Ali Douglas Newman, better known by his stage name Brother Ali, is an American hip hop artist, community activist and member of the Rhymesayers Entertainment hip hop collective.
Ali was born in Madison, Wisconsin with albinism, a disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. He moved with his family to Michigan for a few years and then settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1992. He attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minnesota. He began rapping at age eight.
Ali converted to Islam at age 15 and followed Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. During this time, Ali was selected to join a group of students on a Malaysian study tour, in which they explored the way that a more liberal Islamic society could peacefully coexist with different religions.
Ali credits his conversion to Islam to fellow Hip Hop musician KRS-One, whom he met during a lecture at age 13 at a local Minnesotan university. When asked about his faith, Ali stated "KRS-One was actually the one who told me I should read Malcolm X. He assigned the autobiography of Malcolm X to me; I read it, and that’s what led to me becoming a Muslim."
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