Left of Black is a weekly webcast hosted by Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal and produced by the John Hope Franklin Center of International and Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University. DISC has been honored to have some of its invited guests featured on Left of Black.
Left of Black | Richard Brent Turner on Black New Orleans
New Orleans persists as the premiere hub of black Creole culture in the U.S., preserving a direct connection to traditions ranging from the first & second lines in jazz funerals to the ongoing practice and performance of Black Indian tribal customs. Richard Brent Turner, the author of "Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans" (Indiana University Press, 2009) and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa joined host Dr. Mark Anthony Neal to discuss the culture and music of Black New Orleans.
Left of Black: S10: E3: Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh
Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal is joined in the studio by Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh. Mumu Fresh’s “regal combination of black power and Native American pride” (NPR Music) became most apparent on 2017’s pliant Vintage Babies LP, capturing her and collaborator DJ Dummy dreamweaving in and out of upbeat soul jams and activist-inspired dirges. As “a divine music healer” (Rolling Out), Youssef, or Mumu Fresh, grew up pivoting between genres and styles — singing gospel, jazz, and African-inspired songs with her mother in an African-American Muslim household in Baltimore, and gleaning religious practices and songs from her Choctaw and Muscogee grandparents. By age 11, Youssef was transcribing and memorizing Wu-Tang Clan and Black Star lyrics — a practice that would inform her development as both an emcee and vocalist. Following a GRAMMY nomination for her vocal work with The Roots, and recording as the featured artist on the DJ Jazzy Jeff-produced Chasing Goosebumps II, Youssef has blossomed into a well-respected musical force.
Left of Black S9:E19: Sylvia Chan-Malik on A Cultural History of Women of Color and American Islam
Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal is joined in the studio by professor Sylvia Chan-Malik, author of Being Muslim: A Cultural History of Women of Color and American Islam (New York University Press, 2018), which Zareena Grewal describes as a “ fascinating cultural history of Islam in the United States will surprise readers with its insights and subtleties of argument. By centering the lives, labor, and perspectives of US American Muslim women, and Black Muslim women in particular, Chan-Malik makes a powerful case for conceptualizing Islam in the US in terms of its foundational blackness and the religious opposition to racism and sexism.“
Chan-Malik is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. In Being Muslim: A Cultural History of Women of Color and American Islam she “explores how U.S. Muslim women’s identities are expressions of Islam as both Black protest religion and universal faith tradition. Through archival images, cultural texts, popular media, and interviews, the author maps how communities of American Islam became sites of safety, support, spirituality, and social activism, and how women of color were central to their formation. By accounting for American Islam’s rich histories of mobilization and community, Being Muslim brings insight to the resistance that all Muslim women must engage in the post-9/11 United States. From the stories that she gathers, Chan-Malik demonstrates the diversity and similarities of Black, Arab, South Asian, Latina, and multiracial Muslim women, and how American understandings of Islam have shifted against the evolution of U.S. white nationalism over the past century.”
Left of Black S9:E10: Oddisee (Amir Mohamed el Khalifa) Talks The State of Hip-Hop and Trump’s America
Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal is joined in the studio by acclaimed rapper and producer, Amir Mohamed el Khalifa also known as Oddisee. Oddisee visited Durham and Duke University for a weeklong residency in October 2018 as part of Duke Performances’ Hip-Hop Initiative. His albums include The Iceberg (2017), The Good Fight (2015), People Hear What They See (2012), and Starr Status (2006), among others.
Left of Black S9:E9: Muslim Cool: Race, Religion, and Hip Hop in the United States with Su'ad Abdul Khabeer
Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal is joined in the studio by professor, Su'ad Abdul Khabeer, author of Muslim Cool: Race, Religion, and Hip Hop in the United States (New York University Press, 2016), which Marc Lamont Hill describes as, “a desperately needed intervention within Anthropology, Africana Studies, and Islamic Studies” that “brilliantly spotlights how Black Muslim youth construct and perform identities that embody indigenous forms of Black cultural production.”
Khabeer is an Associate Professor of American Culture and Arab and Muslim American Studies and future director of the Arab and Muslim American Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is also the creator of Sampled: Beats of Muslim Life. Sampled, a one-woman solo performance designed to present and represent her research and findings to diverse audiences as part of her commitment to public scholarship. She runs a blog, Sapelo Square, the first website dedicated to the comprehensive documentation and analysis of the Black US American Muslim experience.
In Muslim Cool: Race, Religion, and Hip Hop in the United States, Khabeer illuminates how young and multiethnic U.S. Muslims draw on Blackness to construct their identities as Muslims. This is a form of critical Muslim self-making that builds on interconnections and intersections, rather than divisions between “Black” and “Muslim.” Thus, by countering the notion that Blackness and the Muslim experience are fundamentally different, Muslim Cool poses a critical challenge to dominant ideas that Muslims are “foreign” to the United States and puts Blackness at the center of the study of American Islam.
Left of Black S8:E17: Alsarah and the Sounds of Nubia
Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal is joined in the Left of Black studio by Musician and Ethnomusicologist Alsarah, lead singer and co-founder of Alsarah and the Nubatones, an East African retro pop music group that was in residence at Duke University.