Abdul Ali

I'm a fellow at American University studying creative nonfiction and poetry. I write across a few genres but it's all brought together by larger questions about culture.
Abdul Ali has written 99 posts for Words Matter

Interview with Dope Reads Blog

This conversation originally appeared on the Dope Reads Blog – DopeReads: Tell me about how you got involved in the Folio Literary Journal. Abdul Ali: I was assigned to the literary journal as a part of my fellowship for my graduate program at American University. But I’ve been interested in literary publications for some time … Continue reading


The Waiting Room [Trailer]

The Academy Effect: Does Winning Help Black Actors?

Originally published on Shadow & Act.  Now that Oscar season is upon us, a deluge of commentary is sure to crop up on the Web about the various disappointments: the black actors who weren’t nominated, those who were nominated but weren’t deserving, and the default (legitimate) argument that there just aren’t enough quality roles for black actors. We … Continue reading

Best Film of 2012

“Middle of Nowhere” directed by Ava Duvernay

I don’t do New …

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions anymore.

How Washington, D.C., Turned Its Back On Go-Go, the Music It Invented

A little more than a month ago, thousands descended on Washington, D.C.’s Howard Theater to say goodbye to a legend. Chuck Brown, the guitarist who became synonymous with D.C.’s go-go music scene, had died at age 75. But while the assembled waited in the rain to be let inside to view Brown’s body, an official-looking … Continue reading

Natasha Trethewey Named Poet Laureate

Originally published in Washingtonian. Natasha Trethewey has been named the 19th US poet laureate, succeeding Phillip Levine. Trethewey, 46, joins a distinguished line of poets who’ve held the coveted post at the Library of Congress over the years, including W.S. Merwin,Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, and Rita Dove. Her duties will begin in the fall. In a statement released today, the … Continue reading

Conversation with Lalah Hathaway

The performer, the daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway, dishes about returning to Washington, her eclectic sound, and what it’s like living with her father’s ghost. Grammy-nominated performing artist Lalah Hathaway possesses a rare versatility, fusing pop, funk, jazz, blues, and R&B in her classically trained sound. But it’s perhaps not surprising considering her pedigree—her father is … Continue reading

Amel Larrieux at the Howard Theatre

There were minimal props to Amel Larrieux’s show on Friday evening at the Howard Theatre. Mood lighting. Live band. And of course the singer: Wild-haired, a frizzy blow out parted down the middle. Amel stepped onto the stage in MC Hammer-baggy pants with high-heeled pumps swagging with a bounce showing off her chiseled arms. The … Continue reading

Groundbreaking Poetry Troupe Reconvenes in Washington

Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the late 1980s, the Dark Room Collective helped foster a generation of African-American poets, from Thomas Sayers Ellis andSharan Strange to Major Jackson and Kevin Young. More than two decades and two Pulitzer Prizes later, the group reunited at the Lutheran Church of Reformation on Capitol Hill Monday for a reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s … Continue reading