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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Read about Season 3 and the upcoming Spoken Word event

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,

My next project deals with the human voice and nothing more. Imagine HBO's Def Poetry but with Muslims talking about issues that Muslims can relate to InshAllah. Unlike Def Poetry, there is no cussing, no unIslamic behavior, and no excuse (not even for the sake of being "artistic") to go outside the boundaries of Islam. Instead, I think it can still be both entertaining and powerful while staying halal if it is done right.

First things first. Funding. Doing it chessy is easy but I don't want to go that route. I want to raise the bar InshAllah so we need proper funding to pull it off. Our t-shirts are sold inexpensive (try finding a Muslim shirt company selling long sleeve for $12...yeah right!) so its not really the best way to make money but it has helped keep UF going. The inexpensive price makes it more affordable but isn't necessarily the best way to fund raise for projects. So I have been trying to come up with funding ideas to help make the next project a reality InshAllah.

We're flooded with emails asking for a Season 3 but the problem is since I'm touring so much, it doesn't make it easy. I think if I sleep less at night, I can pull off doing videos during the week since I'm missing so many weekends (keep in mind that I work during the week). I'm really motivated by this project because I think this project can be very beneficial InshAllah. So my idea is to do a Season 3 and allow Muslim companies to sponsor each episode (of course those companies need to be halal product/services if they want to have their logo come up before the video). I will take those funds and put them towards funding the Spoken Word Event InshAllah. That's one idea. The next idea is to get sponsors to sponsor the actual event and that would help us even more InshAllah.

Again, there are so many expenses. Getting the venue (the place to film this) the professional stage, production crew, and of course a camera crew including director to film are just some of the expenses. Another big expense is flying in the best poets from around the world plus their hotel stay which adds another expense and the list goes on. I may be a volunteer in all of this but I can't expect others to work for free (volunteer help gets you volunteer quality people) so I need to take care of those who are helping.

Nevertheless, all we can do is make duah and put in the effort InshAllah and pray that Allah (swt) makes whatever is best for us in the hereafter successful InshAllah. If its not meant to be, its not meant to be. If it is, then it is. Either way, I say Alhamdulillah.

Anyways, while we are working on figuring the backend (funding, location, crew, etc..), I need to start working on the front end: Finding the talent. Unlike just poetry, the delivery is just as important as the words. If you notice in the poetry clip, the audience is cheering at times, thinking at other times, etc...its not about rhyming but its about the power of words, the power of the human voice, the power of the human experience. Of course, we need to keep it Islamic and to keep it all clean InshAllah because we are doing this to please our Creator, and not get ratings. I think one thing that has drawn such a large audience to the Reminder series is that it deals with issues that we Muslims face and that is what I'm looking for in this Poetry Event. I'm not looking for stuff that YOU as the artist can relate to but I'm looking for powerful words that can inspire the audience...get people thinking....to make a postive impact InshAllah. If you being an artist is more important than the event, then this event isn't for you. This isn't about you or I but rather the audience. Millions of people watch the Reminder and they really don't know much about me, where I'm from, about my family, about my background, etc....why? because the Reminder isn't about Ali...its about the Ummah which includes Ali. Do you know what I'm saying?

That being said, if you think you got what it takes email me info@ummahfilms.com a link to your clip (you can upload it on google video and make it private if you don't want the world to see) with you doing your spoken word piece. I'm going to choose the best poets from around this world and my goal is broadcast this event to millions InshAllah using the contacts that I have established with Ummah Films (so this will be a good launching pad if you want to get your work out there). Remember, your delivery is just as important as your words so if you want to see some examples of the delivery of poets on Def Poetry, just search for "Def Poetry" on YouTube and check it out.

your brother in Islam,

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At September 11, 2007 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good alhamdulillah.I think you could maybe use both, getting people to sponser the event, or also getting there logos before the videos, they could maybe choose?

At September 11, 2007 1:39 PM, Blogger Baba Ali said...

Yes InshAllah, that's a good idea.

I have heard a lot of Spoken Word and I actually use to do it myself on a consistent basis on stage but that was a long time ago. I was still in the transition stage of learning about Islam so almost of my content didn't really deal with Muslims. Unfortunately, as talented as some Spoken Word are, I find that the issues are more general and news related while many of our social issues and domestic issues are not written about.

I hope this project allows many of the undiscovered talented Muslims to get discovered InshAllah. There are so many talented people but its hard to get noticed since the web is so vast and we're all spread out. Ummah Films has Alhamdulillah attracted a big following and the Reminder series has been watched millions of times. Honestly, I don't find anything special about it but I think one thing that seperates it from the rest of the pack is the content and how it is delivered.

we want to follow the same standard (relative content by halal means) with this event but of course, its more serious as each poet has their own style.

At September 11, 2007 2:34 PM, Blogger iMuslim said...

Assalamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullah

Love the idea about the poetry event, mashallah.

Maybe you should contact the people at Islamic Poetry - they could place an ad on their site, for poets who would be interested in attending?

I don't really know many talented artists, except Brother Dash, and Amir Sulaiman. They could probably put you in touch with more artists?

I do think corporate sponsorship is the only viable option, unless some super-wealthy, super-generous Muslim philanthropist decides to dump some spare cash your way. INSHALLAH! :D

May Allah grant you success & Ramadan Mubarak! :)


At September 12, 2007 6:44 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

As Salaam Alaikum & Ramadan Mubarak,

I think the sponsoring a video and event will go over great. My business is interested in sponsoring a video.

I'll pass the word along for the Spoken Word event to everyone in Atlanta. We have great halal Muslim talent that you would not believe.

InshaAllah, you will have a purifying Ramadan and the Ummah will come closer together.

ma salaam


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