Youtuber Salaheddine Benchikhi not cuddly enough for NPO

Salaheddine Benchikhi, 41, was born in Casablanca, but grew up in South Rotterdam. The career of the writer, interviewer, documentary maker and theater maker started twenty years ago in front of the camera at the public broadcaster. There he soon noticed that he had to give in too much to be able to work on his own ideas. “I am not cuddly enough for the NPO. The public broadcaster prefers Moroccan Muslims who hardly or do not ventilate their Muslim identity. That is why you see so many secular figures on TV who have a color on the outside, but run on white software on the inside,” says Benchikhi NRC

Also read: Salaheddine continues his investigation into police brutality in The Hague

His school career did not go well, he did not feel challenged enough and bored and he was not sufficiently stimulated in his own environment to develop his talents. “It was either working in the port or something social, I had no other examples. So it became HBO Social Work and Services. In retrospect, I should have chosen the School of Journalism or the film academy.”

When he saw that the sketches Ab and Sal, which he made for NTR, were doing well with young people, this was decisive for him to stop at public broadcasting. “I bought a camera and microphone and my YouTube channel Salaheddine was born.” Initially he did many street interviews with mainly Moroccan-Dutch young people. “That was new in 2008. I was the first. It cost me money back then to make it. But I had to keep going. I didn’t want to stay in my comfort zone.”

Also read: Salaheddine about Moroccan humor

As time went on, Salaheddine touched on more and more serious subjects. For example, he spoke with Johan Derksen and Jan Roos about death and God, he discusses Islam with Muslims and non-Muslims and made a four-part YouTube series about the latest stories of the first generation of Moroccans. In it, Benchikhi speaks with six older Moroccan men who emigrated to the Netherlands in the 1960s and 1970s to work. “I will no longer be able to hear the stories of this generation of Moroccan Dutch in a few years. It was five to twelve for me.”

Benchikhi can also be seen regularly in the theater, for example from Wednesday he will perform his theater tour ‘From Mecca to Marrakesh’, a combination of a live performance and a documentary, in which he searches for his identity as a Muslim, Moroccan and Dutchman. The documentary shows how Islam has reached Morocco. “It is a history that the Moroccan Dutch often do not know. This is not taught in schools.”

Also read: Salaheddine meets Tofik Dibi for candid conversation (video)

Salaheddine Benchikhi can now fully do his thing. “I will never make something that I don’t feel comfortable with. That doesn’t make me very suitable for the NPO. The NPO does shout ‘We want more color’, but when push comes to shove, you don’t notice it. don’t see programs by makers that have arisen from their own story, their own identity, and certainly not if it is too Islamic. Like the whole of my channel. That would not fit within the NPO. The public broadcaster is stuck in its own white tunnel vision. “

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