“Love Me Before The Town Goes Away” from The Bay Podcast

Nijla Mu’min’s poetry preserves her homeland by painting portraits with words.

She shares childhood memories of the black Muslim community in East Oakland. She romanticizes hanging out at Lake Merritt. And she wonders what became of the East Bay neighborhoods where she socialized as a young person.

All of her memories are woven together to show her appreciation for the culture that raised her.

I first became friends with Nijla years ago while running around the Bay Area in the same creative circles, and I’ve watched her craft thrive ever since. From her film Jinn, which won the SXSW Special Jury Recognition Award for Writing, to writing for acclaimed shows, queen sugar, that blind spotting series, Wu-Tang: An American Sagaand Unsure.

But long before all that, Nijla attended UC Berkeley, where her experiences in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program left an indelible mark. She still writes poetry to this day.

In late April, to celebrate National Poetry Month, Nijla shared some of her work with Bay Podcast’s Maria Esquinca.

This week we share this episode with you.


Nijla Mu’min stands in front of a mural painted by the Trust Your Struggle Collective that reads ‘Oakland Dreams’. (Pendarvis Harshaw)

Read the episode transcript from The Bay.

Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts, or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

About Stephanie McGehee

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