Category: American Muslim


One thing I’ve been asked about more than a few times referencing ‘1/30’ is how has it been having someone who is not Black or Muslim directing this story. I’ve told anyone who would listen that Vishnu (the director) from pre-production on has been hyper sensitive (in all the right ways) about not being disrespectful to my point of view.

Lena backs this up (which should surprise no one) in the intro to today’s behind the scenes webisode for the AT&T Hello Lab.

Enjoy!

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The momentum continues…

It’s public information now that my last feature script, ‘Midnight In Kansas’, is one of the three finalists in the Screenplay Competition of the 2019 Urbanworld Film Festival.

Urbanworld has been on my radar for years as a lover of black films; being welcomed into the Urbanworld Family this year means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to coming back to New York City and being part of the experience.

Festival passes are on sale now on urbanworld.org; should be a fun weekend.

Onward!

https://shadowandact.com/harriet-just-mercy-mixed-ish-and-more-set-for-2019-urbanworld-film-festival

Episode 3 of the behind the scenes webseries for the AT&T Hello Lab doc is live now. More Lena in this one.

Enjoy!

Pioneer. Rebel. Activist. Sammy Davis Jr. is definitely one of my ‘historical’ mentors.

American Masters is nominated for an Emmy this year; one of the episodes is a full documentary on Sammy.

In light of an actual review, since it’s Public Broadcasting the full doc is still available to view for a few more days. If you have an hour and a half free, I highly suggest checking it out.

Enjoy.

Episode two of the making of the AT&T Hello Lab short films is up. My only self critique is do I really have a permanent five o clock shadow now?

Anyway, enjoy!

So you know what I’ve been involved with this summer.

Now, hear myself and the other mentees talk about the shorts and why we feel attached to them.

Enjoy!

100% True.

A couple of nights ago, I was reading Idris’ profile on Vanity Fair where he talks about his path in Hollywood.

The next day, I’m quoted and featured on their website.

When things move sometimes, they move SWIFTLY.

Thanks to Vanity Fair, THEM, and Mitu for the coverage of my AT&T Hello Lab class.

Links below:

https://www.vanityfair.com/branded/article/vfr/lena-waithe-helps-emerging-filmmakers-tell-their-stories-with-the-atandt-hello-lab-mentorship-program

https://www.them.us/branded/article/them/lena-waithe-empowers-emerging-filmmakers-to-tell-their-stories-with-the-atandt-hello-lab-mentorship-program

Me and Vishnu talking about 1/30 in our own words.

Enjoy.

This will be short (I think.)

I’m not going to try to name check everyone who helped me get to this point, cause someone would be left off.

What I will say, to both my ‘day ones’ (or whatever the kids are saying these days) and to the communities I’m here to represent: I’m one man, telling one story that comes from my experiences, but I’m also respectful of the opportunity and the platform (and the potential reach). I think every religion/spirituality has some version of ‘God does not place a burden on you beyond your ability to handle it.’ Whatever people have thought of my ‘potential’ over the years, this is happening now, I feel, because I’m truly ready for it.

Looking forward to you all seeing ‘1/30’.

‘Oh Allah, if you know this matter to be good for me in my faith, my livelihood, and the end result of my affair, then decree it for me, make it easy for me, and then bless it for me. And if you know this matter to be bad for me, my faith, my livelihood, and end result of my affair, then turn it away from me, and me away from it. Decree for me what is good, whatever it may be, and then make me satisfied with it.’ – Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

I have a warm relationship with both of my parents in their twilight years. ‘I Love You Black Man’ is both a statement and a way to live among my inner circle. That feeling of ‘I got you, you’re not alone’ between myself and my allies in the Community is stronger than ever.

This has been the first year, where 24/7/365 I’ve met my own standard for who I aspire to be, as a Muslim, a Black Man, a world citizen. Insha’Allah (God willing) the first of many more years still to come. Many of you have picked it up in the way I talk, the way I carry myself: I will not lose my family, my friends, my allies, my people, or my reputation by doing something I know I shouldn’t be doing. Not anymore.

Even when everything in this country, in pop culture, in this specific life I’ve chosen, has been designed to turn me against my own identity and question my self-worth, every time I’ve gone (or been advised) to go over a line that had the very real potential of permanently turning me against the people I love, or the people who love me, I knew to stop. I’ve made references over the past couple of years of my struggle to understand my own fortune. Now the answer is obvious.

Faith. And this was the year my faith became absolute.

I’ll borrow from one of Malcolm’s signature statements to describe the full ownership of my Calling as I enter this Ramadan:

If I die, knowing I have left the vast majority of people who have crossed my path in a better place than I have found them; if I have made just one person looks at Muslims, and the religion of Islam, in a more positive light, than all the credit is due to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds. Only the mistakes have been mine.

Sincerely,

Abdul-Malik Raushaun Abdul-Aziz

(Malik Aziz)

Ramadan Mubarak.