Baraka Blog

Growing thoughts

Characteristics of a social entrepreneur – Resilient

Peace Rally - WDC

Peace Rally - WDC

My brother is a social entrepreneur;  he has been since he was 16.  Before he entered college, he had already written, composed and sang his first song. He sings for social justice, peace, a common language and an Arab-American Identity. His words have long inspired me and hundreds if not thousands of others. He is constantly working on his music, thinking of new ways to fund his next album, collaborate with other artists and raise funds for causes he believes in.  All this, he does on his own time.  He is an architect by day and a musician/peace advocate by night.

Omar faced many challenges, none have deterred him from his goals.  He had to change our family’s perception of hip-hop, the medium he chose for his message. His friends were intimidated by the US government’s stand on freedom of speech. The “you’re either with us or against us” rhetoric during the Bush era escalated their fears and caused them to worry about their association with his lyrics that called for justice. He faces a warped public perception in the Middle East that welcomes hip-hop artists who sing the praises of a consumer lifestyles and objectify women but doesn’t have an ear for social hip-hop and messages of hope.  He deals with US homeland security at airports on route to performances for having an Arab identity.  All that, combined with funding challenges and a day job!

Omar continues to sing, speak at schools, universities, radio and TV shows; his perseverance is admirable. He is committed to creating a language of peace, a world of collaboration and justice. He sings to raise funds for children in Gaza and to support other artists. He is achieving his goal one performance at a time.


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