Ms Marvel, a superhero series about a Pakistani American who is discovering fantastic powers, made her debut this month. Understandably, it was difficult for many Muslims to control their enthusiasm.
But until Ms Marvel proves that you can create a solid TV about Muslims, often sensitive, nuanced and thoughtful, the sad truth is that there will hardly be much more where this came from.
That’s not to say I’m not very happy that an entertainment giant like Disney has dedicated serious resources to a series that revolves around a proud Muslim character. The fact that the show received so much praise proves that it was not only possible but also belated.
I am pleased with the many Muslim girls – and young people from all walks of life – who now have a world in which to seek refuge and gain strength.
Not to mention that the character Kamala is played by a Muslim actor, and other Muslim artists, writers and creators also contributed to the performance. who brought this concept to reality.
But Disney and Marvel rightly have a lot of characters. So, even with all of them exciting in the embrace of our diversity, how much time, space, and resources can we expect secular American society to continue to delve deeper into the diversity and history of Muslims?
For obvious reasons, a company like Disney can – or should not – expect to do so. Disney has to reach everything to its audience.
And then, of course, we don’t live in an ideal world.
Ms. Marvel is already generating suspicious online reviews and ratings, which is a clear indication of Islamophobia. Not to mention the cumbersome political calculations that a company like Disney has to make – some of its internal positions have already called for painful sanctions from external political forces. How much freedom does Disney have in times of Islamophobia and such great American polarization?
That’s why, while the latest Marvel series is a welcome improvement, we need more to truly humanize Muslims through popular culture. We need Muslims to tell their stories; to share the diversity, richness, and complexity of their communities — but with their voices so that those who have encountered Muslims only through witty messages should have a new point of reference.
This is all the more important given the extent to which the lack of humanization has helped to fuel tensions in places as diverse as India and France.
Don’t get me wrong: Mrs Marvel is a big step in the right direction. But how many more Muslim characters can we revive on our screens? How can they begin to resonate on a human level with a new generation of young global entertainment users? Also creating new role models for young Muslims, especially Muslim girls?
A big part of the solution is to give young Muslims the opportunity to become content creators themselves, to create their own stories. This is a mission to which I am committed.
Missing the examples I needed as a young Muslim made me believe that the next generation would not have to endure these challenges. That’s why I’m helping to launch the new Qalbox streaming service, a project for the world’s largest Muslim Pro app, which has been downloaded for $ 120 million.
Invest in empowering future generations of Muslim writers, producers, directors and actors, using digital tools to pass on skills and know-how that some take for granted, but which many marginalized communities unfortunately do not have to show cultural change. we needed it a long time ago.
And we hope to tell the most authentic Muslim stories and images in popular culture.
This is not only because there is a clear link between Muslim perceptions and hate crimes. But that’s why, as Mrs. Marvel makes clear, so many wonderful Muslim stories are just waiting to be told.
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