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Guest Feature: Anees
This week, Human Rights Watch released an incredibly important (and detailed) 213-page report called “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” examining Israeli government policy toward and treatment of Palestinians and outlining why these constitute crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.
While many Palestinians and advocates have been saying this for years, it is a watershed moment that HRW has too now come out to call Israeli repression of Palestinians apartheid.
I hope you all get the chance to at least read HRW’s executive summary of the report, if not the full report itself.
This a small step, but it’s meaningful.
Okay, y’all. Let’s get into it. I am so excited to introduce our guest feature for this week: Anees!
Anees is an indie singer-rapper from the DC area. His core message is centered on love, healing, and self-belief. Known for his freestyle songwriting and livestream recording sessions, Anees has amassed a community of hundreds of thousands of loyal supporters. His latest single "slip" has lifted his music career to new heights and he plans to release 6 more songs throughout Summer 2021.
Anees is blowing up right now, in large part because of “slip” — which is catchy if I may say so myself. The song is so good, it got the attention of Justin Bieber, who dropped in on Anees’s Instagram livestream a couple of weeks ago. But more than anything, Anees has a lot of love, empathy, and positivity in a time when we all could really use it, and I was excited to have him share some of his go-to songs this week:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
“Anyone” by Justin Bieber. I have to go with “Anyone.” There's magic in this song. Feeling someone passionately devote love and commitment to one person, forever, is special. We don't celebrate that kind of long-term romanticism enough. This song has the power to make marriage cool. That's why I love it. When you've got that one person in your life worth fighting for, and I do, this song means something very real, very eternal. I been running it on repeat.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
“Good News” by Mac Miller. Mac always finds a way to put me in my feels. But, specifically in this song, the vulnerability in the lyrics makes me feel like I knew him personally. It hits me deeply each time I listen to it. It's so raw, so tender, so honest. It's hard for me to hold back the waterworks when I'm listening to this track. I miss Mac a lot.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
“Bamboleo” by the Gipsy Kings. My parents probably played this song 100 thousand times during my childhood. I think I honestly might have learned Spanish just through the osmosis of this song being on repeat for decades. And despite the absurd repetition, I've never gotten sick of it. “Bamboleo” is a nostalgic and timeless classic for me that always brings me back home.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
“Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” by John Mayer. This is always the anthem for me. To be honest, I can't even relate to the lyrics, but it really doesn't matter. Every word to this song has been burnt into my brain and, at this point, I couldn't forget them if I tried. If someone required me to sing a song word-for-word, and my life depended on it, this would be my choice.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
“X Gon’ Give It To Ya” by DMX. Rest in Eternal Power, DMX!!! He was and will always be the ultimate beacon of energy, passion, and self-belief. This song has gotten me through very dark times. This anthem has been the spark of energy that I needed when I couldn't find one elsewhere. Whenever I turn it on, I feel invincible, I feel like I can do the impossible.
Big shout out to Anees for joining and sharing his song selections! All of Anees’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. And check him out on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, and be on the lookout for some new tracks coming soon (which you can listen to on all of your favorite streaming platforms)!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Middle Eastern & North African artists) 🎧
Lifethativebeenlivin - Neemz
Cosmic Time - Tamara Qaddoumi
Poco a Poco - Sonio Noor
Lyali - Manal
Maria - Radjel
Ana Hor - Sherif Abdelmeged featuring Hesham Raptor
Ilit Ismi - Tina Yamout
Tourist - Marwan Abdelhamid
Ki datni - Islem-23
Tannesh Taaiesh Tantaesh - Sharif Elfehail
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx & Hispanic artists) 🎤
Se Acabó - Bomba Estéreo
No Es Importante - iLe
Malvinas - Chel Maya featuring Gromm
Pendiente de Mi - vf7
Insecure - Amara La Negra
De Más - YOSHI featuring Jesse Baez
Dale Tumba - Aymee Nuviola
Tira la Puerta - Delić
Pitada - Emmanuel Horvilleur
Ven Bailalo - Angel y Khriz
🎼 Other Music 🎼
Worth It - Amber Mark
Kilometre - Burna Boy
Mirror - Topaz Jones featuring Leven Kali
Your Power - Billie Eilish
Frida Khalo - LION BABE
Awake - Chiiild featuring Mahalia
Titanium - Dave
HEAVY - Ivy Sole
It’s All About Me - Mya
Giggin’ On ‘Em - Shaquille O’Neal featuring Phife Dawg
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lebanon is facing an identity crisis. Elections won’t solve it. - Luna Safwan, The Washington Post
The only way to change Lebanon lies in deconstructing what the country was made of and then reconstructing it.
We Should All Be Drinking More Lebanese Wine - Farrah Berrou, Eater
Despite having been around for millennia, Lebanon as a wine-producing country is still a revelation for most readers.
Migrant workers neglected in Lebanon’s COVID-19 vaccine plan - Lynn Sheikh Moussa, Beirut Today
Migrant workers in Lebanon, both documented and undocumented, are unlikely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 any time soon.
Refugee students battle barriers to learning in Lebanon - Abby Sewell, Financial Times
Pupils and teachers have made extraordinary efforts but Covid has exacerbated crises in the country.
Broken-hearted in Beirut - Layal Abou Rahal, Agence France-Presse
“I never thought a day would come when survivors of the war would tell me there was something worse during peacetime.”
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
In Vested Interests: A love of art that turned a Libyan businessman's passion into patronage - Usman Butt, The New Arab
Delving into the private collection of Libyan investor AbdulMagid Breish, the new book chronicles the hope, despair and blended subjectivities of contemporary and classical Arab art.
‘Silence No More’: Women’s Rights in Kuwait Face an Uphill Battle - Nour Al Mukhled and Yousef H. Alshammari, Newlines Magazine
A brutal murder offers a watershed moment to grapple with the country’s discriminatory laws against women — but the opportunity might be squandered.
Rediscovered Photos of Gaza Reveal a Lesser-Known Side of Its History - Dana Al Sheikh, VICE
In the 1940s, photographer Kegham Djeghalian opened the first photo studio in Gaza City. His images show life in the city before it was transformed by war.
Fearing reprisals, Syrian refugees wary to vote in election - Kareem Chehayeb, Al Jazeera
The Syrian government has reached out to millions of refugees to vote in its May presidential elections, but many refuse to register.
Iraqi medics recount horrors from Baghdad's hospital inferno - Samya Kullab and Abdulrahman Zeyad, Associated Press
Iraqi doctors, medical staff and rescue workers who witnessed the first moments of the catastrophic blaze described the scenes to The Associated Press, many overcome by trauma and saying that night is forever seared in their memory.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
For Shock G, the man who made room for everyone on the dance floor - Minda Honey, The Undefeated
“Shock G and the Digital Underground will be remembered for their contributions to music, but may Shock G’s memory also be honored for guiding us all toward more pleasure.”
Audrey Nuna: modern R&B’s new visionary cooking up a storm - Rhian Daly, NME
New Jersey singer and songwriter Audrey Nuna's upcoming debut EP offers an array of sounds and delights to feast on.
Found Sound - Alex Atack and Dana Ballout, Kerning Cultures
Two stories of music getting lost…and then found again. A record producer unearths a Moroccan masterpiece in the back of a dusty electronics shop in Casablanca, sending him on a long and complicated mission to find out what happened to the artist. And, a song that was never meant to be heard outside a small group of friends becomes an internet sensation.
JAY-Z on Fame, Fortune, and Lockdown Life with Beyoncé and the Kids - Louis Wise, The Times
After nearly three decades in the public eye, JAY‑Z is one of the most powerful figures in pop culture. As he launches a new campaign with Puma, the 51‑year‑old music mogul grants a rare audience to Louis Wise.
Princess Nokia: “I have a very resourceful spirit – a survivor’s spirit” - Natty Kasambala, NME
After nine years in the game, the mercurial rapper is on the cusp of her most world-conquering reinvention yet. “I just want to be a fucking shapeshifter diva!” she says.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Their father was dying, so two brothers in India went on a desperate hunt for oxygen. - Sameer Yasir, The New York Times
Families of the sick are filling social media with pleas for oxygen as supplies run low at hospitals or because they are trying to administer care at home.
They Wanted to Call Roller World. Instead They’ve Been Calling the New York Times - Spencer Buell, Boston Magazine
A White House reporter with a phone number dangerously close to Roller World's has been fielding calls from its customers for more than a decade.
Why the World Should Worry About India - Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic
The world’s largest vaccine producer is struggling to overcome its latest COVID-19 surge—and that’s everyone’s problem.
The NCAA Erased My Career - Brittany Collens, The Players’ Tribune
“To see all these things happening: The mistreatment of college athletes, and as well as the inequitable treatment of female athletes — look no further than the weight rooms at the March Madness tournaments. I’ve come to the realization that the NCAA has no moral compass. That’s the truth. The only compass they have points right to the money.”
Welcome to the YOLO Economy - Kevin Roose, The New York Times
Burned out and flush with savings, some workers are quitting stable jobs in search of postpandemic adventure.
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