New Muslim Cool

Hamza Perez

Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s film “New Muslim Cool” tells the story of Puerto Rican rapper Hamza Pérez and his struggle to turn his life around as a young Muslim.


Pérez, a former drug dealer, moves to the rough-and-tumble mean streets of the North Side of Pittsburgh to start a new religious community and restore his broken family. As part of the hip-hop duo M-Team, he delivers his message of faith to other young people.  But when the FBI raids his mosque, Pérez must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world.


The film screens on Nov. 17 at International House as part of the Scribe Video Center and The Black Lily Film & Music Festival’s “Planet Rock: A Hip Hop Film Series.”


Ride along with Pérez through the streets, projects and jail cells of urban America, following his spiritual journey to some surprising places. Watch as he starts reaching for a deeper understanding of his faith, discovering new connections with people from Christian and Jewish communities.


“New Muslim Cool” appeared on POV on PBS in June, in the documentary competition at the San Francisco International Film Festival and was an official selection at the Rooftop Film Festival and Lincoln Center Independents Night.


The screening takes place at 7 p.m. For more information, call 215-387-5125 or visit Tickets cost $5 for Scribe and I-House members; $8 students and seniors; $10 general admission.




Originally published on November 12, 2009