CAIR-NY: How One Muslim American Uses Hip-Hop to Heal Wounds


Aspiring rapper Cyrus McGoldrick is working to change the dialog around anti-Muslim sentiment in America.

When Cyrus McGoldrick takes the stage, he's not himself. McGoldrick raps as The Raskol Khan, often with the Freddy Fuego Sextet, an evolving group of musicians based in Harlem. The name Raskol is based on the main character in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. McGoldrick describes the first part of his pseudonym as "a rebellious force in society who's trying to do the right thing but struggles with his environment and self." Khan, Arabic for King or Chief, "channels a vestige of an imperial mindset, a long history of conquest," he says. It is a history McGoldrick hopes to cleanse himself of.

McGoldrick is not famous. He's not revolutionary. He is a college student, a musician, and a writer. He is also Muslim in America. McGoldrick is part of the first generation of young Muslim Americans to go through their adolescence and early adulthood post-9/11.

"9/11 was the first day of high school," McGoldrick recalls. McGoldrick says as he sits in his rent-stabilized one bedroom apartment in Morningside Heights, the far upper west reaches of Manhattan. [Full-disclosure: McGoldrick and I first met when we attended high school together.] In the years since Sept. 11, he feels there has been a weakening of the Muslim identity. . .

McGoldrick also frequently helps CAIR-NY (Council on American-Islamic Relations) organize events in the city. (More)

 


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