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Guest Feature: Lulu Seikaly
Y’all, I cannot describe how excited I am for this week’s guest feature. So much so, that I am forgoing the usual intro at the beginning of the newsletter because we just need to go ahead and get right into it.
It’s my honor to welcome our guest for this week: Lulu Seikaly!
Lulu is a first-generation Lebanese-American who was the Democratic Nominee for US Congress in Texas’ 3rd Congressional district in 2020. If elected, Lulu would have been the first Arab-American Congresswoman elected from Texas. Lulu is an employment attorney in Dallas, Texas. She is a Board Member of the Arab American Democratic Action Fund, whose mission is to support candidates and members of Congress and the US Senate, who will advocate for policies to help support Lebanon and the Middle East as a whole.
Lulu is truly an inspiration. I have been following Lulu since she first announced her candidacy, and her advocacy and passion for the issues truly shine through when you hear her speak or see her tweets. Lulu also wrote this deeply heartfelt essay in Glamour about the Port of Beirut blast in August 2020 and what her identity means to her. Lulu is an overall amazing and positive human being, and her go-to music really reflects that:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
This is such a hard pick because my favorite song changes every second! I’ve been listening to a lot of Tom Misch and RÜFÜS DU SOL. “Lost in Paris” by Tom Misch has been a very frequent play lately. I’ve also been daydreaming a lot about traveling when this pandemic is over, so I’ve been listening a lot to Sydney Bechet’s “Si Tu Vois Ma Mère” because it immediately transports me to a café in Saint-Germain in Paris.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
John Mayer: “Back to You”— now I know this is super old school John Mayer, but this song always makes me feel all my feels. It first started when my family and I would go overseas to visit extended family in the summer. I would pack up my portable CD player (I hope y’all remember those) and 5-10 CDs. The summer I bought this album, I had my first serious boyfriend, and I had no way of talking to him all summer (internet was sparse and we didn’t have smart phones). This song helped me that summer. I don’t associate this song with him anymore, but it still gives me all the feels.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
Bowling for Soup: “Ohio (Come Back to Texas)” — after I graduated college, I moved to France to teach English at a high school in a small town in Burgundy. My best friend from college burned me a CD of songs to take with me. This song was on it, and it always reminded me about how much I missed Mexican food that year I was gone. Didn’t really miss two-stepping though.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
Ace of Base: “The Sign”— this was such a hard question because I was the kid growing up who would memorize all the lyrics to my favorite songs. However, this Ace of Base tape was one of the first tapes I ever bought and one of the first songs I knew all the lyrics to by heart.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
Whitney Houston: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — whenever I am nervous to go to trial or a legal hearing, this is my go to song to blast in the car over and over again!
Big shout out to Lulu for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Lulu’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. And please, be sure to follow Lulu on Twitter and keep up with her effort to turn Texas blue!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Middle Eastern & North African artists) 🎧
Lissa - TooDope
Ajmal Ihssas - Elissa
Babylone - ISSAM
Jeet Kermalak - Adonis featuring Dana Hourani
Immortal - NumbXiller
Dayer Ziyada - Gohary
Sawfa Ahlam - Emy Hetari
Runnin’ Thru The City - Neemz
Nas Mala3een - El Madfaagya featuring Hassan Shakosh and Islam Chipsy
Oumi - Inez
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx & Hispanic artists) 🎤
No Debes Jugar - Selena y Los Dinos
DOLORES - Zahara
Tiempo - Ozuna
No Necesito - Fátima Pinto
No Quiero Na’ - Samantha Sánchez
Fácil - Martinez featuring Jambene
Acuérdate De Mí - LATENIGHTJIGGY
Soliá - Bad Bunny
Ten Cuidao’ - SOULFIA
Amor de Madre - Aventura
🎼 Other Music 🎼
Twisted Fantasy - Justine Skye featuring Rema
I Lied - Lord Huron featuring Allison Ponthier
Lost In Space - Folamour featuring SG Lewis
Tangerine - Barii
Loud - Moliy featuring Kkeda
No Strings Attached - *NSYNC
Blame - Grace Carter featuring Jacob Banks
Found Love - Sofya Wang
Dear Mama - Tupac Shakur
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Nine months on, families of the victims of the Beirut port explosion await justice - Ghada Alsharif, L’Orient Today
On the fourth day of every month since the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion, the families of those who were killed stand in front of the blast zone’s epicenter, candles alight, awaiting answers yet to be given and justice yet to be served. Tuesday marked nine months since the blast.
Soaring Food Prices Make Ramadan Meals a Luxury in Lebanon - Lin Noueihed, Bloomberg
More middle class Lebanese are turning to charities to make ends meet.
Beirut Jam Sessions: How a Beirut-based collective has breathed new life into Lebanon's music industry - Yousif Nur, The New Arab
Meshing local talent with revered regional names, Beirut Jam Sessions have forged new, sustainable pathways for Lebanon's music industry, as the country battles national disorder and the coronavirus pandemic.
The phantom pain - Lina Mounzer, L’Orient Today
“It is undeniable fact that before Oct. 17, 2019, we lived in a different country — a different world — than the one in which we live now. We are now in uncharted territory, where so many familiar landscapes have become nightmarish distortions of themselves.”
Dear Nostalgia: Adra Kandil’s Visual Letters to a Place That Never Was - Michelle Eid and Cynthia Ghoussoub, Al Rawiya Magazine
Embodying a hybrid world of alternate realities, Lebanese visual artist, Adra Kandil (aka “Dear Nostalgia” online), uses photography, collages, typography, and digital montages to blend modern-day truths with the romanticism of collective nostalgia. As a post-war child with a desire to experience Lebanon's ”Golden Age”, the multi-disciplinarian draws on personal storylines and relevant cultural references to blur the boundaries between time and space.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Houston brothers want to introduce the 'real' Tunisian harissa to American consumers - Emma Balter, Houston Chronicle
Brothers Mansour and Karim Arem launched Zwïta Foods, a line of specialty harissa based on their grandmother's recipe.
How Egypt’s Dosy Bikes is Battling Cultural Stereotypes - Alya Mooro, AMAKA
Sisters Menna and Nouran Ali Farouk are empowering women to saddle up and ride bikes.
Hard but sweet-smelling slog in Morocco's Valley of the Roses - Sophie Pons, Agence France-Presse
In Morocco's Kelaat Mgouna in the Atlas Mountains, roses are a key industry, and its annual festival attracted thousands of visitors before Covid-19.
In Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinian youth are leading the struggle to defend their homes - Oren Ziv, +972 Magazine
Sheikh Jarrah's youth are holding nightly vigils to raise awareness and protect their neighborhood from evictions and gradual takeover by Israeli settlers.
Syrian refugees create Spain's first Arabic news outlet to fight communal stigma and fears - Inigo Alexander, The New Arab
With incidents of xenophobia towards Arab communities in Spain on the rise, the establishment of Baynana is a welcome counterweight to anti-immigrant sentiment, and the promotion of Arab-led news.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Music in Egypt in the Last Decade: Hit and Run with the Authorities - Ahmed Naji, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
Mahraganat was born within the January Revolution as a byproduct of the Revolution’s spirit and overflowing energy. Today, however, police patrols chase down mahraganat singers, with support from the Musicians’ Syndicate.
Who Owns Selena’s Legacy? - Rosa Sanchez, Rolling Stone
As the Netflix series about Mexican American icon Selena Quintanilla Perez returns for Season 2, the battle over her estate rages on.
How South African Women In Music Helped Take Down Apartheid - Joseph Yorke-Wescott, AMAKA
Though largely overlooked, the contributions of women to the collapse of apartheid and advancement of liberation through music inspired generations.
Made For The W, the blueprint for women’s sports - Torrie Shepard, Melanin Muse
Introducing Made for the W (formerly known as WNBA Kicks), a group of three, incredible Black and brown women turning sneaker culture on its head and giving it a fresh face.
Bowen Yang Is Adding Fresh Irreverence To Late Night Comedy - Matthew Jacobs, HuffPost
“Bowen Yang had already spent several months writing for the show, but it was his premiere as a performer that showcased his ability to reinterpret old concepts with fresh irreverence.”
📚 Other Reads 📚
Ma’Khia Bryant deserved better in life — and death - Renée Graham, The Boston Globe
Like too many Black girls and women killed by police, the teenager was not afforded lasting attention or outrage.
ELLE spoke with Audie Cornish, the award-winning co-host of NPR's renowned news program All Things Considered, in honor of the show's upcoming 50th anniversary. The media veteran shares why she once felt like the “last dinosaur” of journalism, the lipstick she turns to for important moments, and the warning she has for working mothers.
Refugee doctor chronicles Tigray’s pain as he treats it - Cara Anna, Associated Press
Tewodros Tefera is one of more than 60,000 people who have fled ethnic violence in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, crossing the border into a remote corner of Sudan. Horrified by what he saw when the fighting between Ethiopian and Tigray forces began six months ago, and by the tales of new arrivals, the 44-year-old chronicles the pain even as he treats it.
Is America the merciful nation immigrants want it to be? - Tyrone Beason, Los Angeles Times
“Can a society that treats some of its own citizens of color as not fully American take responsibility for those who have left everything behind to become one of us?”
Meet the man behind some of the best questions on Twitter - Jeanne Bonner, CNN
Eric Alper is a music publicist. But if social media is any gauge, he spends a good part of his day sparking conversation by crafting questions on Twitter, like "What opening lyric of a song gives you chills?"
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