'New Muslim Cool': PBS Documentary Has Roots In Chicago

June 23, 2009

Author: Margaret Ramirez

Source: The Chicago Tribune


In the provocative documentary "New Muslim Cool" that premieres on PBS Tuesday night, filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor tells the story of Puerto Rican hip-hop artist Hamza Pérez, a former drug dealer turned devout Muslim.

The film focuses on Pérez, 32, and his Pittsburgh mosque, but the roots of "New Muslim Cool" lie in Chicago.

Taylor said her original idea centered on how some young American Muslims are using hip-hop music to create a new identity. During early filming in summer 2006, Taylor came to Marquette Park for "Takin' It to the Streets," the popular festival organized by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network.