Discover more from Sa'alouni El Nas
Breonna Taylor, RBG, an Egyptian rapper's feminism, being Black in Brazil, and an ode to small talk
Another heavy week in 2020. Not much else I can add that hasn’t already been said by others. Losing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while not a perfect Supreme Court Justice, is devastating to our fight for equal rights and progress. Breonna Taylor and her family deserved justice, and the decision handed down this week fell well short of that.
Nothing we do can bring back Breonna Taylor or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but we can do our own small part by uplifting the voices of Black women and by transparently confronting our own racial and gender biases (we can’t be allies if we don’t start with ourselves). Here are some resources on anti-Black racism in Arab communities compiled by Kerning Cultures as a solid start.
With that, here are a few highlights from this week:
Found this really cool thread on Twitter about punk rock, hip-hop, and a Palestinian man who influenced both!
This deep dive from The Ringer found that, despite NBA team owners’ public support for their Black players in the fight against racial injustice, their political contributions send a totally different message.
An interesting look in Medium at how gentrification and COVID-19 collide in Oakland, Miami, and Brooklyn — disproportionately impacting communities of color.
Thrillist put together an incredible package of stories to celebrate karaoke!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Arab + diaspora artists) 🎧
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx + Hispanic artists) 🎤
🎼 Other Music 🎼
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
How the Beirut explosion was a government failure - Rajaa Elidrissi and Sam Ellis, Vox
Watch this episode of Vox Atlas to understand what the August 4th explosion in Beirut means for Lebanon and why the government is to blame.
One family’s desperate, deadly attempt to flee Lebanon - Bassam Hatoum and Hussein Mala, Associated Press
In recent weeks, many have tried to flee to Cyprus as Lebanon faces multiple crises and an unprecedented economic and financial collapse.
An Abusive System Left Ethiopian Domestic Workers Stranded In Lebanon For Years - Zecharias Zelalem, VICE
Largely forgotten by international agencies, some survivors of Lebanon’s kafala system were flown home to Ethiopia last week.
In political turmoil and economic collapse, Lebanon could now be overwhelmed by Covid-19 - Tamara Qiblawi, CNN
Coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in Lebanon where the crisis-ridden state is now considering new lockdown measures, raising the specter of a deepening financial crunch.
‘The port came to us’: Story behind AP photo of Beirut blast - Zeina Karam and Hassan Ammar, Associated Press
An image of Mustafa Kinno carrying his niece Hoda has come to symbolize the devastation of the Aug. 4 blast at the Beirut port. The story behind the photo reflects the particular pain of Syrian refugee families like Hoda’s.
🌍 Arabs and the Diaspora 🌎
I Was Bullied for Being Arab. Nine Inch Nails Threw Me a Lifeline. - Maya Salam, The New York Times
As a teenage girl paralyzed with fear, one of the darkest albums of the 1990s, “The Downward Spiral,” gave Maya Salam the guts to rebel against her tormentors.
The Egyptian rapper exposing the patriarchy: 'I was never scared of the word feminism' - Hana Sabah, The National
Sarah El Messiry, known as Felukah, has recently released her second album “Dream 23”
'We feel betrayed': Palestinians fear cost of Arab states' deals with Israel - Oliver Holmes, Hazem Balousha, Michael Safi, Bethan McKernan, The Guardian
The accords signed in Washington are seen as diminishing the leverage for independence
Violence mounts against Iraqi doctors as COVID cases spike - Amina Ismail, Reuters
Reuters spoke to seven doctors, including the head of Iraq’s Medical Association, who described a growing pattern of assaults on medical staff. Dozens have taken place since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Voices of a lost homeland: The poetry of Western Sahara - Sam Berkson, Middle East Eye
Saharawi poetry charts experiences that range from war and displacement to the late Badi's odes to 'a sweet life full of living.'
🎶 Music, Culture, and the Arts 🎶
Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek Louch on the Undisputed Legacy of the LOX - Jesse Fairfax, Vulture
“We don’t got nothing to prove. We got our stamp of approval on the Mount Rushmore of rap.”
Fadi Tabbal is the Thread Connecting Lebanon’s Imperiled Indie Scene - Fady Adel, Bandcamp
Producer and studio owner Fadi Tabbal reflects on the impact that the cataclysmic August 4th blast at Beirut’s port had on the country’s thriving alternative music scene.
Inside ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ reunion with Joseph Marcell: ‘It felt so good to be back’ - Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times
For British stage veteran Joseph Marcell, traveling from London to Los Angeles to film ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ reunion was worth the risk.
How Travis Scott Defied the Rules of Celebrity to Become King of the Youth - Gerrick Kennedy, GQ
From his secret Tenet project to his dream of buying Astroworld, the rapper explains his unorthodox route to success and influence.
The Ongoing Problem with Middle Eastern Representation on TV - Tariq Raouf, Nerdist
“Fueled by the vitriol aimed at us after 9/11, this has now bled into television, where the stereotyping of the Middle East continues to promote fear and a misunderstanding of Arabs and Muslims.”
📚 Other Reads 📚
Change or keep your name? For 'Kamala,' 'Nikki' and others, a story of identity, culture and power - Deepa Shivaram, NBC News
Trump continues to question 'Kamala' pronunciation, and it highlights why some people of color feel a push to code switch.
The Flight Goes Nowhere. And It’s Sold Out. - Tariro Mzezewa, The New York Times
People who miss flying are rushing to buy tickets for flights that land in the same place they depart from.
Africa has defied the covid-19 nightmare scenarios. We shouldn’t be surprised. - Karen Attiah, The Washington Post
This should have been a moment for media outlets to challenge corrosive narratives about Africa.
What it means to be Black in Brazil - Ana Tera Athayde, Vox
Racism rooted in slavery has not gone away in Brazil — and it took time until its existence was even acknowledged.
An Ode to Small Talk - James Parker, The Atlantic
How about this weather?
Your Weekly Sample
In the bridge of her song “My Prerogative,” Britney Spears samples Warda’s “Batwanes Beek.” Check it out!