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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Can Black American Muslims Be More Than A Hashtag?

See, the way this social media thing works is that a new event means a new hashtag will drop! Ramadhan, Eid, weddings, divorces (some times), a summer conference, an all-white or all-black Muslim fashion show, or an Imam who tripped/slipped/exposed his true (racist) feelings during a lecture, buzz words like Salafi/Sufi infighting, and of course Black Muslims dressing up and out will always create some catchy #hashtags. We follow those hashtags and beam with pride: Black Muslims showing out! We reppin' for the internet streets to see! We want the world to know that we are proud, we have numbers, and we are tired of being everybody's after thought. #WeBeenHere they said! Stop speaking for us we done told ya'll. Let us in and give us a seat at the table we have demanded from Muslim organizations. Follow the hashtag - it's the clapback! It also makes us feel good and represented. But then eventually the hashtag fades away. Another Friday rolls around in your real 'hood Muslim community and it's all the same. You're sitting there on the musallah and a few will offer you a weak, fake salam! Don't they know WE out here trending? Don't they know our hashtags moves the crowd! Nah, they don't!

Out comes your smartphone so that you scroll through your Black Muslim #hashtag glory.....

Why are things still same we ponder? Black American Muslim Millennials know so much! We have accomplished so many things! We own the hashtags, but not the masajid! We own the degrees and certifications, but not the schools or universities! We been had passports and done took the trips to Dubai and Hajj (twice or more), but we don't own any homeless shelters, recidivist programs, gardens, Muslim organizations or parenting programs.....but the hashtags - now, we got those things on lock! We will text and type until Fajr creeps up on us about the injustices we face, the narratives of our lives and why they matter, and our golden, celebrity filled history. And those things do matter. And speaking up is necessary. But when do we prioritize our issues and put in the work to start fixing us? When do we Black American Muslims that are educated secularly and/or Islamically, skilled in trades and arts, internet savvy, internet activists, business owners, homemakers, and elders come together, make a plan, cooperate and start getting things done? When are we going to stop craving for the everybody to see us and love us? When are we going to come together and work together? When are we going to put in the #work?

Black American Muslim Twitters, Facebookers, Instagramers and Snapchaters have become kings and queens of hashtag marketing. It's impressive when it goes down. We beam with pride, but let's be very clear, pride don't pay the rent or change our daily realities. Our parents and elders carved their own lanes in our hoods: they built communities with masajid, schools, and businesses -- working together. They helped stamp out crime. They collaborated and shared responsibilities. They put on programs, started the dawah outreach programs in the prisons - all while selling oils and incense,. They helped spread Islam and raised the second, third, fourth, and fifth generations of Muslims. They lived Islam in America and they were happy to do what they did.

We moved up though! Yes, we have a house outside the hood, Muslim children growing up isolated, subscription to Muslim groups on social, the Lexus 300 GS and a new shayla from Saudi that matches a Coach bag that you paid outright for - but it's not enough! Some of us mean muggin' every time jumu'ah rolls around! The khutbah at the immigrant run masjid doesn't make sense to you, the same three classes been offered for the last 20 years, folks coming in and out of the community so you can't build anything meaningful and you really don't even want to waste your time trying. Times have changed. #Hashtag Bring back the old days.

We are a depressed, dissatisfied, and marginalized group of Muslims partly because our generation of Black American Muslims continue to fail to work together! We have no loyalty, we're not too cool with eachother (you know we will throw our own off it at the flick of button) we are certainly fresh out of patience, we're petty, too tired, we are on band wagons, and too bougie! We love to hashtag our talents and beauty because ultimately, that's all we got energy for! We are tired of being tired, but won't work together because that requires that we deal with our own issues by ourselves! We rather not work together because we don't want to change too much - we rather others to change for us! Cooperation also requires some level of sacrifice and sacrifice takes more effort than hashtagging and internet conferencing!

We are talented. We are important. We are excellence. We are hard workers. We are also more than a hashtag. But we are stuck. We are broken. We need us.

And hold fast all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His grace ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make his signs clear to you: that ye may be guided. Al-Imran 3:103

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