by Mustapha Khan
Song For Our People tells the inspiring story of a group of socially-committed professional musical artists who come together one day to create a powerful new anthem to honor their African American ancestors, and to inspire the on-going fight for social justice in America. Featuring renowned New York studio musicians, singers, a rapper and a tap dancer, the film is a celebration and testament to the power of collective action to create both art and social change.
Song For Our People… because the revolution will need a soundtrack.
Mustapha Khan is an Emmy Award-winning American director who makes narrative and documentary films which seek to inspire societal enlightenment and social justice. His feature film Rocksteady, a coming of age feel-good movie about an aspiring stock car racer, won the Best Picture Award at both the 2011 Litchfield Hills Film Festival and the 2011 Jamaica Reggae Film Festival, where Khan also won the Best Director Award.
His documentary feature House On Fire, about the AIDS Epidemic in Black America, won the Best Documentary Award at the 2000 Houston International Film Festival, and has been extensively exhibited worldwide. It was also honored by the United States House of Representatives, where the film had a special screening for Congress. His critically-acclaimed film Reflections Of A Native Son, about a troubled teenager growing up in the South Bronx, was nationally broadcast on PBS and is on permanent display at the American Museum of Television & Radio Paley Center. His one-hour television special Sesame Street’s 25th Anniversary: A Musical Celebration was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and is the best selling home video in Sesame Street’s history.
Mustapha Khan won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for his original work for Sesame Street and has been nominated for two other Emmy Awards. He has also won an Addy Award for Outstanding Directing for his commercial work.
As a commercial director, Khan’s credits include national television spots for clients such as: Coca-Cola, Honda, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Burger King, HBO and Nickelodeon. Celebrities Khan has directed include: Gloria Estefan, Vice President Joe Biden, Dave Chappelle, Savannah Guthrie, Quincy Jones, Maya Angelou, Ralph Nader, Ray Charles, Alicia Keys, the Muppets, Mya and Snoop Dogg.
Central to all of Mustapha’s work is the heart and soul he brings to his films. As he puts it: “My work is about embracing humanity. Whether I’m shooting a movie or a commercial, kids or adults, muppets or manatees, celebrities or everyday people — my job is to illuminate what’s beautiful inside of us all.”
In addition to directing, Mustapha Khan is also an acclaimed songwriter and music producer. He is a graduate of Harvard University where he was elected Marshal of his graduating class. He was also the recipient of a Rotary Graduate Fellowship, with which he worked as an anthropologist in Kenya prior to becoming a filmmaker. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and is a film professor at Brooklyn College where he teaches directing.