What does your faith mean to you?
It’s a question often reserved for people whose religion is at the forefront of their lives, such as imams, priests or rabbis.
But something amazing is happening. As Islam dominates the news, journalists are asking this question to high-profile people from all walks of life. And this means that celebrities are talking faith and religion in the mainstream press like never before.
And many of them are rappers. Yep, MCs with the flow are tuning in to rhyme about what Islam means to them.
First up is Akon, the Senegalese-American superstar who’s worked with Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Eminem and Snoop Dogg, to name but a few. In a recent interview, he said: “I was born a Muslim. Now I am not in a position to judge any man and I don’t expect them to judge me as well, but no matter what decision you decide to make just do right by it. Because, at the end of the day, Allah is watching and he knows what is in your heart.”
Fellow American rapper Busta Rhymes chimed in with this, during an interview with Hollywood.TV:
“I live my life by Islam. At the end of the day, I think that’s pretty much what grounds me in the way that I think most people should be grounded. That’s just enjoying who you are as a human life, as opposed to trying to add all these other additive and preservatives to your perspective on life.”
More than 1.5 million people have viewed his interview on YouTube so far.
Not to be outdone on the faith question, even Ice Cube popped up with this one: “What I call myself is a natural Muslim, because it’s just me and God.” And Lupe Fiasco said this: “At the end of the day, we’re human. We have faults. We make mistakes. You know, that’s what the religion is for, to help you correct your mistakes.”
And hip-hop artist Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) had this to say: “I got my first exposure to Islam when I was 13. You’re not gonna get through life without being worshipful or devoted to something. You’re either devoted to your job, or to your desires. So the best way to spend your life is to try to be devoted to prayer, to Allah.”
Between them, they have millions of fans, so these rappers have an amazing platform on which to talk faith and religion. By doing so, they’re giving Islam visibility to communities not only in the US, but also across the world.
There’s no talk of them forming a Muslim rap-hip-hop supergroup yet, but, y’know, why not? That would be pretty cool.