Great artists that happen to be Muslims: Suheir Hammad

11 09 2010

There’s… adult language… in this. Viewer discretion is advised.

Palestinian-American poet Suheir Hammad is one of those writers that can take the wind out of you with the shear potency of her words.

She was born in Jordan to refugee parents who were expelled from Palestine. The family eventually settled in Brooklyn, New York, where Hammad grew up immersed in the hip hop culture blossoming in the city in the ’70s and ’80s.

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Great artists that happen to be Muslims: Mos Def & K’Naan

20 08 2010

I was flipping through the channels the other night when I stumbled across a couple of great re-runs of Austin City Limits on PBS. (As often as this happens, you’d think I would actually make a note of when Austin City Limits comes on and deliberately plan to watch it. And yet, I don’t. But that’s a blog for another day.) I had way too much fun singing along with the two artists that were featured that night — Mos Def from Brooklyn, New York and K’Naan from Toronto, Canada (by way of Somalia).

After the show was over it occurred to me that both of these inspiring artists are Muslims — people who, by association, are being unfairly smeared by way too many media voices right now. Perhaps fewer people would accept all the stereotyping and hatred directed at Islam if they were more aware of some of the Muslims they come across in life.

So I decided to highlight a few Muslim artists that have made significant inroads with American audiences. It’s my own tiny way of reminding people of the valuable contributions Muslims make to to our culture. So many Muslims are our friends and neighbors, not our enemies. Protecting their religious freedom under the First Amendment is really about protecting those freedoms for all of us.

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Arizona to Latinos: “Show me your papers”

26 04 2010

“Saturday Night Live” has been suffering from a massive comedic vacuum since Tina Fey left to do “30 Rock.” But Seth Meyers can still crack me up on “Weekend Update” sometimes, like he did the other night with this gag.

In his own way, Meyers is making  a great point. After all the ridiculous talk about Nazis from the political right, I can immediately see what’s so messed up about requiring cops to ask people for their “papers.” As Meyers says “I know, I know. It’s a dry fascism. But it’s still fascism.”

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To boldly split infinitives where they have never been split before…

8 04 2010

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.”

Princess Irulan, from Frank Herbert’s Dune

This blog has been a long time in coming. One question had to be answered before I started. How can I write about big things (truth, justice, democracy, religion, etc.) and still make this fun for me to publish and others to read? I have little interest in reading blogs that are merely personal diaries, and even less interest in writing one.

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“Hailing frequencies open”

17 05 2009
Zoe Saldana as Uhura

Production still of Zoe Saldana as Uhura in director J. J. Abrams' 2009 film, Star Trek. Courtesy of Wikipedia. Property of Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot Productions and Paramount Pictures.

So I finally saw the latest Star Trek film — the one directed by J.J. Abrams — and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was solid, the visuals were nothing to sneeze at, and the acting was superb. Zachary Quinto‘s portrayal of Spock would make it worth seeing all by itself.
And yet, I walked out of Cincinnati’s Esquire theater tonight feeling like a guy with a Vulcan father and a human mother — conflicted.




A Little Journalistic Advice From Bruce Lee

7 04 2009

Originally published by the UC Association of Black Journalists.

A statue of Bruce Lee displayed on Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars.

A statue of Bruce Lee displayed on Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars. CC image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Bruce Lee? What’s he got to do with journalism? It’ll make sense. I promise.

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