Category: American Muslim


MILWAUKEE – 1995: Rappers and actors Big Boy and Andre’ 3000 from Outkast poses for photos after their performance at the Marcus Amphitheatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1995. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

The weekend!

The brothers reminded me it’s been a year since we lost our Frat Marek Jacobs. Can only speak for myself, but I went through all the emotions again: sadness and grief and reminscing.

I think it’s coincidental but maybe it’s not, that in the past 365 days I’ve made quantum leaps forward and reconnecting with my bloodline, my Hollywood family, my KU family, doing right for everyone I claim to represent. I’m sure this is what he wanted me to do with my life. That, but not going so far into the role of serving the people I don’t carve out time to go after the things I want for myself. Again, one day you’re here, tomorrow, who knows?

I thought back to the jams of when we met, when he turned me on to the DJ booth. This is clear as day in my mind from the parties of the youth. And it still jams.

Have a good one folks. Take care of each other.

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I think all the outside stories (Viggo using the n word, Mahershala apologizing to Don Shirley’s family) have already killed any gold ‘Green Book’ might have been up for. I’ll just pick out a few things I thought about while watching this one.

While this exact true story is new, the formula (black guy and white guy start at odds in ‘the old racist days’ and learn to appreciate each other) is very familiar. That’s not to say the film doesn’t work (I think it does), but I do think, in this exact moment in time, the people just weren’t going to be feeling it. The hostility and distrust and hyper politics are too raw right now for this type of entertainment.

On a lighter note,and I completely blame Eddie Murphy for this, ‘Moulignan’ is still my number one ‘Wow, you despise us so much you can’t even use the go to word. I might be more astonished than offended.’ Calling us shines ranks a distant second in this category.

Finally, and I feel like I say this every award season now: Viggo Mortenson. I feel like a lot of character actors have figured this out (even if the opportunities aren’t the same): do one ‘Lord of the Rings’ to take care of your family financially, then every year find a completely different character to dive into. ‘Eastern Promises’. ‘Captain Fantastic’. ‘A History of Violence.’ This year, ‘Green Book’. Must be nice.

Anyway, ‘Green Book’ isn’t a game changer but it’s not a bad film. Nice two hander for Viggo and Mahershala.

Some Malcolm in the DNA. Radical love for my base. Laced with silliness so it doesn’t become too preachy.

Yep, fully in my karma now. I think I know how some things are going to go in 2019.

And with that, let’s segway into this.

Enjoy!

The story I tell most often when asked for a Hollywood anecdote is when I chose to work with a still up and coming Issa Rae over the fried chicken commercial my agent at the time tried to talk me into. It’s funny, it’s a name my people recognize, it’s a good anecdote.

As this year comes to a close though, there’s another story that now feels like the definitive ‘Malik in Hollywood’ episode to this point. It’s not funny in the same way, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But looking back, it says so much more about how my life has played out.

Early in my acting days, I was hired to work background for a courtroom scene. Easy money, make some new connections. That was the plan.

Number one on the call sheet was a white comedian. I wouldn’t say I was a fan but I knew his style: goofy stuff. Didn’t give it a second thought until he came out dressed as the judge.

In full blackface.

And when I say full, I mean not just the makeup, but the voice, the mannerisms: I was having a full Tropic Thunder moment. At this point, I could care less about the money (remember that for later). But I also lost any desire to ‘play along’…

I fell back into my film school knowledge for the most dignified solution: I figured out which camera was focused on me, and as soon as the director called ‘Action’, I deliberately sat up/slouched/leaned forward or leaned backward so there was never a clear view of my face during the scene.

I have to give credit where credit is due; someone in Video Village noticed.

The highest ranking brother there was playing the bailiff: six foot four, forearms like tree trunks, a smile for everyone in the cast and crew. He’s who they sent over to get me on board.

And he told me about his life: he gets cast in all of Comedian X’s projects. He has a place out in Malibu. He runs into Emma Stone all the time at the grocery store.

The message was clear: You play ball, and everything you want is on a silver platter. So come on Malik, let’s get you on camera smiling and laughing at this white boy doing blackface!

To this day, I believe that brother thought he was serving my best interests. Consistent work in an industry that pretty much guarantees the exact opposite? A place on the beach? Hanging out with movie stars on the weekends? That’s ‘the Dream’ right?

As this year ends, I think of how much faster I could have made it to financial stability. The path I’ve chosen, in the most literal sense, has meant I have yet to permanently sell out the Muslim community or the black community for personal gain. My base feels stronger than its ever been. And it’s growing.

The people closest to me know I also end 2018 with a Muse. I sincerely stopped planning for ‘that’ years ago. Not through any particular cynicism, I just came to the conclusion that just wasn’t part of Allah’s plan for me. So by my own admission, the storyteller in me can appreciate watching my heart go through every romantic comedy cliche: ignorance, denial, self-sabotage, annoyance at my inability to turn it off, and finally, sitting on the 101 in wall to wall traffic, singing along to ‘Footsteps in the Dark’ like nothing else in the world matters.

Submitting to whatever or whoever decides to put in my life now feels inherently right. I feel completely set in my individual Calling. The dirty secret behind me building a public persona as ‘Batman’ is this: perhaps the single greatest achievement of my life has been surrounding myself with mutually respectful, sincerely loving relationships of every possible type. In my mind at least, I’m genuinely not looking to fill an ’empty’ space. I have been opened up again to the idea of sharing what I’m building with a woman I’m passionate about.

Maybe in 2019.

Happy Holidays everyone. See you next year.

I’m not super high on SNL at the moment, but we are STILL out here saying ‘Susan’ and ‘Karen’…

Enjoy!

Motivation.

Last week of posting til 2019; let’s do some ‘greatest hits’ of the year before I talk about everything this year has been for me.

Can’t talk about videos this year without starting here.  Just can’t.

Enjoy!

I was muted this weekend and I thought, ‘My God, I haven’t been to the movies in a month!’

I went to the calendar to double check how long it had been…

It was Thanksgiving.  

Film geek season does that to a man.

So how about we start this week with music? It’s definitely been a while.  

Hype Williams at his peak.

Enjoy!

So, I could have very, very easily been murdered today.  

I found myself Downtown this afternoon.  Not L.A. Live, more the residential neighborhoods.  I was wrapping up my affairs as a nearby high school was letting out.

One set of boys walking down the street I was on starts shit talking another set of boys passing by.  The first reaction is of course, ‘Kids.’

The conversation gets a little more heated.  I start paying closer attention.  The instigator in the first group keeps saying over and over, ‘But you ain’t gonna do nothing!  But you ain’t gonna do nothin!’

There was a Mexican cat around my age in the parking lot as well.  We caught each other eyes; it was a telepathic ‘Oh shit, I know where this is heading.  I hope I’m wrong but…’

We turned back around in time to see that silver in the other boy’s hand briefly shine in the sunlight…

I yelled ‘GET DOWN’ and instinctively grabbed the two women nearest to me and pulled them to the ground.  People started scattering. And running.

Today, the gun ‘worked’, in the sense that seeing it was enough to make the first boy and his crew run out of shooting range and make the obligatory ‘wait until next time’ threats.  No shots were fired.

When the adrenaline rush died down, there wasn’t much hanging around to take a second chance on being innocent bystanders in someone else’s beef.  The shock of it is worse than anything else.

This wasn’t Friday or Saturday night.  This isn’t ‘running with the wrong crowd.’ I’m not afraid of death, but this, in no way shape or form, was my fight.  This is just being in the right place at the absolutely worse possible time.

I’m fine, truly.  But tonight, again, I say the things I try to live by:

Make sure your family knows you love them.

Make sure your people know you’re down for them.

Chase your passions.  

Be your authentic self.

Live your life fully.

Love.

Because you have NO idea when your time will be up…

Philadelphia 76ers’ Allen Iverson calls for crowd noise during the final minutes of the 76ers 96-93 win over the Indiana Pacers Wednesday, March 12, 2003 in Philadelphia. Iverson led all scorers with 31 points.(AP Photo/Miles Kennedy) ORG XMIT: PXC106

Worked away from the camera lately, setting the baseline for my voiceover work.  Like being in front of the camera, you try to gravitate toward things you’re naturally passionate about, so for this I went to ‘The Book of Basketball’, the beginnings of black cinema, and luxury cars.

Enjoy.