IRUSA has the privilege of calling one of Native Deen’s members, Naeem Muhammad, a member of our US programs staff. Logistically it was a cinch, fellow artists Abdul-Malik Ahmad and Joshua Salaam arrived from about an hour way. As for Naeem, well… he just walked up some stairs.
The group began in the late 90’s doing shows at Muslim Youth camps and eventually has catapulted itself throughout the Muslim world performing in over 60 cities worldwide. Along the journey they’ve had the company of Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), Sami Yusuf, Zain Bhika, Raihan, Outlandish and many more.
“We found that our target audience is Muslim families that are looking for this kind of great entertainment and in a sense it can also be open up to any family that’s raising youth that are looking for this kind of enrichment, empowerment and positive messaging,” said Naeem. “That was kind of our sweet spot as Native Deen.”
The trio discussed their growing endeavors in a new sweet spot, entertainment production. Headed by Vocalist and Producer Abdul-Malik, Deen TV is being built the internet’s ground up to further a mission to provide quality content for Muslim youth and families. This time around means creating a platform for an arriving wave of Muslim artists hungry for voice.
“Deen TV is moving forward. We have a great new studio in Herndon, VA. We got some good programming coming forward,” said Ahmed. “We did a show called Who’s Next, where we had artist do a talent competition. The top eight were given the ability to come in and work with us to produce projects,” Muhammad offered.
Deen TV has kept them busy. Running a full production studio has added a different element to their usual creative process. Joshua Salaam offered his thoughts on the day-to-day operations saying, “When you go on there and you see the videos that have been put together. When you see he’s training the young generation to do video editing and audio & visual, them getting mics and lighting together. So really check out Deen TV and you’ll see some of the visions of Naeem and Abdul-Malik.”
As questions linger around the wider community regarding timing of a new album they collectively agree that we’ll all have to be patient. Native Deen is a sum of three artists and all three have completed and/or been developing solo projects. It’s been a critical part of the creative process for them. Naeem described what opportunity lies in developing their unique sounds, “There’s a chance to see what each person brings to a group. Usually in a band there’s a lot of compromise, things that you may not be able to do or hold back so you can make room for others.” – Naeem
Joshua Salaam has finished a project of his own that deals with the soul and that is a Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary and with everything that is on Native Deen’s plate they collectively agree that an album is much needed but has to be accompanied with the patience they’ve learned to use.
“One thing is that Islamic Relief has been so supportive. So we need people to continue to support Islamic Relief,” said Ahmad.
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“What a Relief!” is the official podcast of Islamic Relief USA. Hosted by digital media specialist B.C. Dodge, IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” puts a human face on what’s going on in the world and how you can enact positive change in it. New episodes every week!
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