A few weeks ago Kamal Saleh from OnePath contacted me and expressed interest in re-cutting and sharing a story from Black Muslim Speak season 1. Of course! I’m always interested in collaborating with other artists. The film ended up getting over 400k views on Facebook.
This series went way beyond what I had initially hoped! Below are some of the analytics from Facebook that were captured one day after the release of the final episode of the series.
- 259,000 people reached
- 48,000 post engagements
- 126,000 video views
Nabintou Doumbia is a pre-law student at Wayne State University, studying Sociology and African American Studies. She is a proud Detroiter and the daughter of two, Ivorian immigrants from Ivory Coast, West Africa. It is her personal experiences that lie at the forefront of her interest in the legal field, specifically in the area of [Black] Immigration. Nabintou wishes to serve her local, national, and international communities by leveling the legal playing field in which minorities, Black immigrants especially, often exist at the margins, resulting in a plethora of systematic disadvantages. She hopes to be a community worker who speaks her own narrative unapologetically and empowers others to do the same in their unique ways. At the core of this work is her prioritization of intersectionality, holding herself and her community to a standard where identities are not required to be compartmentalized in order for people like her to exist, create, and organize in spaces.
Hailing from the cultural medley that is the city of Houston, Malaz developed her passion for psychology and human-focused design at Rice University where she graduated with her BA. For the past year, her interest in social advocacy has burgeoned as she worked with communities close to the border and overseas on an initiative to prevent diabetic foot ulcers. Now, she hopes to nurture a spiritually and psychologically conscious approach to addressing mental health issues in Muslim communities. She aims to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology.
Vanessa Taylor is a co-founder of the seminal youth-led organization, Black Liberation Project (BLP), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is interested in using a multi-disciplinary approach to social justice from on-the-ground activism to finding accessible ways to educate community with writing as a way to make sense of it all. Her work with BLP has included the development of a #No2SROs campaign to remove police from schools, facilitation, promoting healing spaces, community outreach, and etc. She is an experienced presenter, having designed and conducted workshops for organizations such as The Center For Prophetic Imagination, Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative, and Showing Up For Racial Justice MN. She is also a free-lance writer and poet whose work focuses on exploring Black womanhood and Muslim identity. Her activism and writing has been featured in AJ+, Elle, Nylon, Racked, among many others. .
My name is Seynabou Denise Niang, a recent college graduate of Spelman College from Dakar, Sénégal, West Africa. I obtained my Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Public Health. During my matriculation, and post-graduation, I was afforded the opportunity to study and conduct both qualitative and quantitative research under many organizations such as Sexual Health Empowerment Program under the Department of Psychology at Spelman College, AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention under the National Center of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; specifically under the Division of Community Health. My areas of expertise are health disparities among minority populations, sexual health promotion and prevention, and prevalence of mental illnesses among African American women, including Muslims.
I aspire to become a Public Health practitioner and philanthropist focusing on health promotion in West African countries, primarily my beloved home, Sénégal. I strive to master ingenious ways to implement health care policies that benefit all citizens, regardless of economic standing. With the grace of Allah, I will work to eradicate health care inequities in Sénégal and other West African countries through establishing community- inspired health clinics in rural and suburban neighborhoods, along with implementing laws and policies that protect citizen’s health care rights by minimizing oppressive socioeconomic factors that breeds inequity. I truly believe that the most efficient form of activism and advocacy against oppression must be intersectional, therefore my pursuit of liberation of all forms is deeply rooted in the spiritual pursuit of the freedom Allah has bestowed upon us all.
Ganiyat Balogun is a sophomore psychology major with a minor in sociology at Howard University. Originally from Nigeria, she now lives in PG County, Maryland. She is very passionate about working with youth in undeserved communities and mental health within black and Muslim communities. Ganiyat is currently a youth program provider at So What Else and an HR intern at the Heart Rhythm Society. She wants to receive her PHD in clinical psychology and open up a mental health clinic in her home country of Nigeria. In her free time, Ganiyat enjoys reading, working out, cooking and watching documentaries.
Tesay Yusuf is a senior at Stanford University majoring in International Relations and minoring in African and African American Studies. She is from Arlington, VA and loves to travel. On campus, Tesay has held various leadership roles in the Black Student Union, Muslim Student Union, a number of event planning committees and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Omicron Chi Chapter. She is dedicated to engaging with and serving the communities that are so central to her identity, and ensuring that marginalized voices are uplifted in all spaces that she enters. She is passionate about human rights and hopes to pursue a career in the non-profit sector. Tesay loves photography, the beach, planning future trips, and all kinds of dessert.
Ousainoue Touray is a community organizer in Detroit. His main focus has been directed towards youth coordinating. He is currently president of the Youth Group in his community, and also acts as advisor for some organizations raging from non-profits to local businesses. He's also in school studying Business and Economics. Ousainoue believes in doing as much as he can to simply make things easier for others in all aspects of life.
Mamfatou T. Baldeh is a New York native and first-generation American with Senegalese and Gambian roots. She is passionate about the mental health and wellness of populations of color and hopes to pursue a higher degree in clinical psychology. Mamfatou is currently a 4th year student at Columbia University in New York studying psychology.
Today I interviewed Mohamed Tall, a spoken word artist from Maryland.
Mohamed Tall is Baltimore City's current Youth Poet Laureate and the 2016 Grand Slam champion. He is a former Baltimore City Poet Ambassador, as well as the 2 time Muslim Interscholastic Tournament spoken word champion. Mohamed has opened up for various entertainers such as Native Deen, the former National Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway and Congressman Elijah Cummings. Traveling around the country on a Social Justice Poetry tour is one of the many feats he has achieved, as well as performing at various venues throughout the country such as the John's Hopkins Health Symposium on the Prison Industrial Complex, and the annual ICNA convention that takes place at the Baltimore City Convention Center. In the fall of 2015 Mohamed began working for a nonprofit organization known as "Dewmore Baltimore" which aims to tackle social justice issues as well as civic engagement through poetry. In the fall he acts as a teaching artist in Baltimore city middle schools. A current Political Science major at Morgan State University, Mohamed now plans to utilize the abilities he's mastered along with the education he is receiving to help establish poetry workshops in different masajid across the country to help further the level of consciousness in his community. Mohamed believes that art is at the forefront of every revolution.
Today I met Nuriddeen in Brooklyn. Nuriddeen is a writer whose parents immigrated to America from the Caribbean.
We spoke about the how mosques are segregated by ethnicities, about her upbringing, and about how being a child of Black immigrants influenced her.
A few days ago I met Gareth at Union Square in New York city. He talked about his conversion to Islam through the Qur'an, his rocky relationship with his mother, and how he overcame the hurdles presented to him with his conversion.
We also spoke about what it means to be a Black Muslim in America, and some the unique challenges he faced because of being Black in the Muslim community.
While filming UnMosqued, we met many Black Muslims who have build institutions and led communities. But their stories were very different from the stories of Muslims of Arab and South Asian descent. Their history was different, their attitudes towards life was different, and even their approach to very simple things, such as the barrier in the mosque, was different.
Conversations with Black Muslims in America is a series of video interviews with Black Muslims in America from different backgrounds about various issues. The point of the series will be to show some of the stories / challenges that black Muslims face, as well as show some of their accomplishments.