New Feature Film “Purple Don’t Cry” Tackles the Complex Realities of Gang Violence and Muslim Youth Identity

Hassan wrote in a statement that “this film is more than just a story, it’s a reflection of my own youth and the struggles I faced growing up in a society that often viewed me and those like me as ‘other.'"

The theatrical poster for "Purple Don't Cry" (2023)
In "Purple Don't Cry" (2023), a misguided young man ignores the wise advice of a gang leader and starts selling drugs to achieve his dreams of a luxury lifestyle

Purple Don’t Cry,” a new film from Safina Media and Muslimi, premiered this year at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 1. The film tells the story of a young man Bilal (played by Essam Muhammed):

Broke and misguided, 24-year-old Bilal is tired of working hard jobs for little pay. Like many young men, he dreams of a life of luxury and feels that the only way he can attain it is by selling drugs. Frustrated with his rebellious nature, Bilal’s mother sends him packing back to Toronto to live with his estranged uncle Mustafa, who tries to put him on the straight and narrow. 
Sadly, the allure of fast money never escapes him and Bilal gets caught up with Purple, a Muslim gang leader who tries to sway him from the street life. Bilal instead chooses to go into the drug business on his own under the mentorship of Purple’s nemesis Dutch. A dose of reality hits when Bilal is faced with the threat of death and he is forced to choose between continuing his life of crime or turning things around, before it’s too late. 

The film is written by Boonaa Mohammed and directed by Mamoun S. Hassan, who are both Canadian. Hassan wrote in a statement that, as his directorial debut, “this film is more than just a story, it’s a reflection of my own youth and the struggles I faced growing up in a society that often viewed me and those like me as ‘other’ ... I wanted to explore the murky identity crises that many Muslim youths face when living in the West, particularly when they’re immersed in a consumer culture that often doesn’t align with their values.”

Essam Muhammed said of his role, “Preparation for stepping into the character Bilal in ‘Purple Don't Cry’ was really personal. I often found myself revisiting actual events that happened in my life in order to play the role. I'm grateful for being a part of a project produced by my people for my people. If we don't take control of our own narratives, someone else will.”

Watch the trailer here: 

"Purple Don't Cry" (2023) is the latest Muslim film from Safina Media in collaboration with Muslimi

Find tickets for “Purple Don’t Cry”

The film's writer, Boonaa Mohammed, succinctly pitches the plot of "Purple Don't Cry" (2023), in which he also stars

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