Building Bridges: Black Muslims in America

Duke Performances and the Duke Islamic Studies Center seek to harness the successful momentum of our “Building Bridges: Muslims in America” project to expand and deepen its reach—expanding to include spoken word poetry in addition to music and deepening with a specific focus on artists from the African diaspora. By featuring American Muslims of African descent, the project aims to bring much needed attention to issues of anti-black racism and anti-Muslim bias already salient in the work and lives of these artists themselves. In so doing, we strive to deeply engage in a process of reckoning, consciousness raising, and reconciliation through poetry and music, but also through a process of historical contextualization of this tradition.

Featured artists

Amir Sulaiman

Amir Sulaiman is a poet, recording artist, Harvard Fellow, actor, screen writer and producer born in Rochester, New York. His poems cross subjects of love, tragedy as well as what it means to reconcile humanity with the unprecedented trials of modernity. He has performed his works across the US as well as many other countries including England, Belgium, Senegal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Australia, Iran and the Netherlands, and continues to tour world-wide. His recently published book of poetry, Love, Gnosis & Other Suicide Attempts met with critical acclaim, in addition to his latest album "The Opening," the third in a unique trilogy project, following "The Meccan Openings" (2011) and "The Medinan Openings" (2012). Amir was first introduced to a National audience in 2005 when he was featured for two seasons on Russell Simmons' groundbreaking series Def Poetry Jam on HBO.

Sadiyah Bashir

Sadiyah Bashir is a freelance writer and award winning poet. Her work has been commissioned by Penny Appeal USA and Apple, she has also performed for international media outlets such as Al-Jazeera. Her first self-published book entitled “Seven” explores trauma and triumph through the lens of Black Muslim womanhood. And is currently working on a second manuscript documenting the history and lives of Black Muslims in America.