Wednesday, April 16, 2014

happy british muslims

From: The Honesty Policy List of participants (Rough order of appearance): Laith, Adam Deen, Safiah, Alia, Ghalia, Julie Siddiqui, Salma Yaqoob, Fuad Nahdi, Khalid Ahmed & Ruqaiya, Myriam Cerrah, Hannah Habibi Hopkins, Tanya Muneera Williams, Faisal, Izzi Hassan, Asiyah Juma, Abdul-Hakim Murad, Rukea, Nadir Nahdi, Mizan, Yaz, Sadiya Chaudhory, Kübra Gümüsay and Ali Gümüsay, Fareena Alam, Rahim Jung, Waqaas Ahmed, Saleha Islam, Mo Ansar, Rabie, Edris Khamissa, HP Team, LSE ISOC, Kifah Shah, Aisha and Tahiya, Rumi’s Cave, Thawab and Basma, Omar, Mecca2Medinah, Marwan, Bentley Wood, Remona Aly, Majid Khan, Na’eem Raza, Shama, Zainab and Nuri, Abdul-Rehman Malik, Malaysian family, Asim Siddiqi and kids, Asiyah and Juveid, HP, Omareeto, Rizwan, Bilal Hassam, Nuri, Humera and Khalida Khan, Anwar, Nazli and Jayde, HP team.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"america: number one warmonger" - president carter

Salon: “America as the No. 1 warmonger”: President Jimmy Carter talks to Salon about race, cable news, “slut-shaming” and more

yasiin bey (mos def) + marvin gaye

 Amerigo Gazaway's *Soul Mates* series continues the theme of his previous work in creating collaborations that never were. On the series' latest installment, Amerigo unites Brooklyn rapper Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and soul legend Marvin Gaye for a dream collaboration aptly titled "Yasiin Gaye". Building the album's foundation from deconstructed samples of Gaye's Motown classics, Gazaway re-purposes the instrumentation into new productions within a similar framework. Carefully weaving Bey's tangled raps and Gaye's soulful vocals over his new arrangements, the producer delivers a quality much closer to an authentic collaboration than a lukewarm "mashup" album.

Monday, March 03, 2014

a new generation of afro-latinos tackles race and identity

Fox News Latino: New Generation Of Afro-Latinos Tackles Race And Identity

rebel music by hisham aidi

 I haven't read this yet but it will probably find its way to my booklist:

 From Amazon:
This fascinating, timely, and important book on the connection between music and political activism among Muslim youth around the world looks at how hip-hop, jazz, and reggae, along with Andalusian and Gnawa music, have become a means of building community and expressing protest in the face of the West’s policies in the War on Terror. Hisham Aidi interviews musicians and activists, and reports from music festivals and concerts in the United States, Europe, North Africa, and South America, to give us an up-close sense of the identities and art forms of urban Muslim youth. 

 We see how the current cultural and political turmoil in Europe’s urban periphery echoes that moment in the 1910s when Islamic movements began appearing among African-Americans in northern American cities, and how the Black Freedom Movement and the words of Malcolm X have inspired the increasing racialization and radicalization of young Muslims today. More unexpected is how the United States and some of its allies have used hip-hop and Sufi music to try to deradicalize Muslim youth abroad. 

Aidi’s interviews with jazz musicians who embraced Islam in the post–World War II years and took their music to Europe and Africa recall the 1920s, when jazz inspired cultural ferment in Europe and North Africa. And his conversations with the last of the great Algerian Andalusi musicians, who migrated to Paris’s Latin Quarter after the outbreak of the Algerian War in 1954, speak for the musical symbiosis between Muslims and Jews in the kasbah that attracted the attention of the great anticolonial thinker Frantz Fanon. Illuminating and groundbreaking, Rebel Music takes the pulse of the phenomenon of this new youth culture and reveals not only the rich historical context from which it is drawn but also how it can foretell future social and political change.


One muggy afternoon in July 2003, I headed up to the South Bronx for the Crotona Park Jams, a small festival that is little-known locally, but manages to draw hip-hop fans from around the world. The annual event is organized by Tools of War, a grassroots arts organization that invites artists from across the country and Europe to perform in the Bronx, hip-hop’s putative birthplace, and to meet some of the genre’s pioneers, figures like Afrika Bambaataa and Kurtis Blow. I arrived at the park and asked around for Christie Z, a local promoter and activist. Christie, who has blue eyes and a ruddy complexion and wears a white head scarf, is the founder of Tools of War and a smaller group called Muslims in Hip Hop. She is married to Jorge Pabón (aka Fabel), a well-known dancer and master of ceremonies (MC), who appeared in the classic 1980s hip-hop film Beat Street and currently teaches “poppin’ ” and “lockin’ ” dance styles at NYU. The two—Christie Z & Fabel, as they’re known—are a power couple on the East Coast’s hip-hop scene, but they’ve become significant players internationally as well, organizing shows in Europe and bringing artists from overseas to perform in America.

Christie’s story is unusual. “People always ask me,” she says with a laugh, “how did a white girl from central Pennsylvania become a Muslim named Aziza who organizes turntable battles in the Bronx? I say the lyrics brought me here. I was in high school when I heard ‘The Message,’ ” she says, referring to the 1982 breakout song by Grandmaster Flash, which vividly described life in the ghetto during the Reagan era, and was one of hip-hop’s earliest mainstream hits. “I heard that track and I followed the sound to New York.”

I had arrived early hoping for a pre-show interview with the French rap crew 3ème Œil (Third Eye), who had flown in from Marseille to perform that evening. The rap trio is known in France for its socially conscious lyrics. Since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the group had become even more political, rapping about what they call the West’s “stranglehold” on the East. I stood around the stage waiting. A circle had formed with a group of boys clapping and dancing, as the DJ on duty that evening—another pioneer, DJ Tony Tone of the Cold Crush Brothers—spun rap and Latin soul classics. Soon Third Eye’s manager, Claudine, a brown-haired woman in her early twenties, appeared and led me backstage. I explained that I was a researcher at Columbia writing about global hip-hop. Her face lit up. “We’ve been wanting to talk to you for a while,” she said, as she walked me through a backstage tent and out into the open. Later I found out Claudine had thought I was a representative of Columbia Records, about to offer her group a contract.

The sun was setting, a blue glow had enveloped the park, and I walked up to the four young men lounging on a bench facing the spectacular Indian Lake, which sits at the park’s center. Soon I was chatting with the rappers—Boss One (Mohammed) and Jo Popo (Mohammed), both born in the Comoros Islands off the coast of East Africa, but raised in Marseille—and their DJ, Rebel (Moustapha). They were dressed similarly in sagging denim Bermudas, eighties-style Nike high-tops, and baseball caps. Jo Popo gave me a copy of their new hit single, “Si Triste” (So Sad). I told him I’d already seen bootlegged copies at African music stands in Harlem. He nodded and gave me a fist bump. The song, popular among West African youth in New York, offers social commentary over a looping bass line, decrying police brutality and mass incarceration (with a special shout-out to the American death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal). I asked them how the French press responded to their lyrics, and about the anti-immigrant National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen’s claim that hip-hop was a dangerous musical genre that originated in the casbahs of Algeria.

Boss One shook his head, “For Le Pen, everything bad—rap, crime, AIDS—comes from Algeria or Islam.” This was mid-2003; the War on Terror was in its early years. “The more Bush and Chirac attack Islam and say it’s bad,” said Boss One, “the more young people will think it’s good, and the more the oppressed will go to Islam and radical preachers.” His tone became a little defensive when talking about the banlieues, the poor suburbs that ring France’s major cities, stating that life in France’s cités was better than in the American ghettos. “Life is hard in France, but we have a social safety net. Here there is no such thing”—he stood up to emphasize the point—“and it will get worse with Bush, the cowboy, le rancheur!

Their bluster disappeared when I asked what they thought of the Bronx. They grew wistful talking about the Mecca of hip-hop. Jo Popo smiled describing their meeting the day before with hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa. “C’était incroyable!” Bam, as he is known, is particularly loved in France, where he was instrumental in introducing hip-hop in the early 1980s. The group’s music mixer, DJ Rebel, who previously hadn’t said a word, suddenly spoke up. “I have dreamed of visiting the Bronx for all thirty-six years of my life. This is where hip-hop started, this music which has liberated us, which has saved us,” he said with apparent seriousness. “Yesterday we met Bambaataa and Kool Herc. I thanked them personally for what they have done for us blacks and Muslims in France—they gave us a language, a culture, a community.” His voice broke a little.

I was struck by the emotion and sincerity of their words, and I had a few academic questions to ask: Why was the Bronx so central to the “moral geography” of working-class kids in Marseille? Where did this romantic view of the American ghetto come from? Why were they more fascinated by Bronx and Harlem folklore than by the culture of their parents’ countries of origin? Claudine suddenly reappeared and asked them to return to the tent. Grandmaster Flash, the legendary DJ and another iconic figure of global hip-hop, had arrived, and they were scheduled to meet him. “Flash invented scratching—I get paid to teach scratching in France,” said DJ Rebel getting up to leave. “A bientôt,” and the rap trio and their thoughtful DJ walked off. Half an hour later they were on the stage, waving their arms: “Sautez! Sautez! Sautez!” Boss One translated: “That means, ‘Jump! Jump! Jump!’ ”

Sunday, January 05, 2014

aishah, rebeccah and young marriage

From time to time I've been caught up into highly-polemical religious discussions on the internet. At times I've found such discussions personally useful as a way to clarify for myself what I believe. Other times, the discussions are a source of aggravation and a waste of time. One of the more hot-button issues in the context of such discussions is the fact that Muhammad (saaws) married Aishah (ra) when she was relatively young. Alot of the time, my main response would be to point people to  The Young Marriage of Aishah by Abû Imân cAbd ar-Rahmân Robert Squires, which provides a fairly well reasoned discussion of the subject.

Recently my mind has been blown after reading the article: Child Marriage in Ancient Israelite times which, among other things, cites the "respected" rabbinic opinion that Rebecca was only three years old when she got married to Isaac, and that in general, child marriage was INCREDIBLY widespread in the ancient Jewish world

Also see: Our Mother A'isha's Age At The Time Of Her Marriage to The Prophet which presents a fairly detailed argument for Aishah being older than is usually stated, while at the same time making it clear that young marriages were not at all atypical for the time (for example, Aisha herself was almost engaged to someone else).

someone is wrong on the internet

Monday, December 16, 2013

lorde's royals and the people's revolt

For some reason I find the minor controversy over Lord's song, "Royals" and whether it is racist or not really intriguing. I'm especially interested in seeing how different artists of color have engaged with the song through covers and remixes, with varying degrees of creative and political sophistication. (There are even a few white artists who add new levels of appropriation in the mix as well). Feministing: Wow, that Lorde song Royals is racist Feministing: A little more on Lorde, Royals, and Racism The Guardian: Lorde's song Royals deserves nuanced critique XXL: Five Best Rapper Remixes of Lorde’s “Royals” ROYALS REMIX LORDE FT VA DRIVE from IN FOCUS on Vimeo (Ghetto from my head to my toe cover) by Vamsi ft. Ace

Monday, December 02, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday, November 02, 2013

tato laviera is dead

Hispanic New York: Tato Laviera, Prominent Nuyorican Poet, Is Dead This makes me sad. When I was in college I discovered Tato Laviera's poetry and it played a big role in my thinking about what it means to be Afro-Latino. I even organized an event to bring him to campus and got to spend a chunk of time with him. He's apparently been sick for a while with diabetes and unconscious. Rest in Peace. Inna illahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

no woman, no drive

For the sarcasm impaired, this is a satire.