I didn’t think I’d live to see those two things juxtaposed. But what’s happening on both sides of the Atlantic seems to be just that. After release of the notorious ‘Somewhere in America’ by a group of hipsters (called Mipsters featuring all women) , the Brits have come out with their own rendition of Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’. And the verdict?
Britain – 1, USA – 0
The ‘Muslim Happy’ is a breath of fresh air and beautifully weaves together the unique tapestry that is Muslim Britain. Men and women from all walks of life, with their cheerful countenances and heartwarming smiles, come together to deliver a performance that is bound to make you…well, happy.
Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad. Music video.
Those are two other things I never thought I’d see together either. Amongst the video’s most salient features is the inclusion of Muslims from a multitude of facets. Writers, activists and athletes; teens, young adults and new couples – be it professions or demographics, ‘Muslim Happy’ has it all covered. From the ‘elders’ like Cambridge Professor Abdul Hakim and Fuad Nahdi of the Radical Middleway, to hip-hop artist like Tanya Muneera Williams and Mecca2Madinah. It even has a dose of Hollywood with former actress Myriam Cerrah who played next to Kate Winslet in Sense and Sensibility.
Perhaps what distinguishes this project most from its predecessors is that it’s not tainted with an explicit social agenda that the filmmakers are trying to drive. Agendas such as ‘normalizing Muslims’, ‘Muslims are cool’ or trying too hard to show that ‘we are just like anyone else’. [Ed Note – Just like the Harlem Shake, this is a video trend across the globe as seen in this video from Somalia, Gaza and this one from Saudi (where apparently only the men are happy), and others from across MENA ]
Sure, these messages come across from the video, but I see that as a side effect, not the central purpose. The main motivator for the project seems to be the simple fact that the filmmakers found it fun to do; in their own words, “We like to smile and laugh, and we had an intention to make other people smile and laugh.” Smiling is certainly in urgent need of revival amongst Muslims; if there exists a public relations savior, that, would have to be it.
The pursuit of happiness is an elusive motif that has dominated human consciousness for much of history. Any claim to attaining it is a bold one, and the filmmakers at HonestyPolicy make no hesitation making it.
British Muslims are you happy with this?