By Andrew Kosorok
There is a never-ending battle raging for our attention – from social media, news agencies, advertisers, and even the unending drone of vacuous tv or radio programming blending into the background of waiting rooms. There are even people diagnosed with withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get their daily doses of ceaseless electronic media!
What to do?
Electronic media is here to stay, and it will remain a part of our everyday lives – but that doesn’t mean we don’t have choices. And just like most choices we make, there are good and bad alternatives, and I’d like to focus on one of the best.
I visited with Abdalhamid Evans, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Alchemiya Media Ltd – an incredibly positive, ever-growing UK-based alternative to the growing sea of painfully shallow media options. Alchemiya Media was founded by CEO Navid Akhtar, an award-winning BBC producer, and is headed by people representing the very best in broadcasting and media development. Although incredibly busy, Mr. Evans was able to give me a moment of his time and share some insights into this exciting media option.
The name of the company comes from the word “alchemy”.
Alchemy, the medieval forerunner of our modern material sciences, explored the transformation of base metals into gold – as a metaphor for personal, mental, and spiritual transformation into a higher order of existence. “Given the state of the world today,” COO Evans explains, “any activity that promotes beauty, love, harmony and understanding is desperately needed, and we intend for Alchlemiya to be a pro-active participant as a catalyst for positive change.”
Abdalhamid has an incredibly diverse background – psychology, community work, music, leatherwork, and serious experience as an independent strategy consultant for a broad range Muslim Lifestyle markets – and has worked a lot in the MENA region as well as Southeast Asia, South Africa, the US and the UK. Being involved in one way or another with the project since its inception in 2010, he continues to feel a strong pull to be a positive “impact in the way that Islam and Muslim life are presented – mainly mis-represented – in the mainstream media”.
With so much main-stream media focus on the salacious and shocking, providing a venue for intelligent and level-headed programming is not just important, but vital.
Although Alchemiya promotes truthful and positive Muslim viewpoints, it is not a Muslim-only company. “We are a small group,” he shares, “a mix of Muslim and non-Muslim. A few British Asian Muslims, a Canadian, a Frenchman, a white English convert (me)… The interesting thing about the team is our shared common vision that Alchemiya is an important step towards more harmony and understanding across cultures and religions.”
When I asked Abdalhamid about their target audience, he told me Alchemiya was intended for “everyone interested in life!” However, he also pointed out something which I had never considered.
Across the world there is a growing urban population of young Muslim millennials, perhaps around 400 million, with constant access to online tools and social media.
These young people have more in common with their “neighbors” online – although physically separated, sometimes by thousands of miles – than they do with their own parents and “parents’ generation where they live. Globally connected, socially and environmentally aware, they are going to be a hugely influential group over the next 10 years, shaping markets not just where they live, but also affecting mainstream markets around the world.”
Just like mainstream programming sources like Netflix and Hulu, Alchemiya can be easily accessed via web browser (Alchemiya.com), Roku-type boxes, Amazon Prime and the like. They are constantly working to expand access for mobile device users around the world, to bring positive programming to as many people as possible.
And with a steadily growing library of titles including children’s programming alongside travel and modest fashion shows, art and music programming, and even some broad appeal exclusives, Alchemiya is a powerful alternative to empty entertainment.
“We believe that we are being given an opportunity to make a difference by showing content that will touch, move and inspire our audience. For us the social mission is more important than the commercial success; we need to be sustainable, and the more successful we are, the better, but the social and spiritual mission is at the core of our work. We are going to donate 5% of all revenue to the soon-to-be set up Alchemiya Foundation. This foundation will nurture a new generation of creatives…film makers, photographers, writers, artists etc. This will enable some of the frustration felt by young creative Muslims all over the world to be put to positive use, and can be a pro-active tool against radicalisation. Plus we can provide them with a platform that enables their work to be seen worldwide.”
If you would like to see more of Alchemiya you can sample their programming for a free 7-day trial (https://www.alchemiya.com/#/). And if you would like to be a part of building positive Muslim programming worldwide, learn more about their Halal-consistent crowdfunding campaign on CrowdCube (https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/alchemiya-media-limited/pitches/lm57Rl#).