While the workplace is typically where people are most likely to interact with someone from a religious tradition other than their own, media is often where we are first introduced to these differences. Media representations are a form of cross-cultural communication, the process of creating and sharing meaning across cultures, which influence our understanding of—and interactions with—religious differences in public spaces.
This year, our annual Religious Diversity Leadership Summit featured perspectives from Tanenbaum’s new Representing Religion project, a web-based resource platform that Tanenbaum is developing in partnership with the Walt Disney Company to promote more ethical religious representations in media and across storytelling communities.
As part of this work, we are excited to share the insightful perspective of Ramy Youssef – comedian, actor, writer, and director. Inspired by his own experiences, his hit show “Ramy” on Hulu challenges the saturation of Islamophobic and Anti-Arab stereotyping in media by simply inviting viewers into his life as a first-generation Egyptian-American Muslim on a spiritual journey in his politically divided New Jersey neighborhood.
We invite you check out our YouTube channel and view Tanenbaum CEO, Rev. Mark Fowler’s interview with Ramy Youssef about his work, the importance of religious self-representation, and how to honor the intersectional and oppositional identities we hold and interact with daily.
Having multiple perspectives and a variety of approaches to draw inspiration from is key to the Representing Religion’s mission. Because of this, we encourage all to participate in our 3,000 Conversations for Building Respect series—an ongoing collection of testimonials from our community reflecting on what behaviors of building respect for religious difference, and difference more broadly, looks like. Mark’s interview with Ramy is a great topic to reflect on, so we welcome any and all thoughts about it!
Keep an eye out for more updates on the Representing Religion project coming soon. In the meantime:
CLICK HERE to watch their interview on our Youtube channel.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the 3,000 Conversations.
CLICK HERE to watch the Hulu trailer for Ramy!
Meet Ramy Youssef:
Ramy Youssef is a Golden Globe-winning Egyptian-American creator, actor, producer, director, and comedian who brings his unique voice and perspective to his storytelling. He won the 2020 Golden Globe Award® on behalf of “Ramy” in the category of ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy.’ Youssef created, produced and stars in the hit Hulu show, which is inspired by his own experiences centering around a first-generation Egyptian-American Muslim on a spiritual journey in his politically divided New Jersey neighborhood. Most recently, the Television Academy nominated Youssef for two 2020 Emmy Awards® in the categories of “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series” and “Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series” on behalf of the second season of “Ramy.” Youssef was also nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award and a Writers Guild Award for his one-hour HBO comedy special “Ramy Youssef: Feelings” produced by A24. Youssef, through his partnership with A24, is working on creating and developing subsequent projects. The first show will star “Ramy” series regular Stephen Way in a story illustrating the perspective and experience of a disabled person and their family in a real way. Youssef will executive produce both this series and an untitled show currently in production with Netflix.