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Guest Feature: Malaka Gharib
I think we’re all disgusted by what happened in Washington D.C. this past Wednesday. I’m a bit at a loss for words about it, and have been trying to navigate a few feelings. I am angry at the president and his enablers, angry that this happened, and angry with the way this was covered by some in the media. I’m also not surprised at all by what we witnessed because this was fully expected and talked about for weeks in plain sight. Yet I’m confused as to how the District was so ill-prepared in the first place, and why it took so long for any government, state or federal, to adequately respond. I just have a lot of questions and have been getting what feels like inadequate or no answers.
I don’t really want to dwell on this too much, because I don’t know what more I could say that hasn’t already been said. I think I’m just feeling frustrated, exhausted, and slightly terrified. Under the “Other Reads” section below, I shared some stories that I’ve read related to what happened on Wednesday that I appreciated. I encourage you to check them out.
And I hope that this newsletter can provide an escape from the news and from the world, even for a brief moment.
So with that, I have to admit that I am very excited about this week’s guest feature — and our first one of 2021 — Malaka Gharib!
Malaka is a Filipino Egyptian American artist and a writer based in Nashville. She is the author of I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir and the upcoming graphic memoir, “It Won't Always Be Like This.”
I’ve low key followed Malaka on Twitter for so long that when she followed me back, I freaked out. And she’s always sharing incredible illustrations and thoughtful stories about her family and her identity, which I truly appreciate. So obviously I had to reach out and pick her brain about her taste in music:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
A song from Doves' latest album, "Universal Want." It's about wanting it all, and worrying whether it will ever be enough.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
Mashrou Leila's "Roman." I listened to it on repeat while writing my upcoming graphic novel, about spending my childhood summers in Egypt with my dad's new fam.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
"What I Got" by Sublime. I grew up in Southern California and this song was like THE banger. No matter who was in the car with you -- your cousins, your friends, your uncles -- and that song came on KROQ, it was *mandatory* to roll down the windows and scream the lyrics in each other's faces.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
"Missing" by Everything But The Girl. I will kill that song on karaoke.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
Oh sheeeiiitt it would be "Like This" by Park Hye Jin. That synth and that 90s house beat just makes me hit da clubbbbb you know what I mean?
Big shout out to Malaka for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Malaka’s songs will be included with this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. And be sure to follow Malaka on Instagram and Twitter. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Malaka’s beautiful memoir, “I Was Their American Dream” so check it out if you haven’t yet and stay tuned for her upcoming graphic memoir!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Middle Eastern & North African artists) 🎧
Nadia’s Dance - Elias Rahbani
Habiba - Biaziouka
Shokran - Marwan Moussa
Ya Layali Elbichar - Asmahan
Mesh Mohem - Hamza
Sobri - In-s featuring Mezyane
Space - Felukah
Khaled - Ihan featuring Twelve
Homiya - Habib Belk
El Layali - Nawal Al Zoghbi
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx & Hispanic artists) 🎤
Antes - Immasoul
Señorita - CALITA
Guayabo - Andy Rivera featuring L’Omy
Amor Sin Escalas - Tharyk
Ya Fue - Andrekza
joda - Valentina
Uña Con Diamante - Adrianna Torron
Tal Vez - Sofía Gabbon
Como Si Nada - Adso Alejandro
quiero sentirme bien - Kali Uchis
🎼 Other Music 🎼
SURF - Xavier Omär featuring Masego
Real Groove (Studio 2054 Remix) - Kylie Minogue featuring Dua Lipa
You Need Me - Black Coffee featuring Sun El-Musician and Maxine Ashley
Liability (Reprise) - Lorde
Antidote - Nao featuring Adekunle Gold
Winter - BENEE featuring Mallrat
Regardless - RAYE featuring Rudimental
I Loved You - Will Smith
where’s my lighter - Little Simz featuring Alewya
Joke Ting - GoldLink featuring Ari PenSmith
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lebanese composer, lyricist, Elias Rahbani dies at 82 - Associated Press Staff, Associated Press
Rahbani was hospitalized last week suffering low oxygen after he contracted the coronavirus and succumbed to COVID-19 on Monday.
Beirut's wounds on show in display of art damaged by port blast - Michael Safi, The Guardian
Exhibition presents torn paintings and grazed sculptures in a museum itself hit by explosion.
Why Lebanon's student protests are crucial to the country's future - Luna Safwan, The National
A new generation of politicians, unaffiliated to the entrenched ruling class in Beirut, will emerge from this movement
After their refugee camp was burned down, aid flowed in. They are the ‘lucky’ ones - Abby Sewell, L’Orient Today
An outpouring of support followed the torching of a Syrian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. But the response seems an outlier. Here’s why.
My life is on hold, frozen at the moment my son died in the Beirut blast - Sarah Copland, The Guardian
“The sun still rises and sets every day but I am stuck at 6.08pm on 4 August 2020, when Isaac was taken from me.”
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
In the Middle East, Covid misinformation is putting lives at risk - Kareem Shaheen, The National
Leaders need to take the initiative to combat this issue as well as increase public trust in vaccines.
Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers - Oliver Holmes and Hazem Balousha, The Guardian
Human rights groups accuse Israel of dodging obligations to millions in occupied territories who may wait months for vaccination.
Rowing the Nile: A Soothing Respite in a Chaotic Metropolis - Vivian Yee, The New York Times
Ancient pharaohs rowed the Nile. Now Egyptians have rediscovered the practice, finding a new perspective on the river that shaped their country.
Arab trailblazer Jabeur aims for titles and top 10 in 2021 - Reuters Staff, Reuters
Ons Jabeur made huge gains to climb to career-best rankings last year, but the Tunisian trailblazer is fed up with only reaching quarter-finals and wants to win titles in 2021 to secure a place in the top 10 of women’s tennis.
Syria’s Famished Victory - Lydia Wilson, Newlines Magazine
As the Syrian regime revels in its conquests, people under its rule are struggling to put food on the table.
🎶 Music & Culture 🎶
6 Rising Female Moroccan Singers to Have on Your Radar - Jihane Bougrine, Vogue Arabia
Manal, Abir, Faouzia, Ilham, Yousra, Jaylann. The Moroccan music industry is booming as young, female artists raise their voices.
The Wondrous Rhymes of MF Doom - Hua Hsu, The New Yorker
For the wildly original rapper, who died at age forty-nine, the mask he wore while performing offered a narrative device and protection from judgment.
Aly & AJ Came to F––k 2021 Up - Gabrielle Sanchez, Vulture
The sisters talk about the explicit version of “Potential Breakup Song” that broke the internet, their new album, and Disney
Las Sombras Are the New Vanguard of Argentine Rock - E.R. Pulgar, Rolling Stone
The inheritors of Argentina’s rock legacy are tapping into a new sound with shades of tango, bolero, and the giants of ‘rock nacional’
The Hidden Depths of Alex Trebek’s Banter with “Jeopardy!” Contestants - Beth Blum, The New Yorker
What those mid-game chats revealed about being ordinary.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Not In The Middle East Or Latin America: The Capitol Storming Was All-American - Rowaida Abdelaziz, HuffPost
The reality is the use of violent force and intimidation for political gain has always been part of the U.S. narrative.
For Black People, Wednesday Was Just Another Day in America - Michael Harriot, The Root
“The ones stunned by this shocking turn of events are the same ones who just learned that police shoot unarmed Black people when videos started popping up in their Facebook feed.”
Platforms Must Pay for Their Role in the Insurrection - Roger McNamee, WIRED
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have spent years fomenting and enabling yesterday’s violence at the Capitol. Policymakers need to do something about it.
The Pro-Trump Mob Was Doing It For The ’Gram - Elamin Abdelmahmoud, BuzzFeed News
The assault on the Capitol, and on democracy, also felt like a meme-making social media performance.
Visible Men: Black Fathers Talk About Losing Sons to Police Brutality - Mosi Secret, GQ
Mosi Secret asked the fathers and father figures of Michael Brown, Terence Crutcher, Daniel Prude, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, and Jacob Blake to reflect on the violence that forever altered their families’ lives—and what it means to raise a Black man in America.
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