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Guest Feature: Hayat Aljowaily
🚨 NEW BOOK ALERT 🚨
This Arab Is Queer is a groundbreaking anthology of essays, short memoirs, and other forms of creative nonfiction that centres the voices of LGBTQ+ Arabs. Edited by Elias Jahshan (an illustrious alum of the newsletter), it features contributions from 18 talented writers representing 11 Arabic-speaking countries, many of whom are in the homelands, others in the diaspora. Some of contributors include writer and activist Mona Eltahawy, Black Arabs Collective founder Amna Ali (another illustrious alum of the newsletter), Mashrou' Leila lead singer Hamed Sinno, and so many others. This Arab Is Queer was just released in the UK this week, and will be available in the US on October 18, and in Canada shortly after on October 28. Pre-order now!
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Hayat Aljowaily!
Hayat is an Egyptian filmmaker based in Paris. Having grown up in five different countries, Hayat has always been interested in issues related to global politics, cultural exchange, and identity. After having completed a Bachelors in Social Sciences at Sciences Po in the south of France, Hayat completed a Bachelors of Arts in Film and Media Studies at Columbia University.
Hayat’s bachelors' thesis film, “Maybe Next Time”, has screened at over 10 events and festivals around the world. Most notably, it won the Audience Award at the Tripoli Online Film Festival in Lebanon. Hayat was the assistant to the director on Marvel Studios' “Moon Knight”. Currently, Hayat is developing a short film that she wrote and will co-direct, a docuseries she’s creative producing, and a short musical film that she’s associate producing. She produces most of her projects under the Le Hangar label.
Hayat strives to use films as a means to promote social cohesion and cultural understanding.
Come on, y’all. This is Hayat THEE Aljowaily! We are talking about an integral part of the Moon Knight team, someone who was so critical to why it resonated with so many in our community — by the way, if you haven’t yet streamed it on Disney+, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Hayat deserves so much praise and recognition not just for her work with Moon Knight but for her filmmaking in general. And, frankly, for her genuineness and empathy as a human being. Hayat has to be one of the kindest people with whom I’ve interacted, and someone who truly cares about her community in an authentic way.
1. What is your favorite song right now?
I was going to put “As It Was” by Harry Styles...then I got embarrassed. So I thought I would check my most played on Spotify this week, and guess what it was? “As It Was” by Harry Styles. So there we go. I'm gonna own it. As a hardcore One Direction fan, this song brings back a lot of memories and just immediately makes me want to blast it and dance around my room in my PJs.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
I'm going to have to go for “3 Daqat” by Abu. Once that whistling begins I immediately feel the hot Egyptian air brushing against me and can almost hear the waves (and/or the crazy traffic) behind me.
On a different note, I would go for an Om Kolthoum song. Maybe “Enta Omri”. My dad always used to play it in the car when we would be traveling by car in Egypt. But especially, my grandfather always used to have Om Kalthoum playing, from his old radio. Whether we’d be in Cairo, Alexandria or the North Coast, he would always sit with his radio next to him, listening to her regal voice. To this day, I can still hear it in the background when I go to their house and it immediately brings me back to sitting with him.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
“Summer Nights” from Grease. I love musicals in general, but Grease is the musical that made me love cinema and led me to where I am today!
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
I have to go with Afrobeats for this one. It's what kept me going during the pandemic when we couldn't dance anywhere but at home. I would go for “Jerusalema” by Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode or “Skeletun” by Tekno.
Big shout out to Hayat for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Hayat’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to go check out some of Hayat’s amazing work, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Flows by Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Artists 🎧
Kasseta - Snor
Temporary Highs - Layal
Mehtar - Ali Loka
Marra - Riffi
Fascination - Tamino
7ZN W MKATEEB - Shbash
All In - SRNO featuring 3robi and Nej
Yemma - JenJoon featuring Sharifa Jamal
LA7ALE - WAJA33
Sam7a Gamra - Ahmed Amin
🎤 Vibes by Latinx & Hispanic Artists 🎤
Mala Memoria - Carmen DeLeon
En Otro Lugar - Queralt Lahoz
Bailo Sola - Paty Cantú
SUNBLOCK - Jotaerre featuring Caleb Calloway
Nos Comemos Vivos - Maluma featuring Chencho Corleone
Nena de Antes - Chris Lebron
Diva - Princess Nokia
12x3 - DEKKO
Te Boté (Remix) - Nio Garcia featuring Casper Magico, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Nicky Jam, and Darell
En La Mia - AloSofia
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Just So You Remember - Pusha T
SOMETHING - Gyakie
Ops - Scorcher featuring Tion Wayne
Flight’s Booked - Drake
Ngithande - Bassie featuring Lwah Ndlunkulu
Méchante - Aya Nakamura
1989 - Aitch
1 of 1 - SHINee
The Moon Song - Karen O and Ezra Koenig
It’s Over Now - 112
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Rape used ‘systematically’ during Lebanon’s civil war, report finds - Tessa Fox, The Guardian
Levels of torture and sexual violence used by combatants against women and girls during the 15-year conflict shocked investigators. (*Content warning: discusses sexual violence)
Back to the land: Lebanese family turns to farming to survive crises - Maya Gebeily and Aziz Taher, Reuters
Like many families in crisis-plagued Lebanon, Qassem Shreim turned to farming after the local pound began to slip in 2019, making his construction work scarce and his grocery runs ever more costly.
The return of Beirut’s storytelling nights: ‘regaining the right to dream’ - Farah-Silvana Kanaan, L’Orient Today
Before the likes of Netflix and social media served up an incessant stream of curated stories, the most common and celebrated form of entertainment in the Middle East used to be that of the hakawati, meaning “the one who tells stories.”
'1982' explores the complexities of love and war in Lebanon - Leila Fadel, Reena Advani, and Nina Kravinsky, NPR
1982 is a love story set against the backdrop of war, when Israel invaded Lebanon 40 years ago. Lebanese filmmaker Oualid Mouaness, inspired by his own memories, wrote the and directed the film.
Know thyself: How Nourie Flayhan unlocks her creativity - William Mullally, Esquire Middle East
Renowned Lebanese illustrator and Cartier Pasha Tribe member Nourie Flayhan digs deep into her own creative process.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Three Buses and the Rhythm of Remembering - Sulafa Zidani, The Markaz Review
Riding the bus down memory lane, a Palestinian-American scholar of digital culture at MIT recalls her time in Jerusalem and Haifa.
Tunisia’s UGTT stages nationwide strike over wages and cuts - Alessandra Bajec, Al Jazeera
Powerful union demands an increase in salaries and opposes proposed spending cuts and privatisation plans amid economic crisis.
Sowing the seeds for a brighter future: Meet Azad Muhamad, the celebrity gardener of Iraqi Kurdistan - Dana Taib Menmy, The New Arab
Hailing from Halabja, gardener Azad Muhamad has helped revive the region's history of gardening and has built up a dedicated fan base in the process. Azad hopes to inspire more to pursue gardening, especially important given the frequency of drought.
How British-Sudanese Basketball Player Asma Elbadawi Shakes Things Up Both On And Off The Court - Laura Kell, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia
“Go out into your community, into your city and find out which coaches are out there, that are coaching the sport that you really love – and then find out how to get into those spaces where scouts are actually going and selecting players, so you can move forward.”
No pride in prejudice: Syrian LGBTQ+ community fight to have their voices heard - Rodayna Radan, The New Arab
Syria's LGBTQI+ groups break boundaries in the uphill battle to have their voices heard at home and abroad despite challenges, barriers, and consequences.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
When the Lamp Switched On: How Pixar Went From Experimental Studio to Commercial Juggernaut - Katie Baker, The Ringer
From the stewardship of George Lucas to Steve Jobs to Mickey Mouse himself, the story of Pixar is marked by breakups, risk-taking, and sheer creative flair.
R&B Upstart Yaya Bey Wants More for Black Women - Clover Hope, Pitchfork
With her new album Remember Your North Star, the New York artist realized that her worth isn’t measured by how much she can endure.
Megan Thee Stallion Will Not Back Down - Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone
She's reigning over rap and pop culture while reeling from loss, violence, and a feeling of betrayal. Here, the superstar opens up about all of it like never before — including her most detailed interview yet on the shooting and its aftermath.
Tori Amos on overcoming sexism in the music biz: ‘I had to become the gladiator’ - Suzy Exposito, Los Angeles Times
After a five-year absence from touring, Tori Amos returns with a new generation of artists in her debt and some thoughts on the power of “the Muses.”
On 'It's Almost Dry,' Pusha T plays the long game - Ayesha Rascoe, Isabella Gomez Sarmiento, and Hadeel Al-Shalchi, NPR
NPR speaks with the rapper about making his new album It's Almost Dry, working with Kanye and Pharrell and reflecting on what longevity looks like in hip-hop.
📚 Other Reads 📚
After years of snubbing LGBTQ+ fans, WNBA is sports’ most welcoming league - Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, The Athletic
“It made it easier for me, made me feel less alone.”
George Washington University Will Retire ‘Colonial’ Moniker - Aja Drain, DCist
The George Washington University “Colonials” will soon be no more: the college announced on Wednesday that it’s officially dropping its long-held moniker, which has been criticized for glorifying colonialism, slavery, and racial discrimination.
A tampon shortage, during a formula shortage, during a child care shortage - Chabeli Carrazana, The 19th
Addressing the shortages means overcoming not just disregard for people’s needs, but also the discomfort many Americans feel discussing menstruation and other issues affecting women and marginalized groups.
How Vinyl Flooring Made with Uyghur Forced Labor Ends Up at Big Box Stores - Mara Hvistendahl, The Intercept
The industry calls it “luxury vinyl tile.” In reality, much of that plastic relies on toxic chemicals — and immense labor abuses.
Celtics’ Al Horford has Boston’s Dominican community behind him at the NBA Finals - Marc Spears, Andscape
The Boston center is the first player from the Dominican Republic to play for the NBA championship: ‘The amount of support is unreal’ (*YES I KNOW THE CELTICS LOST LAST NIGHT OKAY???? This is still a good story)