Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip-Hop and the Gods of New York

Wed, November 16, 2011 | AVAYA Auditorium (ACES 2.302), 24th and Speedway

6:00 PM

The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip-Hop and the Gods of New York
A public lecture by
Michael Muhammad Knight
Author of "The Taqwacores"
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
6:00 PM
AVAYA Auditorium (ACES 2.302)

The Nation of Gods and Earth, also known as "the Five Percenters," is a little known offshoot of the Nation of Islam. Organized in Harlem in 1964, their name derives from a Nation of Islam teaching that five percent of the people are "poor righteous teachers" who have to educate the oppressed masses. Their terminology, numerology, and racial beliefs—in which black men are "gods" and black women "earths"—have disproportionately spread far beyond religious circles and in to mainstream hop hop acts such as Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, and 50 Cent.

Michael Muhammad Knight is the author of the controversial best-seller "The Taqwacores" (2002), about a fictitious group of Muslim punk rockers in Buffalo, New York, which was made into a film by MTV Pictures. He has also written a memoir, "Blue-Eyed Devil: A Road Odyssey through Islamic America" (2006) and "Osama Van Halen" (2009), about punks who kidnap Matt Damon to demand more favorable depictions of Muslims in the movies. His latest book, "Why I Am a Five Percenter" was published by Penguin Press last month. He is currently a doctoral student in Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina.

Sponsored by: Islamic Studies Program, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, South Asia Institute

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