Category: American Muslim


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.

My words are coming Sunday night.

In the meantime, one of the Office homies just put this video in one of our chats. Good people man. Again, I’ll speak on that Sunday.

In the meantime, this PSA…

Oh yes…

So, other than giving me bittersweet flashbacks of the young Moroccan girl who was the first one to call me habibi, I can’t say enough good things about the new Hulu series ‘Ramy’.

The premise is super simple, Ramy is a young Muslim American living in New Jersey trying to find his place in his own culture and his place in the world while making his way in modern day society. ‘Master of None’ came to mind for some obvious reasons but you quickly have to put that comparison away. Aziz’s story was/is about a young New York actor with only passing references to his Muslim heritage.

‘Ramy’ goes all in.

All in to the point where I know there are words and phrases and customs used for in jokes here that killed me that many of you may not realize why it’s funny. All in to the point that the personal life history of the character (the Muslim girl whose maybe ‘too’ traditional for you, the Jewish girl you connect with because, ‘not celebrating Easter’ for example, is a better bonding point than you would think, the white person whose a little too attracted to your ‘otherness’ and not interested enough in you as a person (the sister’s story), there was a lot of ‘Oh damn’ as I worked through the ten half hours. Let’s leave it at that.

The cliffhanger at the end of episode ten…I don’t know where we go from here. But I want to find out.

High recommend, even with my obvious bias.

I was worried I was catching this exhibit at the end of its L.A. run, but as it turns out, it’s here til September 1st.

For the L.A. folks, if you haven’t made it down to the Broad lately, I can’t recommend enough ‘Soul of a Nation’. The exhibit covers several decades of black art (up to the present), and how artists specifically have tried to use their platforms to express their own feelings of isolation and rebellion.

There are pieces that reference Dr. King of course. I was naturally drawn to the pieces that referenced Malcolm, Angela Davis and Fred Hampton. Even the photographs and some of the Black Panther materials are interesting to see for those of us too young to have lived through that time (even if you don’t think of them as ‘art’ in the traditional sense.)

I still feel fired up just thinking about it. Again, the exhibit will be here til September 1st; if you get a chance and you’re in town, must see.

‘Lyrically, I’m supposed to represent, I’m not only a client, I’m the player president.’

That is still the undisputed best closer in hip hop for me.

‘Shorty let me tell you bout my only vice; it has to do with lots of lovin, and it ain’t nothing nice…’

That might be my clear number 2…

Enjoy!