While the Swet Shop boys are the new Muslim Cool, there’s a new book written by a Purdue University Professor Su’ad Abdul Khabeer whose new book ‘Muslim Cool‘ talks about the connection between Islam and hip hop in the United States. For more than ten years, Khabeer has worked with young Muslims, largely in America who are interested in art, fashion and activism. She would urge to think about all the things these young Muslims were doing through the lens of hip hop. She studied the overlaps and intersections between hip hop culture and Islam and black culture putting forth her perspective that all these cultures define what “cool” stands for in America.
Khabeer is a hip hop head and has also grown up in the environment and the situations she has studied through her research. She is Muslim cool. She says hip hop is the soundtrack to her life. She grew up in Brooklyn around the time hip hop was the coolest thing and Khabeer as a teenager connected with it deeply because it was meaningful to her in ways that only she as a black Muslim could understand. She picked up the nuances and references to Islam in hip hop and held on to them.
The hate crimes against Muslims has been on a rise and the US elections this year has been challenging and disturbing going by the rhetoric about Islam. The violence against Muslims is not just it; Donald Trump’s proposal on religion based bans to not let Muslims enter United States is shocking. The contrast how of Muslims are considered “cool” and are a big part of American culture while also being hated and marginalized is hard to digest.
Her juxtaposition of culture, music, politics, fashion and art in general is a great insight into what the situation really is and re-emphasizes the fact that art is always brings out the ugly and the good to the surface.