Representation is everything. Seeing celebrities that resemble me in a powerful limelight creates the connection that I, too, can be powerful and successful. TBH, the progress that's been made in media representation has been inspiring. There's never been more Black Muslim celebrities, influencers and leaders out there to look up to.
So, I'm here to celebrate them and all their glory. A few specific Black Muslim figures have stood out to me, quickly becoming idols of mine that I'll admire (and fangirl about) forever. Here are four unapologetically strong Black Muslim idols that you need to stan immediately:
This actor has been part of some huge projects that are getting the recognition they deserve. He won the Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) for his roles in Moonlight (2016) and Hidden Figures (2016). During his acceptance speech, he told the story of his conversion to Islam. His family was actively involved in the Christian faith, however, he broke the news to his mother, telling the audience, “We put things to the side, I'm able to see her, she's able to see me, we love each other, the love has grown.” He is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and continues to empower those that are part of both minorities, Black and Ahmadi.
Ilhan Omar made news when she became the first Somali-American Legislator in the United States during the Elections in 2016 (!!!). She is a politician from Minnesota and earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from North Dakota State University, where she was also a member of the Muslim Student Association. Throughout her career, she has advocated for civil rights, environmental issues, the $15 minimum wage, and education-related issues. Talk about goals.
While Akon may have seeped out of the limelight, his impact in Africa is something that will continue to light up every day, literally. The Akon Lighting Africa project started in 2014 in efforts to provide electricity to Africans through the use of solar energy. The organization now successfully provides lighting to 14 countries and reportedly employs the future generation so that they can learn how to install solar equipment. Along with this project, Akon established the Konfidence Foundation. According to the foundation's website, their main purpose is to 'improve communities through promoting health, improving education and support impoverished families'.
This young actress is known for her role as Zoey in the show Black-ish. Not only does she portray a beautiful character on a show that addresses many social issues like racism, police brutality, stereotypical narratives, and the LGBTQ+ community. She posted on Instagram about her multiracial and interfaith household that raised her in response to the Muslim Ban. She describes her Iranian-Shia father and Black-Christian mother as a love that showcases “how interconnected we truly are.” Go ahead with your bad self, Yara.
Black magic is real. Muslim magic is real. These four individuals have proven to engage in their social issues and be able to effectively discuss them while sticking to their roots. We stan!