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Get to know: Omar Aburashed '11, forging his own path

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May 30, 2017
Omar Aburashed

“Oh well” is better than “what if.”

Omar Aburashed often heard his grandfather give that advice, and it’s something he has taken to heart.

“He was saying it’s better to try and fail than to wonder,” explained Aburashed, who, at 30, is following two seemingly different paths, but both are fueled by a drive to help the little guy.

He decided to study the law after exploring a few other paths and deciding medicine and business didn’t fit who he was. A political theory class during his undergraduate studies at Albion  College inspired him. He came to Detroit Mercy Law and graduated in 2011.

“I was always the boy on the playground willing to stand up to the bully,” he remembered. “That’s why I wanted to go into law, standing up for the human aspect that’s often lost.”

After graduation, Aburashed and fellow alumnus Sharif Aref ’10 set up their own firm, Aref & Rashed P.L.L.C. Today it is Aref Law P.L.L.C.

After about five years of working on a variety of cases, Aburashed still felt something else calling for his attention and focus.

“Music was always there,” he said. “Ever since I was 14 I started writing and, being the youngest of four, I often listened to what my brothers and sisters would play.”

He kept his lyric writing to himself, until he was cajoled into reading some for a friend of his mother. The feedback was encouraging and before long, Aburashed was competing in freestyle battles at local venues, learning, growing and, eventually, winning some. He attended open mic nights whenever he could, performing and finding inspiration and guidance in others. That’s when he knew music had to be a part of his future.

He now works part time on cases that interest him and to which he feels he can contribute positively, as he follows his dream to be a performer. His original stage name, bigOmuziq, has evolved to Omar Zidan, the last name that of his great-grandmother.

He describes his music as “conscious hiphop” and R&B. His lyrics, he says, are meant to be thought provoking and inspirational, his goal is to raise people up. “I want to spread positive messages in my music, or to at least try to help someone find the best side of themselves. I’m very close to my family and have lots of nieces and nephews; they make me want to be better.”

His ultimate goal is to create a record label to produce his own music and that of other artists who share a common vision.

As a step in this direction, he created OrdinaryKidz, a creative collective dedicated to providing independent and marginalized artists platforms to collaborate and showcase their creativity. He has met with teens at cultural and religious centers to encourage them to explore “the power of creativity” as a means of dealing with the pressures and challenges they face.

“I joke that when I’m a lawyer, I’m in Bruce Wayne mode, and when I’m performing, I’m like Batman,” Aburashed said. “But sometimes in law I feel like Batman, too. I’m trying to meld the two.”

He admits this dual existence can create some sleepless nights: “I think ‘I’m a lawyer trying to rap, that’s crazy,’ and there are days you wake up and you want to quit,” he said. “But then I remember, ‘Oh well’ is better than ‘what if.’”

Does this dual life make him nervous for his future?

Aburashed pauses, then smiles: “I feel alive, I’ll say that.”

By Ron Bernas. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

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