Having been the personal target of torment and ridicule in his youth, Brother Ali was alienated much like Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui. But while Seung-Hui coped with extreme violence, Ali always took a different approach.

 

“Personally I was blessed to be around people who reached out to me and taught me a lot of things to know and the tools to deal with. I didn’t have a whole lot of a choice, and I did have a period where I lashed back out at people. I did have a period where I learned how to punch people in the face. But I was blessed to have people around me putting it all in context so I can understand what I was up against. It’s difficult to understand ‘Why am I an outsider? Why does it seem like everyone else is getting along just fine, and I can’t?’

 

I think that [the circumstances] says a lot about us as a society. We focus so much on ourselves that we don’t have a communal view or anything. We don’t reach back and pull each other out when we’re down. We don’t make sure that everyone’s taken care of. We just focus on what we need, personally—the individual. Helping other people is only done when it’s good for us.”

 

Ali is currently touring to promote his critically acclaimed album The Undisputed Truth, and is in early stages of programming a Canadian tour.

Reported By: Omar Mouallem