“New Muslim Cool possesses a kind of beauty that sneaks up on you: it is in Hamza's humility, in the dignity with which he confronts so much of his misfortune, in his commitment to rehabilitating drug dealers because, in his mind, no one else will."
— The New York Times
The Green Room invites you to join us for the screening of the award-winning documentary ‘New Muslim Cool’ which follows the story of Puerto Rican-American rapper Hamza Pérez as he starts down his new path as a young Muslim: rebuilding his shattered family, creating a religious community in Pittsburgh and taking his message of faith to other young people through his hip-hop music.
Following the screening, we will be joined online by the film’s director, Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, for conversation and questions.
Puerto Rican-American rapper Hamza Pérez pulled himself out of drug dealing and street life at the age 21 and became a Muslim. Now he's moved to Pittsburgh's tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family and take his message of faith to other young people through hard-hitting hip-hop music. But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and himself. New Muslim Cool takes viewers on Hamza's ride through streets, slums and jail cells — following his spiritual journey to some surprising places in an America that never stops changing.
About the Filmmaker
Jennifer Maytorena Taylor is an award-winning documentary producer and director of character-based social issue feature films and community journalism projects. Her work has been shown in top film festivals and on national and international television outlets. Taylor has held fellowships at the Sundance Institute, Banff Centre for the Arts, the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where she earned a Masters Degree. She is a recipient of the James D. Phelan Art Award for her body of work, two Emmys, and multiple festival awards. A former dancer who loves Brazilian pop, honkytonk, comic books, tacos, taco trucks, Mad magazine, urban hiking, cooking, modern design, and flat-ground bike riding, Jennifer also works as an Assistant Professor in the Social Documentation Masters program and the Film and Digital Media Department at the University of California at Santa Cruz.