Streets Bring the Heat in Jettison Quarterly
September 24, 2010
Check out my article on the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)’s Takin’ It to the Streets in the Fall 2010 issue of Jettison Quarterly on pages 102-107. Below is an excerpt; it can be read in full at Jettison Quarterly:
It was one of the hottest days in a summer full of them, but even the blistering sun couldn’t compete with the hot rhymes blasting through Chicago’s Marquette Park.
Camped out beneath that scorching sun, the organizers of “Takin’ It To The Streets” weren’t deterred, greeting festival attendees with enthusiasm as they arrived.
Standing before an eager crowd of hip-hop lovers, one woman shouted: “Welcome everyone! How blessed are we to have this beautiful sun today?” The crowd responded with a cheer; I rubbed my already red arms, wishing I’d brought sunscreen.
Started in 1997, “Streets” is an annual summer festival organized by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, or IMAN. Featuring a diverse lineup of musicians, artists, public speakers and vendors, “Streets… aims to bring the arts, spirituality, and a passion for justice together to unite diverse communities and inspire social change.”
Though “Streets” is a Muslim-led festival, its attendees were a diverse group – people of all races, religions and ages mingled in the International Bazaar, watched international graffiti artists collaborate on faith-inspired murals, listened to speeches by public figures such as U.S. House of Representatives member Keith Ellison, and applauded wildly when rappers Freeway and Brother Ali took to the stage for a surprise afternoon performance.
For Asad Jafri, one of those responsible for organizing the nation’s largest Muslim-led festival, the diverse mix couldn’t be more appropriate. Continue reading at Jettison Quarterly.