Discover more from Sa'alouni El Nas
Guest Feature: Alya Mooro
Well, everyone, we’re heading into the last weekend before the U.S. presidential election. AND it’s Halloween. What a combo, am I right? If you haven’t voted already, make sure you do. And if you’re planning to head to your local polling place on Election Day, please wear a mask, bring sanitizer, and maintain a safe social distance.
Voting is not going to solve everything. The issues that we face as a society and as a country will not suddenly go away if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win. Voting is just one piece and one small action we can take. But the movement does not end after the elections. We have to continue pushing forward for progressive and inclusive policies, even under a Biden administration.
Let’s go ahead and get right into it. This week, I’m so excited to welcome the next guest in the musical question series: Alya Mooro!
Alya is an Egyptian born, London raised freelance journalist and author of the bestselling non-fiction book The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes. Born from the response to TGF, she has recently launched The Greater Conversation newsletter, centering female Middle Eastern stories with an aim to de-stigmatize through honest storytelling.
What is your favorite song right now?
I'm currently loving Sankya's “On My Own”, it's super empowering and such a good vibe. I've been playing it on full volume every morning while getting ready for my day.
What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
Anything by Mahalia. As a writer, I always fall hardest for lyrics and she's such a talented lyricist and has a beautiful voice. If I had to pick one song I'd say “What You Did” featuring Ella Mai. It gets me in my feels every time.
Name a song that reminds you of home.
“Sabry Aalil” by Sherine has just made it back onto my rotation thanks to a genius who linked it to the promo for Kylie Jenner's latest KylieCosmetics collection in which her makeup and style makes her look Arab AF. I've been pseudo belly-dancing to it all morning and it's making me miss attending Egyptian weddings and dancing with my friends.
Name a song you know all the words to.
I'm obsessed with Lil Wayne and basically know all the words to all of his songs. I wrote him a letter when he was in jail and got a necklace custom-made to say 'Mrs Weezy' - true story. I used to run a weekly hip hop night called The Come Up with some friends and I slyly think part of the reason I wanted to run my own night was so I could have the DJs play Lil Wayne haha. The one that gets me most excited to spit along with all the lyrics is “A Milli”.
Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
Oh I miss getting hype and obnoxiously clearing a space on the dancefloor for myself haha. Did I mention Lil Wayne already? Beyonce’s “Formation” brings me an inordinate amount of joy.
Big shout out and thanks to Alya for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Alya’s songs will be included with this week’s playlist, so check them out. Be sure to follow Alya on Twitter, sign up for her newsletter, and buy her book (I’ve read it, and I can’t recommend it enough!)
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Middle Eastern + North African artists) 🎧
Tokyo - 7-Toun
Ghaneema - Perrie featuring El Waili and Umi
Mangelaksh Fe Haga Wehsha - Shaimaa Elshayeb
Jaw Ard - Molotof featuring Shabjdeed
Chokran La Vie - Lsan L7or featuring Lbenj
Je Suis Désolé - Lartiste featuring Nassi
Sallem - Emel
Nfsi - Skinnyg featuring Awesome One
Rjaa - Carla Chamoun
Had Lila - Bouzzy
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx + Hispanic artists) 🎤
No Drama - Becky G featuring Ozuna
Dakiti - Bad Bunny featuring Jhay Cortez
Vainita - Yera
Bendición - Emilia featuring Alex Rose
Sin Ti - Selene
Diosa (Remix) - Myke Towers featuring Natti Natasha and Anuel AA
No Me Llames - Carla Morrison
Falta - Tainy featuring DaniLeigh and Kris Floyd
Tenía Que Llegar - Kenia Os
Diferente - Lennis Rodriguez
🎼 Other Music 🎼
Disturbia - Rihanna
Runs In Mi Blood - Odreii
This Town - Ama Lou
More Life - Torren Foot featuring Tinie Tempah and L Devine
Ginger - Wizkid featuring Burna Boy
Can I - Drake
WATER - Beyoncé featuring Salatiel and Pharrell
YAYO - Oordaya
Foolish - Ashanti
More Than Ever - Joya Mooi
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Preserving Food, Preserving Myself - Nada Barki, The New York Times
This fall, the chores in Nada Bakri’s kitchen have become a way to stay connected to my Lebanese identity.
After the Blast, Beirut Fights to Save Its Architectural Heritage - Lin Noueihed, Bloomberg
The Aug. 4 port explosion decimated neighborhoods filled with historic buildings. Now activists are struggling to keep developers at bay.
In Beirut port, all of Lebanon’s ills are laid bare - Samia Nakhoul, Ellen Francis, and Michael Georgy, Reuters
For the people of Lebanon, the wreckage of the port, and the failure to heed the warnings of Colonel Joseph Skaf and others, has a wider symbolism.
Lebanon A Year Later: Economic Collapse, Riots, Pandemic And Beirut Explosion - Ruth Sherlock, NPR
After a year away, Ruth Sherlock returns to Lebanon to find a country racked by inflation, degraded services and the pandemic and still picking up the pieces from August's explosion in Beirut.
The Things That Remain - Farrah Berrou, Tim Atkin
“There are things that remain from the before that move into the after with you. With every round of trauma, be it man-made tragedy or natural disaster, there are things that remain that can outlive us.”
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, and the Diaspora 🌎
Noor Elkhaldi On Launching Her Podcast, Building A Digital Community And Her Key To Success - Nina Catt, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia
“Launching Arab-American Psycho was a big moment for me. I had spent many years contemplating it, so for it to finally be a reality and have an audience that looks forward to new episodes every Sunday, feels surreal.”
Syria destroyed my faith in what journalism can accomplish - Kareem Shaheen, Open Canada
Kareem Shaheen thought exposing the suffering of ordinary people in Syria’s civil war would compel the world to act. It didn’t.
My sister sits in a Saudi prison cell as Riyadh hosts a G-20 women’s conference - Lina al-Hathloul, The Washington Post
“Neither women nor world leaders should be complicit in this fiction.”
The Riddle of the Sinai Sphinx - Lydia Wilson, Newlines Magazine
How turquoise miners at the margin of great civilizations invented the alphabet.
After Honing His Painting Skills as a Soldier, an Artist Finds His Voice - Alex V. Cipolle, The New York Times
In Iraq, Samir Khurshid had to paint portraits of Saddam Hussein. In Oregon, he’s still painting, and his former life makes its way into his work.
🎶 Music, Culture, and the Arts 🎶
Rethinking Appropriation and Wokeness in Pop Music - Rawiya Kameir, Pitchfork
Over the last decade, the language and aesthetics of social justice have become the social currency of the music industry (and pop culture at large), ultimately yielding the myth that representation solves everything. This is one story of how we got there, and where we carefully go from here.
DJ Switch and Falz talk about fearing for their lives as the creative class oppressed by Nigeria’s rogue police force.
The man behind ‘Selena: The Series’ is ready to lead Hollywood’s Latinx revolution - Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times
As the president and co-founder of Campanario Entertainment, the L.A.-based production company behind the series, Jaime Dávila has been on a mission to get Hollywood’s gatekeepers to abandon their outdated perceptions of the Latinx market.
Kendrick Lamar and the Mantle of Black Genius - Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker
Kendrick Lamar has pushed the pop landscape toward jazz and soul sounds and made space for more radical forms of Blackness in entertainment.
The Day The Mixtape Died: DJ Drama - Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden, NPR
In the early 2000s, mixtapes transformed Tyree Simmons into DJ Drama. Just as Drama and his partner, Don Cannon, were building their Gangsta Grillz mixtape empire, it was those same mixtapes that landed them in Fulton County Jail. But their Gangsta Grillz project wasn't a bootleg series — it was a legit mixtape outfit that worked directly with major-label artists to promote and distribute new music.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Rewind: Ahmad Rashad on 30 Years of ‘NBA Inside Stuff’ - Julian Kimble, The Ringer
The longtime NBA host and reporter reflects on the creation and legacy of one of the most influential sports shows in history.
The Erasure of Mesut Özil - Rory Smith and Tariq Panja, The New York Times
A year ago, he was one of the Premier League’s highest-paid players. Now, after angering China and refusing a pay cut, he has simply vanished.
The Loneliness of the Immigration Lawyer - Marcia Brown, The American Prospect
Immigration attorneys say they’re battling Trump’s ‘war of attrition.’ If he’s re-elected, some may reconsider the work altogether.
AOC’s Next Four Years - Michelle Ruiz, Vanity Fair
The history-making congresswoman addresses her biggest critics, the challenges that loom no matter who wins, and what she’s taking on next.
Instead of fighting systemic racism, France wants to ‘reform Islam’ - James McAuley, The Washington Post
Another terrorist attack has intensified anti-Muslim sentiment.
Your Weekly Sample
In their song “Revolution 9” The Beatles (yes, THE Beatles) sample “Awel Hamsa” by Farid Al-Atrash. Check it out!