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Episode 12: Poems and Pop Songs Might Not Save Us, But They Help

Do you ever feel like you exist in a world that doesn’t have space for someone like you? In Episode 12, Ikhlas interviews her good friend Yasmine Muhammad about her struggle to find her voice within Islam. We also speak with writers and poets Fatimah Asghar, Safia Elhillo and Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib about how and why they use their art to shine a light on experiences that young Muslims aren’t always encouraged to share.

Yasmine Muhammad: Sailor in the U.S. Navy, communications specialist and mother of two.

Fatimah Asghar: Poet, educator and creator of the new webseries Brown Girls.

Safia Elhillo: Writer, poet and co-editor (with Fatimah Asghar) of HALAL IF YOU HEAR ME, a collection of writing by Muslim women, gender non conforming, queer and trans writers. Safia’s first full-length collection, The January Children, is coming soon.

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib: Poet, essayist and MTV cultural critic. His book of poetry, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, is available now.

Episode details:

(1:05) Ikhlas and Makkah talk about who you should be following on Twitter, why you should go see James Baldwin’s “I Am Not Your Negro” and the role Muslim artists play in affirming the identities of young Muslims.
(11:30) Ikhlas speaks to her longtime friend from Yasmine Muhammad about growing up as an aspiring artist and not seeing herself reflected within the Muslim community.
(25:00) A chat with artists Hanif, Fatimah and Safia on why they do the work they do.
(31:30) We’re a little obsessed with Zayn Malik and what it means to be Muslim.
(37:45) Where, unlike in your parents’ home, Fatimah talks about desire and her new web series Brown Girls. (Somehow, Zayn Malik also manages to come up again)

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Intro and Outro Music:
RSPN by Blank and Kytt, CC-licensed:

Transition music:
Broke For Free by Night Owl, CC-licensed:

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