Skip to main content

Sulaiman Hakim interviewed by CBS Senior Correspondent Bill Whitaker for the "60 Minutes" TV Show

As I stepped into the bustling CBS 60 Minutes ambience, a mix of anticipation and nervousness washed over me.

As I stepped into the bustling CBS 60 Minutes ambience, a mix of anticipation and nervousness washed over me.

I was about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience: an interview with none other than Bill Whitaker, the renowned journalist and correspondent for CBS's 60 Minutes.  The sense of excitement filled the air as I made my way to the designated room where the interview would take place. Little did I know that this encounter would not only introduce me to an incredible personality but also give me a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes workings of one of the most prestigious news shows in the world!

CBS News Correspondent, Bill Whitaker

My heart skipped a beat as I shook hands with Heather Abbott, the accomplished producer who was instrumental in setting up this opportunity. Heather's warm smile instantly put me at ease, and her genuine interest in my thoughts and ideas made me feel valued as a contributor to the interview. It was fascinating to witness her meticulous attention to detail and her unwavering dedication to producing a top-notch segment.

As we discussed the objectives for the interview, Bill’s passion for storytelling shone through, and his enthusiasm was infectious. Working with him and the entire CBS 60 Minutes team was a dream come true, and I was eager to dive into the fascinating world of investigative journalism alongside them.

Sulaiman Hakim with CBS News correspondent and 60 Minutes News Anchor Bill Whitaker in Morocco

Sulaiman Hakim with CBS News Correspondent, Bill Whitaker image credit © CBS News

Bill Whitaker Interviews Sulaiman Hakim - Morocco Festival D'Essaouira

American percussionist Sulaiman Hakim said the early American Blues and Gnawa share many similarities in their musical history. He said the gospel-like call and response so key to Gnawa is the same as he'd heard growing up in Los Angeles. 

"Hakim said that each time he plays at the annual festival, he discovers something new in the Gnawa playbook. He predicted it would influence a new generation of musicians.“
Bill Whitaker, CBS News Senior Correspondent

"Automatically, the first time I heard the Gnawas, I said, 'Wow this sounds like music from back home,'" Hakim said. "And the way that they start turning their heads, it's just like the dances that was done back in the '30s and '40s, when you see Duke Ellington, Count Basie and everybody was dancing."

"Music is the heartbeat of existence. You cannot point out to me one society that exists without music… “
Sulaiman Hakim, Kisasa World Music

Please view the full article and interview here:

Sulaiman Hakim being interviewed by CBS News Correspondent, Bill Whitaker

During the interview

During the interview, I was struck by the broad range of questions that Bill Whitaker and his colleagues posed. Their thirst for knowledge was evident as they explored every aspect of the topic we were discussing. From the local impacts to the global implications, no stone was left unturned in their quest for a comprehensive understanding.

What struck me the most was their openness and receptiveness to different perspectives. The CBS 60 Minutes team encouraged dialogue and discussion, creating an environment where diverse viewpoints were not only welcome but essential to crafting a balanced narrative.

View the full program here: Gnawa music, legacy of enslaved Black Africans, surges in popularity | 60 Minutes

As we delved deeper into the subject matter, it became clear that this was a truly international crew, with team members hailing from various corners of the world. The seamless collaboration between individuals with different backgrounds and expertise was a testament to the team's commitment to producing quality journalism that resonates with audiences worldwide.


Sulaiman Hakim performs live at the Gnawa Music Festival in Morocco 2003

My Experience

Overall, my experience at the 2023 Gnaoua World Music Festival held each year in D'Essaouira, Morocco was an extraordinary journey of cultural immersion, artistic collaboration, and musical discovery. From the lively street carnival to the awe-inspiring opening ceremony, participating in the street jam sessions and connecting with artists from around the world, to being part of a cosmopolitan festival with a devoted audience of over 30,000 people per night – it was a truly adventure unforgettable that will continue inspire to and influence my music for years to come.

Sulaiman Hakim performs @ Morocco Festival D'Essaouira Gnaoua 2023

Sulaiman Hakim  ...  Global Artist. Producer. Composer. Musician and Globetrotter Sulaiman HAKIM, native of Los Angeles, California, has performed in 70 countries around the world. Educated at the University of Massachusetts, this talented Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, is known for his original and unceasing thirst for growth and change in the world music movement but, always respecting and protecting the African-American tradition, his roots. Former student of MAX ROACH, at U-Mass at Amherst. His latest release is entitled, Southern Roots.

"60 Minutes" is the most successful television broadcast in history. Offering hard-hitting investigative reports, interviews, feature segments and profiles of people in the news, the broadcast began in 1968 and is still a hit, over 50 seasons later, regularly making Nielsen's Top 10.

Subscribe to the “60 Minutes” YouTube channel:
Watch full episodes:
Get more “60 Minutes” from “60 Minutes: Overtime”:
Follow “60 Minutes” on Instagram:
Like “60 Minutes” on Facebook:
Follow “60 Minutes” on Twitter:
Subscribe to our newsletter:
Download the CBS News app:
Try Paramount+ free: