Tasleem Jamila Firdausee' is CEO of My Soul Speaks Institute, Executive Director of Art As Sacred Initiative, and host of the Art As Sacred podcast. Tasleem is an internationally award-winning poet, author, multi-disciplinary artist, interdisciplinary scholar, cultural curator and organizer and holistic wellness therapist who uses heart-centered storytelling to examine the intersections of culture, spirituality, and indigenous holistic healing modalities. She is a 2021 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Fellowship from Western Michigan University, 2020-2021 IMAN (Inner-city Muslim Action Network) Creative Cypher Artist fellow. In addition, Firdausee is an author of Black Baptist Muslim Mystic: From the Cosmos and The Women's Guide to Holistic Healing. Tasleem performances, lectures, and seminars include The Kennedy Center, Excel London, Harvard University, Columbia University, NYU, University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois, to name a few. She has performed her works extensively across the US and other countries, including Senegal, Ghana, Canada, England, South Africa, and Malaysia, and she continues to tour worldwide.
Tasleem Jamila is currently curating traveling holistic healing events "Supreme Self Love Project" and "I Am A Queen" for women through performance, meditation, dhikr (chanting), visuals, sound baths, and installations. Her latest book, Black Baptist Muslim Mystic, has received excellent reviews and is used in classrooms across the US with her curriculum. The poems in this book are relevant to the current times. They are brimming with wisdom on freedom, self-love, social justice for humanity, spirituality, hope, joy, and courage.
In addition, she recently released a new album, "Activated," which is her second studio album working with world-renowned producers Professor Griff of Public Enemy, Jazz MacArthur genius Reginald R. Robinson, and Chicago musician Aki Dawson. Tasleem's play, Portals Open, was featured in the Chicago Hip-Hop Festival and chosen for the Pan African Art Festival in South Africa.
As an artist-activist, Tasleem has written and performed commissioned poetry for The Cancer Society of Chicago, Domestic Violence Programs, Peace in Streets Campaign, and Youth Peace Summit. In addition, she is the creative mind behind many festivals, events, and productions. Tasleem has acted as Head Coordinator, Stage Manager, and Host for IMAN (Inner-city Muslim Action Network), Taking It to the Streets World Festival, from 2005-2016. As a writer, director, and choreographer for productions, her youth advocacy has allowed her to work with organizations such as Kuumba Lynx, Little Black Pearl, Family Matters, After School Matters, and Cease Fire. She has also hosted, organized, and facilitated many holistic spiritual artist retreats over the past ten years.
Firdausee was a recipient of a MocaFest fellowship where she traveled to London, England, to perform and participate as a performance artist at events with Prince Charles, Mayor Boris Johnson of London, and many Prime Ministers. Tasleem Jamila is also a featured artist for her poem, "I AM," in her book Black Baptist Muslim Mystic: From the Cosmos with the International Women's Museum breaking down stereotypes of women.
Tasleem is the founder of the Art As Sacred Initiate, an initiative & curatorial organization created to produce and curate experiences that strive to challenge unimaginative conceptions of spirituality, art, and the healing effects of artists' often marginalized cultural production. Her podcast delves into conversations with artists worldwide who embody art as healing and art as a form of praise.
Her gifts and expertise expanded by being a radio host and co-producer of a weekly radio program for ten years, which aired on WCEV, Chicago, where she interviewed hundreds of guests worldwide for ten years. The most notable icons she interviewed are First Lady Michelle Obama, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, and Public Enemy. Firdausee's media features include the Chicago Tribune, Muslim Journal, Chicago Daily, and on BBC, NPR, WKKC (Chicago), ABC-Channel 7 (Chicago), and many media outlets in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Pakistan.
Beyond touring extensively, Tasleem has contributed work to other projects, including Kuumba Lynx's "El Barrio Clocks Our Beats and Rhymes," Sound Mindz Music's "The Attack of the Waybacks," Vent Movements' "Let the Movement Began" albums.
Also, Floyd Boykin Jr, "No More Silent Cries" anthology book and "Crossing Limits," brings together Muslim American and Jewish American poets. In addition, in 2009, she contributed a song for a compilation CD dedicated to the legacy of Malcolm X, "Necessary," to be released with three unpublished chapters of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."
Tasleem graduated with a Master of Arts in Spirituality, Culture & Health and a graduate certificate in Holistic Approaches to Mindfulness from Western Michigan University and obtained a Bachelor's degree in Complementary & Alternative Health. She is also a registered and certified yoga teacher, reiki energy healer, and sound healer and currently completing a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Spirituality & Healing/Sufism/Black Women in Religion). Furthermore, she has studied with traditional spiritual Islamic master teachers for over two decades. As an artist, her teachers include master musicians and cosmic composers Master Kelan Phil Cohran, Reginald R. Robinson, Kerwin Young, and Khari Lemuel. She is sought after for her magnetic energy as a host, professional skills as a cultural producer, and educating activists as a workshop facilitator.
A full documentary is posted on her website about her life as an artist by Lunar Butterfly Productions. As she grows, expands, and elevates, so does her art. Her next book and EP are scheduled for release in 2023.