A new documentary by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, New Muslim Cool tells the true life story of Hamza Perez, a Puerto Rican American hip hop artist who converted to Islam at age 21, pulling himself off the streets to become a community activist and rising star. Forging unlikely friendships with a Jewish poet, a prison chaplain, and many others along his surprising spiritual journey, Hamza faces challenges with a message of hope, finding his balance in a world that never stops changing.
The broadcast premiere of New Muslim Cool took place on 23rd June , 2009, on the American channel PBS, a day after its preview screening in Lucknow, India.
The film was presented in partnership with Active Voice and Specific Pictures
For more information about the New Muslim Cool community engagement campaign, visit www.activevoice.net
EARLY PRAISE FOR NEW MUSLIM COOL
Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle reporter and author, Al' America
New Muslim Cool is a spellbinding documentary - a film that gives us the full dimension of a Muslim American man who's a rapper, educator, father, husband, and reformed idealist. His gang days behind him, Hamza Perez now tries to steer people away from that life. Perez's own life - hectic, challenging, full of love of his faith and his growing family - takes him on a circutous path that Jennifer Taylor captures with a sensitive and unblinking eye.
Salman Ahmad, UN Goodwill Ambassador and acclaimed rock musician with Junoon
New Muslim Cool moved me deeply both on a visceral and spiritual level. Like me, Hamza's Muslim-American identity envelopes religious, racial, cultural, and nationalistic frontiers. It weaves the complex threads of his American story in a beautiful and sensitive way.
Ambassador Akbar Ahmad, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University
Almost single-handedly, New Muslim Cool challenges the distortions, stereotypes, and misunderstandings around Islam. See it for pleasure and a new outlook on Islam in America.
Dr. Ben Chavis, CEO and Co-Chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network
The temperature and resounding impact of New Muslim Cool is both hot and cool. While the film transcends race, ethnicity, class and religion, the settings, scenes and scope all reaffirm the universality of one humanity. New Muslim Cool, like hip hop culture, is all about irrepressible social transformation and empowerment.
Sylivia Chan-Malik, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkley
As a scholar, I am so excited to see a film about Islam in the US that demonstrates all the complexity and nuances of the Muslim American experience. I look forward to showing the film in my classroom in years to come and can hardly wait to hear what students might say about the intersections of race, gender, and religion that are highlighted in every frame of the piece.
Larry Kirkman, Dean, School of Communication, American University
What a show! Authentic, intimate, a true POV experience, a window on a culture that most viewers cannot imagine, and a powerful trigger for discussion and reflection by young people - asking what is family, religion, art, service, jobs, politics, freedom, interfaith.