Brother Ali: A Voice For The Suffering | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Brother Ali: A Voice For The Suffering

Play associated audio

Rapper and activist Brother Ali has just released his fifth studio album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, which was created during a self-imposed two-month exile. A practicing Muslim, Ali writes that he was renewed and inspired by a pilgrimage to Mecca, as well as the Occupy movements and uprisings in the Middle East.

The songs on Ali's new record combine messages of hope with no-holds-barred stories of the disenfranchised. As the title implies, it strikes a balance of mourning and dreaming, as Ali invites listeners to take action.

"We are at a time of really extreme social misery and suffering and pain," Brother Ali tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And so half of what I do on my album is focus on how bad things really are for a lot of people who are suffering silently."

While the album's cover could stir up controversy — it depicts Ali kneeling in prayer on the American flag — Ali says he intends no disrespect.

"It was meant to be a literal depiction of the album title," he says. "That the things that we believe about our country — freedom, justice, equality, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, all people being equal — that these things are on the ground, these things are suffering, and so I am kneeling and praying for it. The meaning behind kneeling in this reverent way and praying is only a problem if [people] have believed this lie that somehow being a Muslim and being an American are mutually exclusive."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

In This Test Kitchen, The Secret To A Great Cookbook Is Try, Try Again

Yotam Ottolenghi and his partner have a thriving food empire that includes wildly successful cookbooks. We go inside their London test kitchen as recipes are put through their paces.
NPR

Bugs: Not What's For Dinner — Until They're Tastier, Maybe

A U.K. researcher says the environmental argument for eating bugs isn't working on its own. She says chefs and policymakers must "make insect dishes appeal as food, not just a way to save the planet."
NPR

Fact Check: 3 Questions Answered About Bill Clinton's LLC

Does Bill Clinton have a secret corporation that he is using to hide money? Is it intended to pay a lower tax rate? Or is it something else entirely?
NPR

Questions Remain About How To Use Data From License Plate Scanners

The scanners are standard equipment for police, but what's not settled is what happens to all the data collected. That data can link people to certain addresses and flag unusual activity.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.