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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Black. Muslim. Proud. Celebrating popular figures in media

Celebrating popular figures in media Illustration by Abbas Ghor/The Collegian
Celebrating popular figures in media
Illustration by Abbas Ghor/The Collegian


The Black community has a slew of Muslim figures that have accomplished many things. Some of which are sometimes classified as the best in their respective categories. In the 1960s, the media portrayed Black Muslims as extremists, describing them as dangerous outsiders. But now, it’s become a common practice in the U.S. seeing that a fifth of U.S. Muslims are Black, with about half being converts to Islam, according to Pew Research Center. There are multiple Islamic sects, and some of the major ones are Sunni, Shia, Sufis, Baha’is and Ahmadiyyas. Each figure listed celebrates their faith, making it a major part of who they are. These are award-winning athletes, singers and actors. Each of them has individually exceeded in what they’ve sought out to accomplish. Maybe even went further than initially anticipated. They all have left a legacy that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. 

Muhammed Ali

“I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.”

Muhammad Ali’s nickname is “The Greatest.” That already says a lot about what he accomplished in his lifetime. He was a professional boxer, ranked as one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time. Initially, his name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., but in 1964 he dropped it, saying it was his “slave name.” He won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in the light heavyweight division and was the youngest boxer at 22 to defeat a reigning heavyweight champion. 

Ikram Abdi Omar

“I’ve never claimed to be the perfect Muslim girl; I’m just being the best version of me that I can be.”

Ikram Abdi Omar was the first hijab-wearing model to be featured on the cover of Vogue. Initially, Ikram was going to receive a degree in biomedical science, but in 2018, she quit to pursue modeling. As a model, with her face featured in magazines and advertising ads, it’s shown other Muslim women that the industry is for them as well. In an interview with the BBC, she reflected on how many people doubted her at the start, and now, she’s done advertising campaigns for Nike and Burberry.

Mahershala Ali

“I always hope to be a better person tomorrow than today.”

Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2019. He began on television but his prominence in film grew after starring in “The Hunger Games” film franchise. He’s been constantly touted as one of the best actors of the generation, especially after his performances in “Moonlight” and “Green Book.” On top of winning two Academy Awards, he’s won three Screen Actors Guild Awards, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy. He’s currently slated to portray Blade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Ibtihaj Muhammed

“Some people won’t understand your hijab, Mama had said. But if you understand who you are, one day they will too.”

In 2016, Ibtihaj Muhammed was the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab in the U.S. team during the Olympics. She is also the first female Muslim American to win an Olympic medal. She is a saber fencer that started at the age of 13. Because of her abilities, she received a full-ride scholarship to Duke University where she continued competing. Mattel, a toy company, honored her by making a Barbie doll that used her likeness, making it the first Barbie to wear a hijab.


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