The following article by Nick Shindo Street was originally published on September 18, 2018, on BOOM California, an online media publication dedicated to highlighting vital conversations about social and cultural issues in California. The views expressed and the programs described do not necessarily reflect the views of Sapelo Square or its editorial staff and is reposted here in the interest of capturing the diverse conversations occurring within the Black Muslim community.
Image credit – Nick Shindo Street
Earlier this year, the ILM (Intellect, Love and Mercy) Foundation in Los Angeles, Ca., convened a group of sixteen Black Muslim community organizers to prepare for a public forum between the Black Muslim Community in South Central and the Los Angeles Police Department. That initial meeting morphed into a training that centered what the organizers called a “stories to solutions” framework — a way of articulating problems and demands that steered the conversation away from both “unproductive rancor” and a kumbaya circle that would avoid hard truths. The subsequent community gathering at Masjid Bilal Islamic Center was the first of its kind in recent memory and organizers envisioned it as a starting point for further community dialogues that would provide agency for Black Muslims to assert some semblance of control in their community.
During this engaging interview, Dr. Abdul Khabeer shares her own relationship with hip hop and reminisces about the songs she grew up on, such as “Top Billin’” by Audio Two, and discussing their collective impact on her personal development. For example, she shares how hip hop artist Jean Grae’s cathartic storytelling offers a pathway to explore the art of lyricism outside of a masculine paradigm. In addition, she shares how both cultural and religious identities have formed her perspective. In particular, Abdul Khabeer credits her travel outside of the United States as the impetus for her to explore religious, racial and cultural identities among American Muslim communities through hip hop.
Sapelo Square Politics Editor, Kamilah A. Pickett, talks with Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur, Board Chair of the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, about Black Muslim civic engagement, “righteous apathy”, voter suppression, and using the vote as a tool in the struggle for self-determination.