Muslims Are Having A Hollywood Moment


Is changing on American television and online streaming services. There are more Muslim characters and more nuanced portrayals of Muslim communities NPR's Leila Fadel starts to story on set in Los Angeles. It's one of the last days of taping for a new web series called east of LA brea, all ROY. It's a show about being your twenties and figuring out life, and it's told through two main characters roommates who are Muslim, but that's not the entirety of their storylines says Samir Gardezi, the creator of the show it's about paying rent. You know, having a dead end job. I'm having issues with you know, your your family life going to families the first project from powder cake, the company founded by director writer and actor Paul fig known for films like bridesmaids and the recent Ghostbusters east of LA brea follows the friendship of two women a black Muslim and Bangladeshi American will slump in gentrifying, Los Angeles Gardezi says, it's one American Muslim story. There's so many different versions, and my hope would be that everyone gets a shot that tell their version of a Muslim Americans story. So it doesn't feel like, oh, this is the one show that needs to make it all the way. We had to the next location for taping an LA mosque the scene deals with racism black Muslims, sometimes face within Muslim communities. The character. I show Hudson played by Geoffrey Maya is praying when her phone starts ringing with a song like this guy. You gain the director tells the other actors how to react and ladies look at her little shady in the next scene. A woman skull Tessin, assuming she's a recent convert and tells her her prayer doesn't count. We have lessons every Thursday one in conflict with it's something that happens an immigrant Muslim, assuming she knows better. And it's one way the show explores identity, and he's still brea creator Samir Gardezi says he's glad there are more projects involving Muslims. But he says there isn't going to be one breakout moment, but hopefully, there will be many moments and the more stuff that's out there, even the bad stuff. The better. That's that is the flexibility and the privilege that I think white communities is that they're allowed to fail and Hollywood and no one really bad tonight. It's like, okay. It's okay. You can you can jump back up and here let's throw millions of dollars again for you to do your next project. So that's the point that we have to get to. It's a struggle a lot of communities of color and minorities face in Hollywood, the two thousand eighteen Hollywood diversity report from UCLA found that despite progress minorities are still under a presented in key jobs from lead actors to director. Two writers right now, there's an appetite for shows about Muslims in parts because Muslim writers like our daisy who's written on modern family and outsourced are creating their own content and their support for it. He got a grant from pop culture collaborative to create the series and some of the interest is Hollywood reacting to anti-muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment from Donald Trump after he announced his candidacy in two thousand fifteen the Hollywood bureau of the Muslim public Affairs Council got a lot more popular the phones were ringing off the hook that sue Abadie. She leaves the bureau and consults with studios and production companies on creating more authentic Muslim characters were up against decades of storytelling. That is inaccurate many times that is racist often and very stereotypical among the tropes women are chattel and don't have identities or Muslims only portrayed as the gas station owner or the taxi driver Obeidi says, it's an uphill battle. But today the list of characters on mainstream television. In is longer than she's ever seen a Muslim third on Grey's anatomy, a superhero on DC legends of tomorrow, a LGBTQ hijab e Muslim on on the bowl type a pork loving alcohol. Drinking Muslim on master of none. When writers come to her for advice. Obeidi reminds them that these Muslim characters might be the only Muslim some people ever meet. She tries to help them. Get the language, right? Like scripts that used the term alot Akhbar, which means God is great. So you've seen many TV and film projects that have LA walkabout being used in very violent scenes how baiting a Goshi it's studios to try to get them to change it translated or offset it with happy scenes like saying God is great at a wedding or a dinner party because for Muslims. It's a beautiful phrase portrayed as ugly. You know? So someone Sears hook bud when they're dining out. And all of a sudden, you know, they're calling nine one one because they think of family is doing. Something bad. When all they're saying is God that was a damn good meal hawk bud. And I've eighties excited by many of the projects now being written by and about Muslims for large audiences. There's soons eight a Palestinian American comic with cerebral palsy writing an autobiographical sitcom for ABC Moammar a comic with the recent Netflix special and Rami Yousef who I met on a night. He's headlining at the Hollywood, improv. He jokes about how in L A's. Suddenly people think Islam is cool juice shot of getting some juices ten song. It's woman I'm telling her about Ramadan. And you know, she works in my God that sounds so I wanted to do with this weekend. She said Coachella. The New Jersey native is following in the path of many comics who've gone from stand up to sitcom like Seinfeld. Rami Yousef is writing ten episodes of show cult Rami for Hulu it will reflect who use of is in gypsy in American a practicing Muslim who like most people wrestles with trying to be good after a stand up performance. He jokes about how he and his friends approach religion a little like a menu. We call it a LA carte where we're all kind of just picking and choosing like wool. This is my deal with God helps Rami reflects how all kinds of people have their deal with God. I like to get dark. I like to get weird. I like to get uncomfortable. And I feel like when an immigrant family, or when a family that is maybe, you know, group that's not well represented when people try and put them on television. They go out of their way to make them. Look amazing and look perfect his show do that. I just was really excited about the idea of making Muslims. Look imperfect and not create something that was like some PR thing, but create something that was you know, really just a realistic portrayal of what we go through. How we are. He says that people connect with others when they see their flaws not when their hero of villain or exactly like everyone else

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