Some Sunday reading news–Ajam Media Collective is launching a new book club!
“‘The same rebellion, the same impatience, the same anger that exists in the hearts of the dark people in Africa and Asia,’ Malcolm X declared in a 1962 speech, ‘is existing in the hearts and minds of 20 million black people in this country who have been just as thoroughly colonized as the people in Africa and Asia.’ Four decades later, the hip-hop artist Talib Kweli gave voice to a similar Pan-African sentiment in the song ‘K.O.S. (Determination)’: ‘The African diaspora represents strength in numbers, a giant can’t slumber forever.’
Linking discontent and unrest in Harlem and Los Angeles to anticolonial revolution in Algeria, Egypt, and elsewhere, Black leaders in the United States have frequently looked to the anti-imperialist movements and antiracist rhetoric of the Muslim Third World for inspiration. In Black Star, Crescent Moon, Sohail Daulatzai maps the rich, shared history between Black Muslims, Black radicals, and the Muslim Third World, showing how Black artists and activists imagined themselves not as national minorities but as part of a global majority, connected to larger communities of resistance. Daulatzai traces these interactions and alliances from the Civil Rights movement and the Black Power era to the ‘War on Terror,’ placing them within a broader framework of American imperialism, Black identity, and the global nature of white oppression.
From Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali to contemporary artists and activists like Rakim and Mos Def, Black Star, Crescent Moon reveals how Muslim resistance to imperialism came to occupy a central position within the Black radical imagination, offering a new perspective on the political and cultural history of Black internationalism from the 1950s to the present.”
Sohail Daulatzai is the founder of Razor Step, a creative media lab that works at the intersection of art, politics, and culture. He is the author of Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom beyond America and co-editor of Born to Use Mics, a literary remix of Nas’s album Illmatic. He is the curator of the exhibit Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop, and editor of the limited edition, companion commemorative book of the same name, which includes an interview with Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), essays by Chuck D and Sohail Daulatzai, the work of Jamel Shabazz, Ernie Paniccioli, and others, as well as album cover art, photography, flyers and other ephemera.
He has written liner notes for the 2012 release of the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set of Rage Against the Machine’s self titled debut album, the liner notes for the DVD release of Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme and the centerpiece in the museum catalog Movement: Hip-Hop in L.A., 1980’s – Now, and his other writings have appeared in The Nation, Counterpunch, Al Jazeera, and Souls, amongst others. He also curated the exhibit Histories Absolved: Revolutionary Cuban Poster Art and the Muslim International, which showcased the work of the Havana-based OSPAAAL (Organization of Solidarity with the People of Africa, Asia and Latin America) and their political graphic art of the 1960’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s with Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan and other Muslim majority countries. He is the founder of Groundings, a conversation series that has included Immortal Technique, Chuck D, Rosa Clemente, dream hampton, Robin D.G. Kelley and Jasiri X. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Program in African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. For more of his work visit returnofthemecca.com and openedveins.com. Follow him @SohailDaulatzai.
Don’t forget to RSVP! Link to form here.