Thursday, January 28, 2010

Documentary: An Intimate Look at Hip-Hop’s Jihad


An Intimate Look at Hip-Hop’s Jihad
By: Suad Abdul Khabeer
Posted: June 23, 2009 at 7:22 AM

‘New Muslim Cool,’ a new PBS documentary, shows how young Muslim Americans in the post-9/11 era are deepening ties between hip-hop and Islam.

Real hip-hop heads know that Islam and hip-hop have been longtime friends, feeding off each other’s energy. Muslim ideals of self-respect and social change have inspired some of the greatest emcees, and hip-hop is giving voice to the dreams and daily struggles of a generation of Muslims. This cross-pollination between Islam and hip-hop is vividly illustrated in a new documentary, New Muslim Cool, which premieres tonight on PBS.

Directed by veteran filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, New Muslim Cool chronicles three years in the life of Hamza "Jason" Perez, a Puerto Rican Muslim, family man, emcee, interfaith prison chaplain and social activist.

So why is Hamza’s story called the New Muslim Cool? Because he is part of a generation of young Muslims who are coming of age in a post-9/11 America. They are tackling questions of race, faith, freedom and even, as Hamza does, questionable intrusions by the FBI. They unapologetically choose God and country; they are doing American Islam with style.

And then, there’s the music. Citing influences such as Malcolm X and Pedro Albizu Campos, Hamza and his brother, Suliman, bring together the best of who they are. They use hip-hop in the great music traditions of the African Diaspora. The music seeks to speak to the harsh but sweet realities of everyday life; to encourage an elevation of the spirit, and to inspire a commitment to social change.


Read the full post HERE.

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