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An Ummah, In Conversation
July Tuesday

Islam and the Soul of Hip Hop


“Hip hop is an artistic form, found in djing, emceeing, dance, and graffiti, and a form of knowledge and culture that can shape how we think, talk, dress and act in the world…” – Su’ad Abdul Khabeer

Since its inception, hip hop has drawn inspiration from Muslim communities throughout NYC, including the Nation of Islam, Nation of Gods and Earths (“Five Percenters”), Ansaaru Allah Community, and Sunni Muslims. BHS Oral Historian and Muslims in Brooklyn Project Director Zaheer Ali sits down with author of Muslim Cool: Race, Religion, and Hip Hop in the United States Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, former Editor-in-Chief of The Source magazine Fahiym Abdul-Wasi, artist Salima Rah, and Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival Director Wes Jackson to explore the history and contemporary resonance of Islam in hip hop.

Presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, and in connection with BHS’s Muslims in Brooklyn project. The Muslims in Brooklyn project is made possible through the generous support of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program, the Ford Foundation, The New York Community Trust, the Nissan Foundation, the Pillars Fund, Pop Culture Collaborative, and New York City Council Members Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Rafael Espinal, and Brad Lander.


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

6:30 pm


  • General Admission $5
  • Member Admission Free
reserve tickets


  • Suad Abdul Khabeer (2)

    Su’ad Abdul Khabeer

    Su’ad Abdul Khabeer is a scholar-artist-activist who uses anthropology and performance to explore the intersections of race and popular culture. Su’ad is currently an associate professor of American Culture and Arab and Muslim American Studies at the University of Michigan. Her latest work, Muslim Cool: Race, Religion and Hip Hop in the United States, is an ethnography on Islam and hip hop that examines how intersecting ideas of Muslimness and Blackness challenge and reproduce the meanings of race in the US.

  • Fahiym Abdul-Wasi_edited

    Fahiym Abdul-Wasi

    Fahiym Abdul-Wasi is longtime writer, editor, lecturer, and higher education professional. With 12 years of professional journalism experience under his belt, Fahiym gained recognition throughout his time at The Source magazine, where he worked his way up the ladder from being a contributing writer in 2000, to Editor-in-Chief in 2005. His work has also appeared in Vibe and Variety. Since 2012, Fahiym has also been working in the field of higher education and is currently writing his debut book on Black manhood in the 21st century entitled One Step Beyond.

  • Saliima Rah_edited

    Salima Rah

    Salima Rah delivers a fusion of genres and sounds with a blend of soothing jazz vocals, hypnotic rap flow and lyrics of integrity. She honed her skills as an artist in New York city’s jazz community, and has performed at numerous venues including The Nuyorican Poets Café, Brooklyn Academy of Music, BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, Lincoln Center, Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, Carnegie Hall with Soul Science Band, and the Jazzy Jazz Festival at Medgar Evers College with the Rudi Mwongozi.

  • Wes Jackson

    Wes Jackson

    Wes Jackson has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and innovator in the music business. His career began as a concert producer and promoter for legendary headliners across Hip Hop and other genres. In 2005 Wes founded the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival with the mission to create a world class event to honor Hip Hop music and culture and the borough of Brooklyn. Since then the Festival has hosted a range of amazing talent. He currently serves as Executive in Residence and Director of the Business of Creative Enterprises Program in the Department of Marketing Communication at Emerson College.

  • Zaheer Ali - Headshot (Maggie Shannon) 1.5 MB

    Zaheer Ali

    Zaheer Ali is the Oral Historian at Brooklyn Historical Society, where he currently directs the Muslims in Brooklyn project, a multi-year public arts and history project designed to amplify the histories of Muslims in Brooklyn. He also co-produces and co-hosts Flatbush + Main, Brooklyn Historical Society’s award-winning monthly podcast, now in its fourth year of exploring Brooklyn’s past and present.