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Guest Feature: Nadia Al-Sayed
A bit of happy news this week. For the first time since the tournament began in 1974, Lebanon won the Arab Nations Basketball Championship, defeating Tunisia in the finals on Wednesday.
Finally, our country had something good happen. Yes, winning a basketball game is trivial compared to what has become the daily reality for Lebanon. Yet, in this brief moment in time, we got to escape and express sheer joy and jubilation.
It’s emotional to see your people, who have and continue to endure far too much, cheer in excitement. This victory was worth it to see our people happy, even if just for a bit.
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Nadia Al-Sayed!
Nadia is an anthropologist and cultural consultant. She grew up between London and Jeddah and currently floats between London and Kuwait. Her interests include but are not limited to travel, art, literature, music, and Arab film. Nadia is passionate about all things culture (mainly SWANA-region-related) and GEWE (gender equality and women's empowerment).
Y’all, Nadia truly does it all in service of the culture. A true champion for social justice, she is someone I have come to admire and someone who is not afraid to speak out for equality and human rights. Nadia also has a fun, eclectic taste in music too:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
I know I’m going to kick myself later for forgetting a song or two but…
Recently I’ve been listening to “Flow” by Sade on repeat, there’s no denying that Sade is incredible but this song feels extra special.
“Home” by Adriatique, I got to know Adriatique after seeing them in Garten in Beirut a couple of summers ago, it was such a great and eventful night so Adriatique always takes me back to warm nights and early mornings in Beirut with close friends.
I love afrobeats, for now “Katerina” by Bruce Melodie has been a catchy song that has been stuck in my head.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
“Abusey Junction” by KOKOROKO is such a magical song for me, the first time I heard it I knew it was going to be special, it transports me to a sunny safe haven.
“Ayonha” by Hamid Al Shaeri is the song I wait for at Habibi Funk gigs.
“Electric Feel” by MGMT, I’ve been listening to this song since I was about 11? Forever a good mood tune.
“Forget Me Nots” by Patrice Rushen is another guaranteed funky good vibes song.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
“Dancing in the Moonlight” by Toploader — Growing up in London, you knew it was summer and the sun was shining when the radios started playing this song.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
“Careless Whisper” by George Michael is a classic, plus I <3 George.
“Kiss Me Thru the Phone” by Soulja Boy — a throwback to teenage years.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
“Okay Okay” by Pino D’Angio. My best friend and I were at a bar in Paris, as soon as this song came on everyone went crazy; its an old cheesy Italian song that has to be listened to at maximum volume.
“On the Low” by Burna Boy — the song that I get super excited about when it comes on anywhere and any time.
“Desire” and “Enough to Believe” both by Bob Moses. I love how Bob Moses can be played at any point and it just works. Can listen to these when getting ready for work/night out/at the beach/cruising and it always hypes me up.
Big shout out to Nadia for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Nadia’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. And be sure to check out Nadia on Twitter!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Flows by Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Artists 🎧
Jullanar - El Rass
Dance 4 Me - Big Hass featuring Ss.hh.a.n.a and Mar1
Wain - Kazdoura
Lala Mira - Habib Belk
9albi - Leil
Ma Chérie - Adam Nabeel
Burn Me Out - Shébani
Bekya - Donia Wael featuring El Waili
Malaksh Da3wa - Abyusif featuring Lella Fadda
Bad Love - In-s featuring Didine Canon 16
🎤 Vibes by Latinx & Hispanic Artists 🎤
Mascarade - YEИDRY featuring Lous and The Yakuza
Mirame a la cara - Lennis Rodriguez featuring Chus Santana
Secreto - Immasoul featuring Sobrino
Suelta - Dímelo Flow featuring Maria Becerra, Farruko, Fatman Scoop, Rauw Alejandro, and Mr. Vegas
Deprimida - Ozuna
Despues De Las 12 - Ovi featuring Kim Loaiza
Dhalia - Tania Matus
GPS - Yotuel featuring Beatriz Luengo
Noche en LA - Ingratax featuring Sael
Na Na Na - Goyo
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Naturally - Tinashe
Remedy - Biig Piig
Pull Up - Koffee
Cold - Danielle Apicella
MAGIC - Vince Staples featuring Mustard
Knock Knock - Tion Wayne featuring M24
25/8 - Cautious Clay
Si Ki Min Krè - June Freedom featuring Djodje
Reckless - S!MONE
Let Me Ride - Dr. Dre
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Once Lebanon’s center of glamour, Hamra Street goes dark - Bassem Mroue, Associated Press
Hamra Street was the center of Beirut’s glamour in the 1960s and 1970s, home to Lebanon’s top movie houses and theaters, cafes frequented by intellectuals and artists, and shops selling top international brands. Now many of its stores are shuttered.
Lebanon’s battle with the cable-snatchers to keep the internet alive - Sunniva Rose, The National
A wave of sabotage is forcing thousands offline for days, impeding businesses and livelihoods. But the fightback has begun.
Beyond the Kafala system - Dana Hourany, NOW Lebanon
The outdated Kafala system has organized the rules of migrant labor since the 1950s, but the racist discriminatory social system that treats domestic workers as commodities rather than human beings goes beyond it.
Water infrastructure on the brink: Amid ongoing electricity crisis, Lebanese communities struggle with water cuts - Richard Salame, L’Orient Today
Water shortages are expected to worsen across Lebanon as pumps, which propel water from reservoirs to water tanks, go offline.
How to Make a Lebanese Emigrant - Olivia Shabb, Daraj
“The heart is not broken, because that would be too clean. It is in ruins, the very tissue of it pulled apart by grief and rage that have no recourse, no expiry date. But it is still beating, because it knows too well what it means to be full. And for as long as it beats, it will be yearning and plotting, if only to tolerate the quietude of that other, more functional country; that more gracious host.”
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
'Little Rayan': A Moroccan tragedy rooted in social deprivation - Basma El Atti, The New Arab
The tragic death of five-year-old Rayan Oram highlights the widespread deprivation of Morocco's rural villages, which are plagued by a chronic lack of water and infrastructure.
Libyan Youth in Limbo: Coming of Age in Conflict - Asma Khalifa, Arab-Reform Initiative
For youth in Libya today, the pervasive feeling is that they are not safe and cannot set deep roots for fear everything will collapse. The full report can be found here.
Syrians Lose Their Relatives’ Remains After They Were Removed From Mass Graves - Mohammad Bassiki and Ali Ibrahim, Daraj
Since the liberation of Raqqa in 2017, the city's residents are still on a journey to search for the bodies of their relatives after they buried them under suspicious circumstances. They had to transport the remains in primitive ways from mass graves and parks out of the city. During the transfers, many of the bodies were lost and the remains were scattered, and they may have disappeared forever.
In the eye of the storm: Climate change in Oman - Somaya Al Yaqoubi, The New Arab
Global warming poses critical risks to Oman, a country situated on three oceans, and in which was recorded the highest ever minimum temperature last year. Experts warn that things will only get worse if the authorities do not act now.
‘Democracy Is Life’: The Grass-Roots Movement Taking On Sudan’s Generals - Abdi Latif Dahir, The New York Times
Hundreds of loosely connected “resistance committees” are organizing nonviolent protests, tracking the injured and dead and demanding a government led by civilians.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
How BTS helped me bridge my Korean and American identities - Joon Lee, The Undefeated
Growing up, I worried I would never be comfortable connecting these two worlds.
Angélique Kidjo Has Heard It All - Julian Lucas, The New Yorker
At sixty-one, the doyenne of African pop is recording with everyone from Burna Boy to Philip Glass—and still searching for new rhythms.
Meet the history-making film composer who never quit the rhythm section.
Nation-building animation: The history of Arab cartoons - Bahira Amin, Middle East Eye
Cartoons have long been used to negotiate national and religious identities, with political messages there to be discovered.
As a Muslim filmmaker, I want to tell my own story - Assia Boundaoui, Los Angeles Times
Algerian-American filmmaker Assia Boundaoui shares “It’s time for the industry that has invested so much talk to ‘diversity and inclusion’ to speak with their actions.”
📚 Other Reads 📚
Venus and Serena Williams on Their Own Terms - Tressie McMillan Cottom, Harper’s Bazaar
The tale of Venus and Serena Williams has been told many times. Now they get to be the ones to tell it.
The Joy of Kendrick Sampson - Kelly Stout, Esquire
The actor and activist is a serious guy. He speaks with ease about liberation from police violence and the scourge of capitalism. But he also knows how to act a damn fool sometimes.
Spring Hill, No. 602: For LeBron James and others, a place to dream - Joe Vardon, The Athletic
From 1996 until 2003, this is where he called home, much like those who rented the place after he moved on.
Lauren Smith-Fields and the Black TikTokers who made sure we knew her name - Tamar Sarai Davis, Prism
The tragic death of the 23-year-old Black woman only came to national attention after Black content creators highlighted her story.
“Since August, the U.S. has helped more than 76,000 Afghan refugees resettle across the country. Now, many are turning their focus toward rebuilding their lives.”