Hisham Aidi is the author of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture, a study of how music—primarily hip-hop, but also rock, reggae, Gnawa and Andalusian—has come to express a shared Muslim consciousness in face of War on Terror policies. He hosts a conversation with writers Somali-American writer Abdi Latif Ega and poet, playwright, essayist and short story writer, Rashidah Ismaili Abubakr.
“[T]he richest cross-fertilization that you have between American music and Islam is in hip-hop, that begins in the early ’70s with the group Afrika Bambaataa, which emerged in 1973. They formed the Zulu Nation to combat street violence. And they begin to draw on Nation of Islam teachings. And then in the early ’80s you begin to get references to Malcolm X.” Hisham Aidi
Hisham Aidi is a Harlem-based writer. He teaches at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is the author of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture (Pantheon 2014); Redeploying the State (Palgrave 2008); and co-editor, with Manning Marable, of Black Routes to Islam (Palgrave 2009).
Abdi Latif Ega is a Somali-American writer whose work engages history, literature and research of the new African world. His novel “Guban,” combines the immediacy of journalistic reportage with the imaginative expansiveness to explores the clash of modernity, urban civilization and the traditional in Somalia.
Rashidah Ismaili Abubakr is a poet, playwright, essayist and short story writer. Her life has taken her from the Benin port city of Cotonou to the artistic hub of New York’s Lower East Side. She was active in the Black Arts Movement in New York City in the 1960s and currently works as a writer and supporter of diasporic artistic expression.