Category: American Muslim


 

2pac

Many of you have watched me adjust to a life of order.  The weird days, the peaceful days, and the resentful days.  I’ve never been the hold on to anger type, really, but it’s human to look back at things you would do differently, knowing what you know now.

Today I was reminded of another cycle I’ve been breaking in real time; the place where you go from ‘intaking as much information as possible because you’re inquisitve/aware/woke’ to being overtaken by knowing so much.  Hitting the off switch, even in a time before we had all this ‘media’, is not one of the things I was taught; it’s something I’ve had to learn.  And relearn. And relearn again.

Make no mistake, I think it’s important to think about if x happens then y might happen, then z.  Obsessing over ‘z’ when x is still in play though, that’s a flaw of mine I own up to.

Getting more comfortable daily knowing when and where to hit the ‘off’ button, and turn my attention back to matters at hand.  Always a process, but the results are starting to show up.

So on that note, new week.  Track 1.  Let’s do this.

 

 

No post tomorrow, taking a daytrip shortly.  Feels like first vacation in my adult life where I’m not actually trying to ‘get away’ from anything; it’s just the right time since the summer will be full.

I’ve been trying to find the right words for where my head has been this year.  But a lot of my adjustment has been about (acting aside) not wearing my emotions on my sleeve. Not over explaining myself to people who aren’t interested in understanding. So I’ll try to keep this short.

Prayers to Isaiah Thomas and Todd Heap.  Prayers for Cleveland. A mutual friend of mine lost a close buddy this morning at 44; natural causes as far as they know at the moment.  So, more than enough reminders that we really don’t know how much time we have in total or how much time any of us have left.

So I’m appreciative to have worked until I could, in actor or meditation terminology, ‘be present’ at all times.  Lot of mistakes and bad things happen beyond my control, but I persevere.  And I enjoy life.

Wherever you’re at, or wherever you feel you’re at, I hope you can, or will eventually get to a place of peace.  If not for yourself, then to leave this world in a better place than you came into it.

Later.

 

 

 

humannature

Looking out
Across the nighttime
The city winks a sleepless eye
Hear her voice
Shake my window
Sweet seducing sighs

Get me out
Into the nighttime
Four walls won’t hold me tonight
If this town
Is just an apple
Then let me take a bite

If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why, does he do it that way
If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why does he do me that way

Reaching out
To touch a stranger
Electric eyes are everywhere
See that girl
She knows I’m watching
She likes the way I stare

If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why does he do me that way

I like livin’ this way
I like lovin’ this way

Why why
(That way) Why why

Looking out
Across the morning
Where the city’s heart begins to beat
Reaching out
I touch her shoulder
I’m dreaming of the street

If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
If they say,
Why, why, ooo tell ’em
Why, why does he do me that way
If they say why, why, cha cha cha cha cha cha
Why does he do me that way
If they say why, why, why, ooo tell ’em
Why does he do me that way
If they say why, ooo tell ’em
Why does he do me that way
If they say why, da da da da da da da da
Why does he do my that way, I like living this way
Why, oh why, why, why

 

 

Malcolm X kidding around with Muhammad Ali, New York, 1963

Another rotation around the sun nearly complete.  I’ve lived long enough to exist in Trump’s America.

Hooray…

Nearly all of us in life, will experience some personal and professional setbacks that screws up our plans.  I’ve lost more than one job, not from being fired but because the company as a whole went bankrupt.  I’ve had my fair share of family drama that crushed my spirit to the point of making me stop living my own life, so to speak.  In that way, I’m not unique in the slightest.

What makes me unique, at least in terms of identity politics, are my racial and religious identities.  In the Q&A I recently participated in, I was asked the question, ‘Do I feel being a Muslim has impacted my career?’  I’m paraphrasing, but my answer was ‘Probably.’

In my 20s, I worked at the Playboy Mansion, and had my own office on the Sony lot.  In the next phase, I’ve gotten to work with Issa Rae and Michael B. Jordan in their ascension, before they showed up on magazine covers.  So let’s be absolutely clear on this: I will never look at my life and say ‘Woe is me.’

But the answer is still ‘Probably’.  I can look back at both my personal life and my professional life, and see I’ve had more than a few opportunities to get to ‘the end.’  But the tradeoff if I would have made different choices had the feeling of crossing a point of no return in my relationships to my black friends.  Or to my Muslim friends.  Or both.

So I’ve sucked it up, and chosen to take the long way to achieve my goals.

I’ve leveled up in the last 365 days.  It didn’t literally take 20 years but it certainly feels that way.  I’ve noticed my mood swings one of three ways.  Most days I’m good; my ambition is more than enough to keep me focused on the next hurdle I aim to climb and what I need to do next.  On the good days, I can take pride in how far I’ve been able to go without destroying what I believe in.  On the bad days, I feel anger and resentment that I have to constantly hold myself and my decision making abilities to this Obama-esque level of near perfection.  My bad decisions aren’t as easily forgotten, my flaws aren’t shrugged off by either majority community that I respect but I’m not going out of my way to placate either.  The Game is the Game, but at this point I can see I will have a chip on my shoulder the rest of my days.  It is what it is.

At the end of the day though, I’ve fought and hustled and worked myself into a position where I get to live my life on my terms.  Not for one second do I take that for granted. Not for one second do I not recognize how rare that feeling is for anyone, let alone someone of my background.

I’m grateful and at peace with how much my life is the anomaly.  My fire still burns strong and I look forward to seeing what else I can achieve with the rest of my days.

Onward.

 

biggie

State of My Union Sunday night.  I’m being told some of you look forward to the annual #MalikWeek posts.  So I should warn you ahead of time, I have a week of signature songs lined up for this space, but beyond that I decided awhile ago I was going more subtle this year.  I’m crossing a number of important milestones off my list next week, but a lot of them aren’t necessarily social media friendly. Not that I’m doing this specifically, but ‘I opened a new IRA today!’ doesn’t scream the need for an Instagram post, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, speaking from the heart Sunday night on where I’m at mentally, and it’s still the weekend.  Perfect segway.

Have a good weekend!

 

 

jedisteps

So last night around this time I was in Texas with Aaron and my old professor Dr. Rodriguez talking about ‘Trojan War’ and the Business and life.  I’m familiar with Southern hospitality because of my roots but it was still a fun night for myself and Aaron and judging by the immediate feedback it seems the feeling was mutual.  I talked on a live microphone about a lot of the things many of you are used to hearing me say here: I’ve had an incredibly blessed life I wouldn’t trade with anyone else, I have more I plan to do, but the state of the world and my age has reignited my desire to be very active in helping the next generation do things I probably won’t see.

So short version I was on full Kenobi mode last night, thus today’s song choice.

Enjoy!

 

 

erykah

Feels like I’ve been living in my rage nonstop for months now. And I know I’m not alone.

This has been the first couple of days in a long while where I’ve been able to properly channel my anger and be balanced and focused on the work I’m trying to do.

So…we hustle with love music in the background again.

Enjoy!

 

 

gotham

As I’ve expressed to those close to me, I’ve officially made the transition from ‘being surprised/relieved’ at being happy and content most of the time, to now accepting this is my default attitude.

So as I have peace and optimism in my home, I can refocus my anger, resentment and theatricality in a constructive way, with the skills I’ve acquired over the years.

 

whitehelmets

Nominated for Best Documentary Short this year at the Academy Awards, ‘The White Helmets’ takes the audience (especially in America) a front row seat to a place we hear about daily on the news but don’t actually experience.

The White Helmets are a voluntary rescue group in Syria who go into the heart of the war zones and attempt to save as many lives as possible, without asking which side they were fighting on.  The film follows the group as they save lives, while also following them to Turkey where they train (both physically and psychologically) for what they’re destined to see.

If you’re reading this, you most likely are aware that the filmmakers and the White Helmets themselves are not allowed into this country (and thus will not be at the Oscars, win or lose.  However you feel about that, you should take 40 minutes out of your day or night and appreciate what these guys are doing.

Now streaming on Netflix.

 

stanleyjordan

I came to the realization a few days ago that most likely for the rest of my life, a major aspect of my private life will no longer be private.  And in the short term it’s shaping national security for the worst.

If that’s the way it is, fine.  But I’m going to be a lot more active in controlling the narrative.  So as much as I like entertaining purely for entertainment’s sake, I’ve started screenwriting again very very specifically to my voice.

Got in the car this morning and this was first song that came through the jazz station.

Perfect sign.

Enjoy!