In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Grande Strategy

Review: Deen Tight, A Muslim Documentary Film





2/25/2011
Meinhaj Hussain

Deen Tight is a supreme effort to bring out the story of Muslim Hip Hop artists in the US of A fighting against the propaganda of hate from the mass media and entertainment industry, portraying Islam as violent and evil. They not only have to fight a David and Goliath battle against the mass media and the entertainment industry but have to confront the conservative forces from within the Muslim community that would shun the use of music.


The film proives a viewpoint from inside this group of Muslim renegades and revolutionaries, indicating the issues they face and what their lives are made of. We look into the lives of Mutah Beale (formerly Napoleon) trashing music and calling the hip hop industry satanic to DJ Belike Muhammad who takes Hip Hop as yet another tool for proselytizing the faith.

The documentary is filmed on location with Muslim rappers, slam poets, DJs and break-dancers following them through the things they do. The documentary revolves around the perceived conflict between traditional religious ideals as well as issues related to the impact of Western Pop culture on today’s Muslim youth.

About the Director

The director, Mustafa Davis, is an American convert to Islam. His background and upbringing has been closely associated with the music and artistic experiences in the United States. He considers this culture an integral part of who he is and looks to bridge the perceived conflict of his new faith and his culture.

Mustafa recalls that when he first learned that music was a taboo practice for Muslims he without hesitation broke his tapes and CD’s. He stopped playing the piano and listening to music. However, he could not adjust to living without music and eventually returned to it, avoiding “negative” music. This film is thus reflective of his struggles and those who have a similar life experience.
Criticism

This documentary is thus of great interest – at least for those who are like myself; I too used to be a musician, having had a band and played the guitar. In fact, I have grown up in a family of musicians many of whom became well known at some point. My own elder brother is a professional Blues / Jazz guitarist. Perhaps Brother Mustafa Davis is guilty of ethnocentrism when he finds this an issue as if exclusively for converts and Western or American ones at that.

There too was a time for me when I tried to reconcile music which I could not live without and Islam, which too I could not live without. Many times have I vacillated between listening to music and not listening to it. Only after a supreme effort and years of experimentation have I learned to live without music. Looking around in the “Muslim” societies I have lived in – and these are many – including Bangladesh (my home country), Pakistan and Malaysia, I can say that the Muslim youth of today face the same challenge.

The issue appears to me to be a very deep and spiritual one. Explaining this in detail would detract us from the review at hand and thus I will be brief here at the risk of not dealing with the explanation thoroughly. Every man has a void in him, in his heart, his nafs, his soul. This is like a cup. In life, we fill it with what we wish – in the present world we fill it with objects, cultures, etc. Islam attempts to fill it with Islam: more specifically the ideals, ethics, dreams that emanate from its guidance. We attempt to fill ourselves with the ideal of worshiping the eternal Creator in the perfect example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, to fill ourselves with Islam, we also have to empty our cup, otherwise whatever we pour will tend to overflow. This is a great spiritual challenge that many of us are unaware of because we are too busy with the rules, doctrines, dogmas, aqeedah of Islam and forget the deeper aspects.

Film Cast

AMIR SULAIMAN
HBO Def Poet

LIZA GARZA
HBO Def Poet

POP MASTER FABEL
Rock Steady Crew Popper

NAPOLEON
Ex- Rap Artist (Tupacʼs Outlawz)

MOHAMMED ALI (AEROSOL ARABIC)
Graffiti Artist

ADISA BANJOKO
Pioneer Hip Hop Journalist

KUMASI
Black Wall Street Rap Artist

TYSON
Rap Artist

ANAS CANON (FAIR GRIME)
DJ / Producer (Remarkable Current)

FANATIK
DJ

KIDRAGON
Table Manners DJ

DJ RAICHOUS
Table Manners DJ

BARRY DANIELAIN
Trumpeter

AFTER HIJRAH
Hip Hop Collective

HAMZA PEREZ
Rap Artist

USAMA CANON
Muslim Chaplain

Deen Tight on Youtube
Deen Tight on Vimeo

Deen Tight on Flikr
Website
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