Ali Abbas


Ali Abbas is an American Muslim writer, filmmaker, and New Yorker of Lebanese descent. He’s the creator and producer of The Ridge, a series about a group of Brooklyn Muslim youth with superpowers, and the current diversity fellow at the Upright Citizens Brigade. “I’ve never had so many opportunities. I [couldn’t] do what I’ve been doing the past couple of years had I not moved to New York. I feel like no other city drops the[se] opportunities in your lap. Once, I was walking down the street and a friend called me. She was interviewing Tawakkol Karman at the UN, and she was like, ‘Do you want to come do a photo series for the BBC?’ In Chicago, no one has called me to do a photo series. Just the other day, I was going through my photos and found a photo from two years ago, and the creator of Fresh Off the Boat was at the party. A friend of mine threw me this birthday party and some guy who I think is an amazing chef and writer showed up. That doesn’t happen in Chicago [where Abbas lives part time]. I love Chicago, but that just doesn’t happen. This city, the opportunities, and the amazing and horrible things it throws at you … this doesn’t happen anywhere else. The first time my mom ever visited, my neighbors were getting into an argument and one of them decided the best way to win this argument was to strip off all of their clothes and stand in the hallway. My mom was like, ‘What is going on?,’ and I was like, ‘Don’t think about it, just keep moving.’ I think it may be genetic. My mom was here recently, and she said, ‘Man I love this city.’ She loved the craziness and hecticness. I adore this city.”