French Muslim Hip Hop and the Curse of the Moderate

This podcast has a section at the end (about 42 mins in) that includes an interview with Hisham Aidi.  He’s talking about French Muslim hip hop and how it is positioned by the French government, in particular, and how that affects different artists, including the curse of being endorsed as a ‘moderate’ Muslim hip hop artist.  I may have something more to say about it in time (if you’re lucky), perhaps when I have read Aidi’s book.  He put up a video playlist of Muslim European hip hop, too (with commentary by Charles Monroe-Kane).

There really are so many thread of migration, history, identity, and marginalisation that can be played out through hip hop.  The ways that it is endorsed or else rejected by government and legislation is an interesting dilemma.  And shit, of course.

There is a slight personal interest in this one for me as I am Sufi (and I am not, who needs a label …) and I have performed spoken word and been through a few incarnations as a performer.  So, Aidi talks about the way that some Sufi artists such as Abdul Malik have been endorsed, and that their universalism can be played.  Something I think about a lot.  Haven’t solved that one at all:  I feel and experience things spiritually that I know can be completely played by others politically.

Anyway, this is very timely given the whole facade of free speech discussion around Charlie Hebdo.  Who’s free, and when?  To say what?

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