Cultural Arts Review: Kareem Salama

Posted on May 14, 2013 by


Music in our world today comes in many different varieties. Each and every person has their own preference and opinion on every type and style of music. Some may like pop music, rap, R&B, soul or country. With music, comes the stereotypes of the people who create their music or the listeners of that type of music. When people think of a stereotypical country artist, they think of dirt roads, trucks and cowboys. Another aspect many people don’t always consider when they think about their favorite artist is their religious views. In our world today, the views on Muslims are not very well respected. Kareem Salama is a newly famous artist who has broken the stereotype for all country artists. Kareem is now known to be the first American Muslim country music artist.

Kareem Salama was born and raised in Ponca City, Oklahoma. His parents had immigrated to the United States from in the late 1960’s to attend graduate school in America. Growing up, Kareem always made time for his music in between school and work. He usually worked on his music with a friend and producer Aristotle Mihalopoulos. Over those years his music had been inspired by a variety of things including his own life experiences, experiences of friends and family, and things he had read. Oklahoma, a state very well know for their country music, influenced Kareem to go with that style of music and explore it further. Kareem states in his biography, “Oklahoma, like me, is a place where cultures meet and dance. Oklahoma is a hybrid of Southern, Western and Native American culture and thanks to my mother’s insatiable desire to learn and experience all of it she made sure I was immersed in all of it. As a child, I went to Indian tribal powwows, heard country music artists at the county fair and watched my favorite cowboys at the rodeo every year. My mother would take us to nearby western Arkansas just to watch an outdoor play in an amphitheater. My parents would take us to Branson, Missouri in the summertime where we’d watch live shows, listen to bluegrass music and make wax candles like it was done in the old times. They even took us to Opryland and the famous Grand Old Opry in Tennessee.” Kareem’s parents made sure he had the best opportunities to fully experience all kinds of music. His parents were a huge influence and reason why Kareem became so interested in starting a career in country music.

Kareem has released three albums since the debut of his career. In Kareem’s household the rule was “if the opportunity is available and your heart inclines towards something then don’t be afraid to give it a try.” With that reasoning, Kareem followed his heart and produced his first album. In 2006 he released his most popular album “Generous Peace” independently, along with “This Life of Mine” in 2007. His album “City of Lights” produced by his very first label, LightRain Records, was released May of 2011.

His most popular album “Generous Peace,” came from the literal meaning of his name. Kareem Salama literally stands for Generous Peace, which was given to him by his mother. Generous Peace is not only his most popular album it is also his most popular song. This song is a that displays some of the things that may have happened in the lives of Muslims who live in the United States as well as many other places around the world. Generous Peace is also about how in everyday life, people are forced to choose their battles, for which those are worth fighting for and those that are not. In this song, Kareem never states his religious beliefs or a god. But, many people could perceive it to be religious, for he states that people should fight for what’s right and not replying to ugly words with more hate. Although this song can be perceived just like I said before as just in the act of deciding your battles.

In the music video to the song “Generous Peace,” it very well represents Kareem’s Muslim culture and other Muslim’s life in America. The video very well represents Muslim ways in how that choose not to fight back because they are showing their true spirit and respect for others even though their opponent is not.

Even with Kareem’s cultural differences, he has become an amazing artist and is truly an inspiration to his culture. He is a talented Muslim country artist who puts everything into his music. He portrays such positive messages and creates unity among our world today.

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