n Latin American Report - Versions and sub/versions of Islam in popular music of The Black Atlantic

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



Western scholars of Islam, particularly in the United States (US) have tended to project the image of Islam not only as negative but also as constituted by a single version and vision. In their own response to what they think are the distortions of Islam practitioners of Islam and those scholars who feel they are the defenders of Islam have unfortunately also depicted the politico-spiritual movement of Islam in black communities in the US as cohesive, nationalistic and ever the persecuted religion. In the process what has been occluded is that there are versions and subversions within Islam. Subversions exist as sub-narratives that confirm as well as contest the prototype grand narrative of Islam Subversive narratives of Islam also exist in the US as contestatory versions that complicate pretensions to a one-ness in Islam which is entirely felt and experienced in the same way: there are as many nationalist Islam popular musical narratives as much as these are fractured along gendered lines. These fissures in the narratives of Islam in the US as they are articulated in black popular culture, far from revealing the decline of Islam as a religious and political world view, actually suggest the richness of the phenomenon of Islam that has refused to be defined in monolith terms. The space of Hip Hop provides one amongst several cultural sites where these different shades of Islam are manifested.

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