June 19 2009
Of any music genre, Hip Hop is the most powerful and one of the most misunderstood genres of music. Mainstream media and audiences generally see hip hop is all about money, violence and sex and nothing more. Mainstream do not see hip hop as a diverse culture and a culture that has major global influence. The music was created by people who felt left out by mainstream society and it is still is. It is a tool used to create unity, social justice, and to uplift one's community and environment.
On June 23rd, the PBS show POV will debut a documentary to illustrate the true power of Hip Hop with a film called New Muslim Cool. The film tells the story of a Puerto Rican-American rapper named Hamza Pérez who pulled himself out of drug dealing and street life 12 years ago and became a Muslim. Now he's moved to Pittsburgh's tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family and take his message of faith to other young people through hard-hitting hip-hop music. But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and himself.
New Muslim Cool is Islam as you have never seen it. It is also hip-hop as you have probably never heard it. This film gives audiences an insider's view of a little-known cultural fusion between Muslims and street beats that has been developing since the very beginnings of hip-hop culture. The result is a surprising challenge to stereotypes of both Muslims and urban youth in America that encourages viewers to look critically at the "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West.
In my opinion, there is no other music or artform that has so much power and influence to make a difference.