Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Muslim Cool

The youth of Lucknow came together for an exclusive sneak preview screening of the American documentary-film New Muslim Cool at the University Grants Commission Academic Staf College, University of Lucknow, on Monday, 22nd June, 2009, a day before its world premiere on the American channel PBS, thanks to Open Space - Lucknow, which won the exclusive right to screen the film in Lucknow even before it got released in the US., through a competition held by the makers of the film, non-profit media strategy company Active Voice and POV, as part of their worldwide community engagement campaign aimed at promoting dialogue and discussion among diverse groups the world over. The film was screened by Open Space in collaboration with the Lucknow chapter of the student organisation AIESEC, which is active in 107 countries.

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


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.

1 comment:

Fareed said...

By watching New Muslim Cool, i got to know the real conditons of Muslims in America. The American Hip-hop singar has given important messeges of people alround the world.