Category: American Muslim


Where to begin?

I finally made it to the Playboy Jazz Festival this year. I finally made it to Strawberry Fields. I had a strong feeling that John was going to play ‘Continuum’ live at the Forum, but I was too deep in the eye of the hurricane at that moment to go to that show.

But, because it’s 2019, one of my good friends live streamed the performance so I was sort of able to experience it live anyway.

I’m forever connected to my favorite city to visit and won one of the biggest awards of my professional life there. Telling a story about a black family. An angry black family. I was reminded I have always had friends in Gotham and places to crash whenever I feel like visiting. I took the train to pay my respects to Malcolm and Betty. I’ve outlived my hero now and may be at the beginning of my legacy to the community.

‘1 out of 30’ is the very public thing, but my success means I try to plant the next seeds immediately. I generally don’t go for announcing charity work, but I was able to ‘help’, however small, in the black Muslim community, in Syria, in other places, in a way I haven’t before.

I visited my favorite city to visit of my youth where I now have friends, which gives me a new incentive to go back more often. I’ve done New Years Vegas, the Vegas Show, the Bachelor/’Hangover’ weekend, UFC Vegas weekend. Now it’s about Fam. As it should be at this point in life.

The professional pedestals I was put on are nice; many of you have embarrassed me by reminding me you put me on a pedestal a LONG time ago. When I appreciated the flattery, but I just wanted to be an anonymous twenty something free to make the same mistakes that other twentysomethings could make without lifelong repercussions. Someone asked me recently if I regretted not holding myself to this standard sooner, and the answer was an immediate no. I needed to figure out how to laugh everyday. I had to figure out how to have fun and enjoy myself when so many things are designed or set up for me to not win. When so much of just living as myself in this business I’m passionate about and in this country I call home is just flat out depressing. I had to figure out the difference between ‘I get along with pretty much everyone’ and ‘these are the people who are passionately in my corner, who choose me and who fight for me, even when I’m not in the room’.

Now we’re here. Malik X as the young homies call me. Overwhelmed with gratitude one more time this year as I reflect on how blessed I am, and burning with passion to completely live up to the potential of all those who believe in me.

Onward.

No movie review to start this week but here’s a video from Vanity Fair interviewing ‘The New Hollywood Guard’ of writers trying to expand the narratives you see.

You may see a very familiar face among those interviewed.

Enjoy!

https://video.vanityfair.com/watch/the-new-hollywood-guard-writers/

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 07: (L-R) Vishnu Vallabhaneni, Lena Waithe and Malik Aziz attend the AT&T Filmmaker Mentorship Program Premiere at NeueHouse Los Angeles on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AT&T Filmmaker Mentorship Program)

‘1 Out of 30’

Written by Malik Aziz

Directed by Vishnu Vallabhaneni

Produced by Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani

An AT&T Hello Lab Short Film

Enjoy.

So, for those who missed the post yesterday or just want to see it on its own, here’s the trailer for ‘1 Out of 30’, the short I wrote for the AT&T Hello Lab Mentorship Program.

Trailers can overhype or oversell the wrong things to pull you in, but bias aside, this one is pretty accurate in teasing what’s coming to you in a couple of weeks.

Enjoy!

Two weeks from now, ‘1/30’ goes live to the world.

Here’s a roundtable that got the class back together to introduce you all to the trailers for each of the short films.

Part of a special group, have a special mentor, in a special moment.

Enjoy!

Episode 7 of the behind the scenes making of the AT&T shorts takes you to the set of ‘Postmarked’. Angela wrote a beautiful story and Malakai is a committed director and if you watch film and television at all you’ll probably recognize an actor or two who appear in this short.

Enjoy!

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!

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.