Guest Feature: HASNA
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This week marked 20 years since the US invasion of Iraq. I want to share some powerful and important stories and perspectives reflecting on what transpired and the time since:
The Iraq I Never Knew - Salwan Georges, The Washington Post
20 Years After US Invasion, Iraq Faces Cascading Climate and Water Crises - Mike Ludwig, Truthout
The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq brought terrorism to my country, Iraqi author says - Leila Fadel and Sinan Antoon, NPR
U.S. veterans won justice for burn pit exposure. Iraqis were forgotten. - Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim, The Washington Post
Iraq war: I was tortured at Abu Ghraib. After 20 years, I'm still seeking justice - Salah Al-Ejaili, Middle East Eye
How Iraq’s children of war found their voice - Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim, The Washington Post
There are, of course, many others I encourage everyone to read and process.
Thank you, friends. Let’s go ahead and get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: HASNA!
HASNA is an R&B solo artist whose work is inspired by underground R&B, hip-hop with a twist of soul and jazz. As a self-taught artist, she has collaborated with numerous beat makers, developed her own production and engineering skills to find her sound. Versatile, independent and creative HASNA is involved in every step of her music making. She independently writes, records, vocally produces, conducts her photoshoots and music videos.
Everyone should be paying attention to HASNA because she is coming in full force! Her two singles, “Sun Goes Down” and “Lost Woods” are two beautiful, sultry songs where she showcases her lyrical abilities in French and English. Something that always fascinates me is where artists draw their inspiration from or what they listen to—and let me tell y’all, HASNA has such a thoughtful and eclectic taste in music:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
The past year has been marked by my love for the new wave of rappers in France. Recently, one of my favourites released an incredible body of work "Il me ressemble pas non plus" by Khali. I could go on for hours about this artist but I'll just really recommend listening and watching "Le monde est à toi" - my favourites of the album change every single week but there are bangers, sad songs, experimental ones.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
If I really want to get in my feelings or put a soundtrack to my sad days, my absolute go to is a song with strong vocals and instrumentals. I've been listening to “My Mind” by Yebba for months now and it still moves me the exact same way.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
Ok this one is actually difficult because I actually can't really tell. It changes so much with time, but at the moment I would say “Abdel Kader” by Khaled and the live 1999 version of Alaoui by the ONB (orchestre national de barbes). I just adore live music from the region from hanging out in the house with it playing on TV to weddings. It just never misses.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
If you know me you know I have loved Doja Cat for a very long time. To be honest I know most of her discography by heart but my absolute favourite will have to be “Streets”. If you're trying to get my attention just put that on and I'll stop what I am doing.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
I discovered Nathy Peluso a few years ago with her track Corashe and fell in love with her. Again, that's a hard choice but my absolute go to's are “Mafiosa” and “Sana Sana”. She is so incredibly versatile in the use of her voice, she flows and brings movement in every single song. It's quite literally impossible to not move along with those on.
Big shout out to HASNA for joining and sharing her song selections! All of HASNA’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Make sure you follow HASNA on Instagram and Twitter and go listen to her music immediately!
HASNA did want to include this shout out as well:
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
This State - Layal
Yalli hawak - Asmahan
Lii - Samara
Mistaniyak - Norhan
Je sais que t’as mal - Oussama
El 3asefa - Abyusif
El Hob Kokh w Elakh Fakh - Essam Sasa
Bombonera - NEGAPHONE
Gazing - Neemz
Darouha Biya - Cheb Djalil
Sadou Aalia El Bab - Artmasta featuring Mohamed Al Saqri
23 - Shmakh
Dollar - Nubi
Obsessed - Zahraa
Mesabek - Shahyn
FOG - Vortex
Bayda - Islem-23
DARBET BAR2 - Hady Moamer featuring Solty
S12 - TIF featuring Flenn
Betnuj - Nuj featuring Elos Byuri
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
En Bajita - Justin Quiles featuring Natti Natasha and Omar Courtz
CELOS - Myke Towers featuring J Balvin
Canciones Tristes - Daniela Spalla
¿Comó Es Que Tú? - Ela Taubert
Sin Yolanda - Zuaraz featuring Gutinho
7 Veces - TINI
Ya No Puedo - Nohemy
Sin Ropa - Sie7e
Agüita de Coco - Alex Cuba featuring Butera Knowless
Promesa - ROSALÍA & Rauw Alejandro
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Again - Lenny Kravitz
Temporary - 6LACK featuring Don Toliver
Fallen - Mýa
on the pisces moon - Yaya Bey
Demon Time (Remix) - Alex Vaughn featuring Ari Lennox
Candy Necklace - Lana Del Rey featuring Jon Batiste
SWITCH - DESTIN CONRAD
Colors (My Baby) - Magixx
Eye See U - Kota the Friend & Statik Selektah
SETE (Remix) - K.O. featuring Diamond Platnumz, Oxlade, and Young Stunna
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
A tool for peace in times of crisis: Yoga’s rise in Lebanon - Amanda Haydar, L’Orient Today
In recent years, yoga has gone mainstream in a big way. In a country where every day can seem like a battle, it brings much-needed peace to the hundreds who have taken up the practice.
Hundreds of people swarmed into downtown Beirut Wednesday to protest Lebanon's dire economic conditions as the collapse of the country's currency posed an increasing challenge for a government reeling from years of chaos.
IMF warns without reforms, Lebanon could see hyperinflation - Abby Sewell, Associated Press
The International Monetary Fund gave a grim assessment Thursday of Lebanon’s prospects for getting out of its deepening financial crisis, saying that without reforms, the country is headed for hyperinflation.
Lebanon’s 2023 Ramadan: A Month of Sorrow and Distress - Dana Hourany, Fanack
With the lira losing over 98% of its value, coupled with the eroding value of the currency, Lebanon's 2023 Ramadan is much worse than last year.
Can a water pumping station rebuild trust in public services? - Richard Salame, L’Orient Today
One of Beirut’s main water pumping stations reopened this week as part of an effort to improve service and regain public trust.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Libyan Couscous Connoisseurs Cook Up Recognition Bid - Aziz El Massassi, Agence France-Presse
"Libya is rich in culture and heritage and this heritage is not protected".
Death of a Palestinian Protester: How Did Walid al-Sharif Die? - Hind Hassan and Lama Al Arian, VICE News
VICE World News has reconstructed the death of Walid al-Sharif with never-before-seen footage from an al-Aqsa mosque raid by Israeli forces in April 2022.
Yemen's Old Walled City of Shibam endangered by the elements - Will Spiers, The New Arab
Home to the world's first skyscrapers, the ancient Yemeni city of Shibam has weathered the storm of time for nearly half a millennia. But a combination of climate change and the Yemeni Civil War could now threaten to bring the city to the ground.
A sad, subdued Nowruz for Syria’s Kurds - Ali Haj Suleiman and Husam Hezaber, Al Jazeera
Mourning the people killed in February’s massive earthquakes, the community gets together for a toned-down celebration.
As Ramadan arrives, inflation chokes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia - Francisco Serrano, Al-Monitor
In North African nations, higher food costs will make it harder to access supplies for the festive month.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
When only affluent fans can afford concert tickets, there’s a price to be paid - Eric R. Danton, The Boston Globe
As coveted concert tickets sell for hundreds or thousands, it has created scarcity "that is turning audiences into a self-selecting group with resources beyond the reach of many people."
What It Was Like to Replace Stevie Nicks in Fleetwood Mac - Andy Greene, Rolling Stone
Bekka Bramlett grew up around John Lennon and George Harrison, but nothing could prepare her for joining Fleetwood Mac in 1994, during one of the rockiest periods in the band's history.
Tamtam, the Saudi Artist Turning Pop into Poetry - Danny Hajjar, SceneNoise
I had a chance to talk to one of my favorite artists and people about her musical process, her aspirations, and her love for poetry.
With co-signs from reggaeton’s titans, Myke Towers sets sights on Latin music stardom - Suzy Exposito, Los Angeles Times
Raised on foundational 2000s records by Don Omar and Tego Calderón, Towers is part of a rising tide of Puerto Rican MCs who are duking it out for prominence on the world stage.
A new wave of Arab musical artists are gaining global traction - Linah Mohammad, Patrick Jarenwattananon, and Ailsa Chang, NPR
More shameless self-promotion. I had the honor to be on NPR talking about the new wave of Arabic music gaining global attention.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Eastbay was more than just a magazine for basketball players - Ohm Youngmisuk and Nick DePaula, ESPN
Before the internet and do-it-all smartphones were in every household and every palm, Eastbay was what fed sneaker junkies.
Jaylen Brown Is Trying to Find a Balance - Logan Murdock, The Ringer
The Celtics star wants to be known for more than just basketball, even as he tries to help Boston to a repeat NBA Finals bid. But recent missteps, largely stemming from his affiliation with Kyrie Irving and Ye, have shown just how difficult that may be.
After years of separation, the woman once known only as Ms. A.B. has reunited with her children. It's the latest twist in a legal case that is deeply intertwined with the asylum debate in the U.S.
Interpreters are necessary for health equity - Dr. Vidya Raju, The Boston Globe
All states have passed laws addressing language access, but only a limited number have passed or attempted to pass comprehensive legislation and designated funding for language access.
Pakistani Women Are Not All Right - Mira Sethi, The New Yorker
The country’s annual march for women’s rights was a defiant act of self-assertion that once again sparked panic and condemnation from conservatives.