Muslims have played a specific role in shaping American popular culture for more than 40 years, through a culture we call hip-hop. Much like the 5 pillars of Islam, hip hop has 5 founding elements, the 5th element of which being Knowledge of Self, an idea borrowed from the 5% Nation.
The Muslims who have influenced hip-hop have come from a wide spectrum of practice and intersectionality with Islam itself. It includes men and women from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, but of course with a base in Black communities. Individual that associate themselves with the 5% Nation, the Nation of Islam, the Ahmadiyya Movement, Moorish Science Temple, Sunni, Shia and Sufi Traditions have all made up this thriving American-born culture that has spread across the globe. This is important because under the banner of hip-hop what it means to be Muslim in America has expanded to create a beautiful tapestry of identities as complex as hip-hop itself.
Footsteps in the Dark is an original dance production commissioned by Words Beats and Life. Footsteps in the Dark showcases the work of American and International dancers of Muslim backgrounds that specialize in various contemporary forms of dance connected to Hip-Hop culture. Get into the mind of Creative Director, Asad Ali Jafri in this interview! Click any of the images to see what our exciting featured performers are bringing to the stage from and inspired by their homes across the globe.
We are booking performances in the month of February. Please contact us at email@example.com to request a date and a quote.
Dance has always been a part of Muslim cultures across the globe, some of which has even had spiritual implications to the movements. This is especially true for numerous Sufi traditions that find their origins from Senegal and Mali in West Africa all the way across to Malaysia and Indonesia in Southeast Asia. Today, some of the most compelling Hip Hop dancers in Europe, North Africa and the US – poppers, lockers, breakers, choreographers and those innovating new styles – happen to also be Muslim.
Footsteps In The Dark: Journey of Hip Hop Movement aims to not only showcase some of the best Muslim Hip Hop dancers, it also thematically explores the sometimes delicate nature in which Hip Hop and Dance intersect with Muslim communities. We cannot deny that there is also a social taboo in some Muslim communities around the very idea of dance, a taboo that often unfairly becomes the domain of patriarchy and misogyny. This is our response from a global Muslim Hip Hop dance community to create a broader understanding of who we are beyond a single identifier.
Founding Creative Director: Asad Ali Jafri I Creative Director: Simone Jacobson I Artistic Director: Amirah Sackett I Producer: Mazi Mutafa / Words Beats and Life
Footsteps in the Dark is a part of “From Sifrs to Ciphers: Hip Hop is Muslim” and is supported in part by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the National Endowment for the Art and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.