Sweet Georgia Brown – Being Muslim In Augusta, Georgia

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Islamic Society of Augusta in Georgia. I had wanted to try something different in conveying my thoughts so I took a camera along with me and tried to video tape as much as I could.   What I came up with is below.  It’s my first attempt at putting together and editing something like this so I would very much appreciate feedback on it.   But don’t be too harsh though since I don’t really know what I am doing 🙂

The idea is that everyone of has a story to tell, and everyone of us can learn from hearing someone else’s story.  Our own lives and experiences can very much be shaped by the experiences of others, yet we regularly pass up on the opportunity for self development by not letting ourselves learn about someone different from us.   I personally believe that those individuals who will shape what Islam means in the American context exist in huge numbers – they just need to be pushed a bit to share their experiences with the rest of the world.

*as a disclaimer, there is some music in this

**as a second disclaimer, I made this with a hand held video camera.   So again, please don’t be too harsh 🙂

For those of you who like the video and/or enjoy the blog, please do share it via your own social networking circles (facebook, twitter, etc)

For those of you who would rather not watch a movie,  I’ll probably write something up about my trip in a couple of days inshallah.


40 Responses to “Sweet Georgia Brown – Being Muslim In Augusta, Georgia”

  1. 1 Aminah
    August 12, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Nice Video! I like the part when they talk about wearing hijab

  2. 2 Aminah
    August 12, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Also the part where she says “Do you know what pain is?” is funny!

  3. 3 Sonja
    August 12, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Yes! Everyone has a story, and we do need to learn from one another. Simple yet oh so difficult.

  4. 4 aneesa
    August 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    is it not haraam for you to have visited several places with a bunch of girls for whom you were not a mehram?

    • August 13, 2009 at 1:22 am

      jazakallah khair for your mindfulness and concern in ensuring that things are conducted in the most appropriate of manners.

  5. 6 SS
    August 12, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    First off, Georgia on My Mind was an excellent selection. I would have preferred Ike and Tina’s version of Proud Mary. The song’s intro is slow and probably long enough to comfortably replace the one currently in the film and it just sounds cooler.

    Transitions are good to have but it would be nice to switch them up with some blunt cuts. You can do with without making the film look choppy by placing the cuts at a rest in the song. Also, play around a little with the duration of the transitions, selecting an appropriate duration for the content of the slide.

    Also, you could try fading the music out to more of a murmur while people are speaking. (I’m thinking specifically of when the lawyer is first speaking. I was initially distracted from what he was saying by the music.

    You may also want to look into various film effects available with windows movie maker and similar programs. For instance, given the song, images, and filming locale, I kept expecting to see a little sepia going on. (sepia makes the film look sunny or “baked”) Play around with it but I think a little sepia would make the less than ideal camera work in the start of the film look more artys and less amateurish. (no offense)

    Another thing to consider is shortening some of the clips. For instance, I like how the camera lingered on the confederate flag but maybe you could shave a few seconds off that clip. Editing a clip to an appropriate length may save a clip from being too drawn out. This wasn’t a huge issue with the flag clip but I definitely started wondering why I was looking at the bald guy’s head for so long. I would have preferred to have actually seen the footage where he was talking while he was talking. If you really want to include some gratuitous head action, the Georgia on My Mind Reprisal would lend itself quite nicely (and was beautifully done!)

    Irrelevant but I loved the blue and gold hijab one of the sisters in the background wore… very cute

    Some of the audio clips overlap. If possible, this should be cleaned up. I could hear some of what was said, but I also missed out on a lot of it

    Just my two cents…

    On the whole, not a bad job at all

  6. 7 SS
    August 12, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    And how do you know that a mehram didn’t accompany those girls but remained off screen, sis? Let’s not assume.

  7. 8 Randa
    August 12, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    So appropriate for the project you are working on.


  8. August 13, 2009 at 12:37 am

    MashaAllah. Little longer than I expected-that was a real movie!
    I had a certain commentary on social things I noticed, but I will keep it to myself, other than to say that the South I know and grew up knowing wasn’t in your movie. Still, not bad for beginning effort. Keep up the documentary efforts.

    PS. Okay, you totally sound like a Black preacher to me, in your style. Why?

    • August 13, 2009 at 1:25 am

      I am not sure if my speaking style is a good thing or a bad thing 🙂 its just the way that i talk wAlhamdulillah. You can compare it to some sound files in higher quality on the ICNYU Khutbah Podcast by visiting our website here http://icnyu.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79&Itemid=5

  9. August 13, 2009 at 12:56 am

    bossman, really cool vid! I would have like to hear more from you next time. You know, a little bit of narrative and commentary to tie it all together. good work though!

  10. 12 SG
    August 13, 2009 at 1:06 am

    I love it! Mashallah you put it together so well and in such a short amount of time! Good choice of songs!

  11. 13 HM
    August 13, 2009 at 2:25 am

    It was nice to hear what the young sisters had to say. I would have liked to hear what the group of young brothers said as well, aside for the one at the airport. That way we could have heard what it is like for a teenage Muslim male with a beard in the South. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  12. August 13, 2009 at 2:48 am

    I believe that information is best digested when it’s succinct, yet has depth. Masha’Allah, this video was an excellent example of that.

  13. August 13, 2009 at 5:31 am

    and Isn’t it haram for you to go to Georgia? How did Russia let this happen?

    all jokes and random comments aside, I was in Jacksonville for the past 3 weeks, no confederate flags here, but its kind of similar. Only the African American population is huge here.

  14. August 24, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    First of all, thank you for coming.

    The video is good, but TwennyTwo is correct when talking about the social reality of Augusta, GA. Segregation by race (European-Americans and African-Americans) is the rule. Richmond County, which is the city of Augusta through consolidation, has “big city” problems that belie Ray Charles’s “Georgia on My Mind”‘s relaxing mood. There is an extremely high HIV rate, poor educational performance, high incarceration rates and poor environmental quality measures. Most of the people in the video live in Columbia County, the northwestern suburb of Augusta. Although it also has a lot of problems, the people there are on average wealthier.

    It’s home, though, and we should do what we can to improve it.

    An interesting aside is that many downtown monuments celebrate the Confederacy and segregationists.

    Woodmen of the World Greene St Monument http://greenestmonument.blogspot.com/
    Meriwether Monument http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=10170
    Augusta Confederate Monument http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=9673

    The state capitol building in Atlanta preserves similar monuments, reflecting Georgia’s split personality. http://www.sos.ga.gov/archives/state_capitol/LunchTimeHistory.html The Martin Luther King Center is just two train stops away. http://www.thekingcenter.org/

  15. 17 LittleLee
    December 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    lol. at my school there was only one muslims—me!

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Who is doing the thinking

My name is Khalid Latif. I work as the Executive Director and Chaplain for the Islamic Center at New York University as well as a Chaplain for the NYPD, New York City Police Department.

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