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Brother Jesse: The new video is awesome. What inspired this remix with a Muslim twist?
Akilah Nehanda: Thank you! It’s all God. I was inspired to do this remix because there’s a group called Deen Squad who I’ve seen on youtube. They are two Muslim brothers by the name of Jae Deen and Karter Zaher who post music videos of songs on the radio but replace the words with substance and give it an Islamic twist. I said, “Hmmm, I can do that!” (smiles). And so I decided to represent for the sisters who are also into good music and striving to be righteous in this world. The cool thing is Karter Zaher recently saw my Rihanna Remix video and said it was awesome. I was hype.
Brother Jesse: What’s the core message in the lyrics and visuals? Who are you trying to target?
Akilah Nehanda: The core message is to put God first and the visuals exemplify the quote “Accept your own and be yourself” said by The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. My target has always been young people and young girls in particular. I want them to know that you can be fashionable, have fun, and still look trendy without compromising your morals, standards, essence or core values. All the women in my videos are always young and fashionably covered so that the world can see that we black girls are also advocates for modesty.
Brother Jesse: Why did you select the particular location for the video shoot? What’s happening in each scene?
Akilah Nehanda: I chose four locations. When you see me wearing the pink outfit I’m in front of several Black owned businesses which I am a strong supporter and advocate of. I’m on the patio of my favorite coffee shop in Houston, Tx, Kaffeine Coffee located on Almeda Road. and I’m also filmed dancing outside and looking at clothes inside of Melodrama Boutique. The scenes where myself and the sisters are praying is located at an actual Mosque in Houston, Tx. The scene where the two young men are walking is outside of a liquor store on the corner showing the realities of the type of world we are exposed to. And the scene where the sister in red is dancing is also in front of the Black owned business Melodrama Boutique.
Brother Jesse: I noticed you’ve been doing a lot of touring this year already. How has that been? And should your fans expect more of it?
Akilah Nehanda: I actually released the video in O’hare airport in Chicago, Ill. while waiting for a flight back home. I had just performed for an event the night before at Chicago State University. It’s been fun and I’m constantly learning about myself and how to improve as an artist to be at my best for my audience. So yes, I have been performing anywhere I can and my fans should expect WAY more travel. God willing this is only the beginning.