Nijla Mu’min’s poetry preserves her home by painting portraits with words.
She speaks about childhood memories of the East Oakland Black Muslim community. She shares notes on her time spent hanging out by Lake Merritt. And she questions what’s come of the East Bay neighborhoods where she socialized as a young person.
All of her memories are woven together to show appreciation for the culture that raised her.
I first befriended Nijla years ago while running in the same creative Bay Area circles, since then I’ve watched her craft flourish. From her film, Jinn, winning the SXSW Special Jury Recognition Award for Writing to writing and directing for acclaimed shows, Queen Sugar, the Blindspotting series, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and Insecure.
But way before all of that, Nijla attended UC Berkeley, where her experiences in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People Program left an indelible mark. She still writes poetry to this day.
In late April, Nijla shared some of her work with the Bay Podcast’s Maria Esquinca in celebration of National Poetry Month.
This week we’re sharing that episode with you.
Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.