The Middle Geeks: Tala Ashe of ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’

Tala Ashe, who plays our favorite TV superhero Zari Tarazi, joins Swara for a discussion of the next Legends of Tomorrow episode, “The Ex-Factor!” They talk about the importance of Iranian, MENA, and Muslim representation, where Zari’s journey goes this season, and the experience of working on a show as exciting as Legends. Enjoy! 

This is a podcast form of the interview published here for The Nerds of Color.

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The Middle Geeks Interview: Reem Faruqi and Fahmida Azim of ‘Amira’s Picture Day’

In the second of our interview series, author Reem Faruqi and artist Fahmida Azim join us to discuss their new book, Amira’s Picture Day, out now! We discuss the impetus for this delightful children’s book that takes place on the Muslim holiday Eid-Al-Fitr, celebrating the end of Ramadan, and what else inspired them in the creation of this wonderful story, from the beautiful art to the deeply embedded cultural elements Enjoy listening and buy your copy of Amira’s Picture Day today!

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Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and Mosul

The Middle Geeks Episode 20: Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and Mosul

We’re back with a LOT to discuss. Joining us is a prolific cosplayer, streamer, and friend, Jasmin! We discuss Jasmin’s cosplaying and how the cosplay community has been doing in quarantine. We also discuss the announcement of a queer Ramadan rom-com coming out next month, highlights of the MCU announcements from last week, and how MENA people are WINNING as directors for Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight, why we’re so excited for these series, and our thoughts on the castings (and on the ones that are controversial), and discuss Netflix’s Mosul as our movie of the month. Enjoy!

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Seeing the Light with ‘Blinded by the Light’ Director Gurinder Chadha

Recently, The Nerds of Color was honored to be able to interview some of the cast and the director of Blinded by the Light, an excellent movie about how music can inspire us to chase our dreams and overcome the hardships of growing up. To countdown to the movie’s release on August 16, we’ll be releasing a series of interviews throughout the week chronicling what the dedicated filmmakers behind the film had to say about culture, music, racism, and dreams. To continue this series, we had the privilege of sitting down with acclaimed director, Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham) to discuss the film and the power of dreams. Here’s what she had to say:

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Taking on the “Badlands” with ‘Blinded by the Light’ Star Aaron Phagura

In a summer of legendary musician-inspired stories (e.g. Rocketman and Yesterday) Blinded by the Lightthe new film from Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, genuinely separates itself from the pack. This is a film that’s, not only about  legendary music (in this case Bruce Springsteen’s music), but also speaks directly about how the power of music can provide encouragement for chasing ones dreams and promote acceptance within conservative cultures. Recently, The Nerds of Color was honored to be able to interview some of the cast and the director of the film. Thus, to countdown to the movie’s release on August 16th, we’ll be releasing a series of interviews throughout the week chronicling what the dedicated filmmakers behind the film had to say about culture, music, racism, and dreams.

Among them, we were fortunate enough to speak with actor Aaron Phagura, who plays Roops in the film. In the film, Roops is a friend the film’s protagonist, Javed (Viveik Kalra), and introduces him to Springsteen’s music, inspiring Javed to seize his dreams of being a writer. Here’s what Phagura had to say about Springsteen, and his hopes for what audiences will take away from the film:

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Rogue One Subverts Asian Male Stereotypes — and That’s Important

Much has already been written about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — how it has added new context to the existing Star Wars franchise, how it is a movie ultimately about war.

Rogue One is also a movie that features three men of Asian descent — two East Asian and one South Asian — and, far from relying on stereotypes of “Asian Masculinity,” in fact subverts those stereotypes in a way that feels revolutionary for Western media. (Needless to say: spoilers.)

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Hollywood’s Dream of a Faceless Rumi

Earlier this month we learned that David Franzoni, the Oscar-nominated writer and Oscar-winning producer of Gladiator, is working on a new screenplay based on the life of Persian poet and scholar Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī.

We also learned, in an interview with The Guardian, that the writer would like Rumi to be played in this film by a white man.

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Why We Need a Muslim-American Superhero

Originally posted at Elle.com

I admit: I’m a lightweight comic book geek. I was always down for X-Men, Batman, and Wonder Woman. I just watched The Wolverine and Man of Steel* on an ultra-long international flight. My biggest gripe (don’t worry it wasn’t Henry Cavill)? Every story revolves around white men saving the world. So, when I heard that Marvel Comics’ new series, Ms. Marvel, features a 16-year-old Pakistani-American Muslim superhero, I was elated.

In the series, set to debut February 2014, Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old from Jersey discovers her latent superpowers — she shape-shifts — setting in motion her meteoric transformation into Ms. Marvel.

At the heart of it though, she’s just a regular teenager, right?

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