM AND HE WANTED TO PRESERVE THAT.

HE'S TELLING ME CONSTANTLY THROUGH THE TAPES AND TELLING US ALL, YOU'RE GOING TO BE SO GLAD I THOUGHT OF THIS.

I'M SO HAPPY I'M HISTORY CONSCIOUS.

IT'S SO GOOD I PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE.

WE ALL WISH WE HAD TAPES WHEN WE WERE YOUNG SO I'M DOING THIS BECAUSE I LOVE YOU AND LIFE IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND SO SHORT.

AND HE JUST WANTED TO CAPTURE THOSE MOMENTS THAT WERE GOING TO PASS.

I WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT FOR THE AUDIENCE 0 HEAR ONE OF THEM.

IT'S YOU AND YOUR DAD SINGING 'THIS IS DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE.'

I LOVE THIS ONE.

THIS THING ON?

SINGING LESSONS.

READY?

YES.

♪ THIS IS DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE ♪ ♪ EACH NIGHT BEFORE YOU GO TO BED MY BABY ♪

SO ONE OF THE THINGS I FIND SO INTERESTING IS OFTENTIMES WHAT LITTLE THE PUBLIC KNOWS PARTICULARLY ABOUT A SPORTS FIGURE IS WHAT WE READ THROUGH SPORTS PRESS.

AND WAS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS WAS A CHANCE TO ACTUALLY SHOW THE HUMAN BEING BEHIND THE IN SOME WAYS THE MAN THAT YOUR FATHER WAS BUT ALSO SOMEWHAT OF THE CHARACTER HE WAS PLAYING FOR THE PRESS?

YES, BECAUSE MY FATHER HE'S ALWAYS BEEN OUTGOING AND HE WAS REALLY GREAT AT MARKETING.

HE KNEW HOW TO MARKET HIMSELF AND SELL TICKETS.

HE WAS ALSO TRYING TO PROMOTE BLACK LOVE FOR SELF-PRIDE SAYING I AM THE GREATEST.

HE WAS VERY HUMBLE.

UP TILL HIS LAST DAYS, DO PEOPLE STILL REMEMBER ME?

HE WAS EXCITED TO KNOW HE WAS STILL MAKING NEWS.

I SAID ARE YOU KIDDING MOO?

YES, THEY REMEMBER YOU.

IT WAS GENUINE.

HE KNEW THAT HE WAS GREAT.

BUT HE ALSO NEVER TOOK IT FOR GRANTED AND HE WAS ALSO VERY HUMBLED BY IT AND HE NEEDED PEOPLE'S LOVE AND ATTENTION LIKE HE NEEDED AIR TO BREATHE AND HE GAVE THE LOVE RIGHT BACK TEN FOLD.

OUR DOOR WAS ALWAYS OPEN.

TAFS NORMAL OCCURRENCE TO FIND HOMELESS FAMILIES THERE, FOR HIM TO PUT THEM IN THE BACK OF THE CAR.

WE WERE EATING AND HE SAW SOMEONE REFUSED SERVICE, HE BROUGHT THEM IN AND THEY ATE WITH US.

HOPELESS PEOPLE SLEEPING ON THE STREETS AND HADN'T HAD A BATH IN GOD KNOWS HOW LONG.

HE NEVER MADE A FACE AT THEM.

HE HUGGED THEM.

SO.

WOW.

I MEAN, I KNOW THIS IS LIKE GRAPHIC.

EVEN AS A LITTLE GIRL, HE MADE ME FEEL SO LOVED I WOULD BE 5, 6 YEARS OLD, ME IN THE BED AND HE WOULD LAY DOWN THERE HUGGING ME AND THAT'S A BIG DEAL.

YOU FELT SO LOVED.

SO I MEAN, NEVER -- THERE WAS NEVER A TIME WHEN HE WOULD SEND YOU WEIGH OR PUT YOU OUT.

I WAS AN ANNOYING LITTLE GIRL.

SOME OF THOSE TAPES I'M BEGGING HIM, HE'S ON THE PHONE TALKING ABOUT FREEING WHO IS TANGS IN IRAN.

I WANT TOFFEE, DADDY.

PLEASE BE QUITE.

YOU HAVE MY HOUSEKEEPER CHIMING IN, HEY, MUHAMMAD, YOU WANT ME TOTE GET HER OUT OF THERE?

LET ME NOPE IF SHE'S YOUR WAY.

DOESN'T CALL HER.

HE STILL JUMPS.

GIVE ME TOFFEE, DADDY.

HE NEVER SENT ME AWAY.

I HAD THAT FEELING AND THE TAPES VALIDATED IT.

NOW I HAD THE EVIDENCE.

THAT'S WHY I KNEW IT.

THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS BECAUSE SO MUCH OF THE BOOK IT FEELS ALMOST LIKE GOING WITH YOU THROUGH A FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM.

EVEN WHEN THERE'S DISTANCE FOR ANY FAMILY MEMBER, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE PHOTOS, MEMORIES OF THIS TIME AND PLACE AND THE PEOPLE THAT YOUR PARENTS WERE AS HAD HE GREW AS ADULTS, I'M WONDERING, ASIDE FROM THE GREAT TOFFEE STORY, WAS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT STOOD OUT TO YOU YOU WERE JUST LIKE I ALMOST COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THAT?

YES.

SO THINGS I LEARN TODAY AN DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT.

LIKE I NEVER SAW MY PARENTS ARGUING.

AND I DON'T REMEMBER, I COMPLETELY BLOCKED OUT YOU KNOW, MOVING AND THE LAST NIGHT AT THE HOUSE.

ALL OF THAT.

I WAS 10 YEARS OLD.

I SHOULD HAVE A MEMORY.

I REMEMBER MY PSYCHOLOGIST WHO I WAS SENT TO SEE BECAUSE I WAS STRUGGLING WITH WORRYING ABOUT MY FATHER SO MUCH TELLING ME HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR PARENTS' DIVORCE.

I BLANKED OUT AFTER THAT.

MY MOTHER WOULD SAY WE CAME TO HER.

YOU BOTH LIKE MOVIES AND PICKLES.

WHY CAN'T CAN YOU GET ALONG OR BE TOGETHER.

THERE'S MO MEMORY OF THEM ARGUING.

MY MOTHER GREW OUT OF MY FATHER AND I THINK WANTED TO GET OUT ON HER OWN.

SHE MET HIM AT 18 AND WAS JUST COMING INTO HER OWN.

INFIDELITIES AND EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE GOOD FRIENDS.

WE DISCOVERED THE LETTERS THAT HE WROTE TO HER IN 2012 OR '13.

SHE NEVER SAW THEM.

SO I LEARNED ABOUT THAT.

AND THEN ALSO, AS I WAS COMING HOME WITH ALL THE NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS AND REMEMBERING LITTLE BITS OF HISTORY I WAS LEARNING MORE.

SOME THINGS WERE INACCURATELY REPORTED.

I WOULD GO TO MY MOM AND TALK IT THROUGH.

IT WAS BORN ON ITS OWN AS I WAS WRITING IT, AND I WAS LEARNING AS I WAS ACTUALLY WRITING IT TRYING TO SHARE THE STORY WITH EVERYONE.

IT WAS OVERWHELMING AND I HAD TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO TELL THE STORIES COHESIVELY IN A WAY THAT WOULD MAKE PEOPLE INTERESTED AND NOT FORGET TO INCLUDE ME IN A MEM WAU SUPPOSED TO ABOUT PERSONAL FAMILY.

IT WAS A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR MYSELF.

I CONSIDER IT MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT.

I DON'T KNOW HOW I GOT THROUGH IT.

THAT'S SOMETHING IMPORTANT I THINK BECAUSE FREQUENTLY, IF A -- ESPECIALLY IN A CHILD OF A CELEBRITY WHO WANTS TO MAINTAIN THAT CELEBRITY'S AURA OR THEIR LEGEND, ET CETERA, MAYBE THERE'S SOME THINGS THAT ARE STILL IN THE HOUSE THAT WE'RE GOING TO KEEP TO OURSELVES IS HOW A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD APPROACH IT.

BUT YOU SPOKE ABOUT EVERYTHING.

I DID.

IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE IF THERE ARE SECRETS I'M IN THE EXPOSE, THEY'RE MOT MINE TO TELL.

IT'S NOTHING THAT WOULD ACTUALLY MAKE MY FATHER LOOK BAD.

IT'S STUFF THAT REALLY IF THEY KNEW HE WOULD LOOK A LOT BETTER BUT AND I ADDRESS THAT SOMETIMES.

SOME OF THESE AREN'T MINE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THEY'RE NOT REALLY ABOUT MY DAD PER SE.

IT'S HIM PROTECTING OTHER PEOPLE SOLEDADY LIVED HIS LIFE LIKE AN OPEN BOOK.

EVEN WITH MY MOTHER WHEN HE WAS MARRIED, HE DIDN'T HIDE HER.

THERE'S NOTHING THE WORLD WILL EVER OF FIND OUT ABOUT HIM IN THAT HE DIDN'T ALREADY SHOW TO THE WORLD IN THAT REGARD.

BUT HIS I THINK JUST THE HOW WE ARE AT HOME AND AROUND THE HOUSE AND THE STRUGGLES HE WAS DEALING WITH AND THE WORRIES AND THE HE HAD, HE WAS A HUMAN BEING AND HE WASN'T AFRAID TO SHOW IT.

HE WOULD CRY AND NOT BE EMBARRASSED.

HE DIDN'T BOO WHO, BUT TEARS WOULD FALL.

ED SEE A HOMELESS FAMILY AND CRY.

DADDY'S CRYING THERE MUST BE SOMETHING AROUND THAT MADE HIM SAD OR HAPE.

A LOT OF MEN ARE AFRAID TO THOUGH SHARE EMOTIONS.

TRUE STRENGTH IS OWNING IT AND EXPRESSING IT AND NOT BE -- TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH ALL YOUR EMOTIONS.

THAT'S HOW MY MY FATHER WAS HE WAS VERY OPEN WITH EVERYTHING, HIS LIFE AND FEELINGS.

I TRIED TO SHOW THAT SIDE OF HIM.

HE WAS STRUGGLING A LOT.

IF HE SHOULD FIGHT LARRY HOLMES WHEN HE JUST RETIRED, HE KNEW SOMETHING RIGHT WITH HIS HEALTH BUT COULDN'T PUT HIS FINGER ON IT.

THEY THOUGHT HE HAD PARKEN SON SYNDROME.

PEOPLE THOUGHT HE'S OLDER AND MATURE AND HE SPOKE SO QUICKLY AND FAST, WHEN HE SLOWED DOWN IT LOOKED HIKE HE WAS TALKING ABOUT AT A REGULAR SPEED BUT HE WAS SLOWING DOWN.

EVEN ME AS A LITTLE GIRL, I WOULD SEE HIM STUMBLE AND FIND HIM SLEEPING ON THE COUCH OR ON THE FRONT PORCH.

AND WOKE UP IN THE MORNING BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT TO DISTURB ANYONE OR RING THE BELL IF HE LOST HIS KEYS.

HE WAS SLEEP ON THE SOFA OUTSIDE.

HE HAD A WEIRD THING WITH NOT WAKING PEOPLE.

IF SOMEONE WAS TAKING A NAP, WE COULD BE WAITING FOR A FLIGHT IN THE PRIVATE ROOM AND SOME STRANGER IS ASLEEP ON THE SOFA AND SHHFUL HE'S TRYING TO REST.

HE HAD A THING ABOUT SHARING HIS FOOD, IF HE WAS EATING, HE WOULD START HANDING YOU FRUIT FROM HIS PLATE.

WHEN WE USED TO EAT IN RESTAURANTS HE WOULD GET UP OR I WOULD HELP HIM AND HE WOULD HAVE PRESIGNED AUTOGRAPHS AND PASS THEM OFF WAY TOOTHPICK INSIDE OF HIS MOUTH HERE YOU GO GOING TABLE TO TABLE.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

HE DIDN'T EVEN WAIT.

HE WAS SO DOWN TO EARTH.

IT'S LIKE THERE WAS NO WAY YOU CAN'T SHARE WITH HIM WITH THE WORLD HE BELONGED TO KNOW AGAVE HIMSELF TO FULLY.

SOME THINGS PROBABLY SHOCK PEOPLE THAT ARE PERSONAL BUT I THOUGHT MY DAD LIVED HIS LIFE LIKE AN OPEN BOOK.

EVERYONE WAS FAMILY TO MINIMUM.

HE LOVED PEOPLE.

THAT'S A WONDERFUL NOTE TO LEAVE IT ON.

THAT ENCAPSULATES WHAT THE STORY WAS.

I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO JOIN US.

THIS IS SUCH A GREAT BOOK AND IT'S SUCH AGAIN A DIFFERENT LOOK AT A MAN THAT WE ALL THINK THAT WE KNOW.

THANK YOU.

Funders

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