Recent American politics have rebirthed an age-old debate for the United States of America: immigration, and to what extent do we open our borders.
After The President's immigration ban, countless voices spoke up in opposition to make themselves heard, many of whom were immigrants themselves that wanted to share their stories. In contrast to the "harmful" and exploitative characters the Trump administration portrayed them to be, many in fact were some of America's most esteemed business leaders, including Fortune 500 CEOs, famous entertainers, and entrepreneurs.
A particular person of note in opposition was Ali Shirazinia, also known in the mainstream world of house music as " hottest names in dance music-right up there alongside Armin Van Burren, David Guetta, Hot Since 82, and more.Dubfire." He is a Grammy award-winning music producer and DJ and among the
Dubfire's story is exceedingly relevant to the political conversation happening today. Starting back in Iran, his childhood took a turn when the country was thrown into turmoil by the 1979 Iranian Revolution and Iran-Iraq war. It was then that his family made the move to the United States--the country he has since called "home."
Regarding the recent immigration ban and the social commentary surrounding the topic, Shirazinia said, "For obvious reasons, I share the current wave of outrage aimed at the current administration's recent so-called 'Muslim travel ban.' There is no factual evidence to support the claim that people from those seven countries have been, or are, a threat to America's security.
"I am an American citizen, but at the same time I can relate to having to escape your home country due to political conflict and being forced to begin again in a foreign land. Americans should remember that they are all descendants of immigrants. That is what has always made America so special and powerful."
In addition, his brother, Arash Shirazi, CEO of The Bullitt Agency and well-known talent manager, shares a similar story. Shirazi, who also moved to the United States with the family, instead pursued the route of media and the music business. Side by side, the two brothers climbed their way up the music industry until achieving, by every definition, the Immigrant American Dream.
Shirazi recently shared his story on his Instagram (where fans can follow his travels and jet-setter lifestyle), "Much like any other Iranians already overseas, we thought we would wait things out (in America) until things calmed. We built roots in the U.S. and developed friendships with other immigrant families from Sweden, Turkey, Japan, and Iran. Then the Iran-Iraq War happened.
"Our plans to return faded, even visits back to Iran were impossible due to strained relations between the U.S. And Iran, and the risk that our family would be separated if we were to get stuck in Iran. It would be 20 years until my mother would see her own mother again. Can you imagine that?"
He went on to share how he, his brother, and the rest of his family went on to adopt American culture. They attended American schools, in tandem with Farsi school. They adopted American holidays, and bonded with other Iranian families in similar situations.
"As I watch the country I know and love reverse course and close its borders, I think about the dreams shattered and countless American stories similar to mine that will never be fulfilled," wrote Shirazi.
I asked Dubfire to share specifically how it felt to win one of the most prestigious awards in entertainment, specifically as it relates to his journey from Iran to America:
"I hope that my story is an inspiring story for others who dream of a career in music and success along the way. For me personally, winning the Grammy was validation that the American dream is real. That through hard work and sacrifice, your efforts don't go unnoticed by your peers."
Dubfire's story is one that is set to be debuted to the world at Miami's Film Festival in March, 2017, in a documentary film titled Above Ground Level. The film covers his rise from early life in Iran to performing local clubs in Washington, DC, to becoming one of the most influential and iconic producer / DJs in dance music today. The film also encompasses interviews from family, friends, industry peers, fellow artists, and more, with heavy undertones of aspiration, pursuing your passion, daring to dream big as an artist, and most of all, overcoming the inevitable challenges on the road to success.
Ali and his brother, Arash Shirazi, exemplify what it means to come to the land of opportunity and make something of it. Not only have these two individuals become leaders in their industry, but they have taken it upon themselves to engage in these social conversations to promote positive open-mindedness surrounding the topic of immigration in the hopes that others like them can write their own American story.