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Guest Feature: Roxane
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Next Friday will mark three years since the blast at the port of Beirut occurred. I’ll have much more to say on the actual anniversary, but for those of you in Lebanon and in diaspora communities, please make sure you are aware of any planned protests happening next week. As I get more information, I’ll share it on my social channels.
For those of you in Beirut, I found this story to be helpful in outlining what to expect. I’d like to call this out in particular:
“The gathering will start at the Karantina Fire Brigade in Beirut at 4 p.m…Protesters will march toward the Beirut port at 5:15 p.m. The families called protesters to wear black clothes and added that there will be speeches by members of the victims’ families.”
If anyone does find more information about what is happening in their communities, please do share with me and I’ll disseminate as best I can.
Three years and zero accountability, it’s both absolutely unbelievable and completely expected at the same time.
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Roxane!
Comfortable causing controversy, Roxane is never one to bite her tongue. The daring songstress’ creative fire is fueled by the stifling confines of Arab cultural restrictions, and she’s on a mission to shatter every glass ceiling.
Roxane draws you in with her hypnotic vocals, keeping you hooked with hits designed for a night on the dancefloor and provocative lyrics intended to reclaim the narrative around Arab women’s bodies and sexuality.
Shaped by duality, you can find her at the intersection of art and rebellion; raw yet intentional, vulnerable yet powerful, expect her music to simultaneously put you in your feelings and your place. The Lebanese/French singer-songwriter conveys a bold message in her debut single “Unfuckwithable”, an anthem for the unapologetic main character.
Hailing from a region where cultural norms often enforce silence around sensitive topics, Roxane refuses to conform. Her latest EP, titled ‘HARAM’, tackles themes of shame and self-worth in Arabic spaces. A mix of sounds from the Middle East infused with musical elements and genres from the west, the EP is a catalyst for disruptive conversation. A compilation of bangers for the baddies, HARAM is a sonic middle-finger to societal expectations on Arab women and marginalized communities.
Y’all, if you haven’t yet listened to Roxane’s EP then you have to stop reading this newsletter and go stream it now. What she’s doing with her artistry and the vision she has for her creativity is something no one should sleep on. It’s an honor to have Roxane share some of her go-to music and gain more perspective on some of her inspirations for the EP:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
I am obsessed with Monet’s musicality, she is a complete artist whose music puts my face in permanent stank. Her “Jaguar” album is a sonic masterpiece!!!
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
Both of these singers have a sensibility that is undeniable. Vocal talent aside, Bareilles’ lyricism and Kelly’s raw heart-wrenching delivery are instant tear-jerkers for me.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
This was the toughest one to choose, I find my home in spaces where I feel the safest, and Jhene Aiko’s music has always transported me to a calming and far away dimension. Countless times I sat on my building’s roof as a misunderstood teenager who knew nothing about life, listening to this song as if I could relate to what she was saying. Because that’s how piercing and intentional her writing is.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
95% of Beyoncé’s catalogue. If Beyonce has one fan, it’s me. If she has no fans, that means I am no longer on this earth. If I HAVE to pick one song that’s relevant to this moment, I’d choose “HEATED” from her “Renaissance” album.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
This UK girl-group is filling the gap that Destiny’s Child left in me. I didn’t know how much I needed this group until I heard them. Plus featuring the queen of Y2K Missy Eliott??? A banger, a bop, I will never not shake ass to this.
Big shout out to Roxane for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Roxane’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to follow Roxane on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube, and go listen to “HARAM” on your preferred streaming platform—better yet, go BUY her EP now!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
Y Dor - Soolking featuring DYSTINCT
Alpha Male - Ziggy
Tayra - Nesma Herky
Yabibi - Zaho featuring Nej
L3EDYANE - Sabry featuring MIZI
Chameleon - Fady featuring Emsallam
MKONTSH HMSHEHA - Papa Guede
AISHA - Adam Nabeel
Chouka - Tiiwtiiw featuring Morad
Pick up - Ghita
Bondagani - Loun
Mosim El Nabr - 3enba
Sunn Beliya - Afroto & Shreya Ghoshal
Rapapap - Moha K featuring kouz1
HANRO7 ELMOLED - ZIAD ZAZA
M - Esserpent
Honey - Samia featuring Maya Hawke
Feena - Reina Khoury
Maki Yaki - MarSimba
Pyramid - Smallx featuring Morphine
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
Limonadita Fresca - DJ Maff featuring Elena Rose
Otra Noche - GioBulla
LQTQH - 3AM
Como Era Antes - Maikel Delacalle featuring WE$T DUBAI
MENEITO - Nil Moliner featuring Yera
Donde? - Jere Klein featuring Fran C
Suerte - Immasoul
CLASSY - BIA featuring Swizz Beatz
Wait Deh Man - Darrell featuring Nicky Jam, Wisin, and Luar La L
6PM EN MALLORCA - Eladio Carrion
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Rags to Riches - Tony Bennett
Mandinka - Sinéad O’Connor
DELRESTO (ECHOES) - Travis Scott featuring Beyoncé
On The Radar Freestyle - Drake & Central Cee
Silence - Ama Lou
Bewitched - Laufey
Talk To Me Nice - Tinashe
Don’t Be A Baby - Adekunle Gold
What You Done - Rachelle Jordan & Keys N Krates
One Dollar - Kizz Daniel featuring Blaqbonez
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Brih, a model recycling village hit by the crisis - Lyana Alameddine and Angela Khalife, L’Orient Today
Since 2016, this community has had its own waste collection center, sparing it from Lebanon's waste crisis.
United by Beirut blast grief, couple vow to fight for justice - Layal About Rahal, Agence France-Presse
William Noun and Maria Fares were united by loss after a devastating blast ripped through Lebanon's capital three years ago. Now engaged, the couple pledge to keep fighting for justice.
Lebanese politicians scramble to avoid central bank vacuum - Maya Gebeily and Laila Bassam, Reuters
The prospect of a vacuum at the top of the central bank has added to concerns about the further fragmentation of the state as it barrels towards a fifth year of financial turmoil.
‘Anxious in Beirut’: A surreal experience - Joey Ayoub, L’Orient Today
“This destabilizing feeling of helplessness constantly transforming itself into anger, and back again, was mirrored throughout the documentary as we see the so-called “civil peace generation” — those of us born after the 1975-90 civil wars — coming to terms with the brutal reality of Lebanon.”
LGBTQIA+ Sexual Health Services in Lebanon: A Guided Overview - Benjamin Lotto and Chrystine A. Mhanna, Raseef22
This report comes as part of Raseef22’s "Not on the Margins" project, which sheds light on freedoms, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in Lebanon.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Attacking autonomy: The battle for public freedoms in Libya - Samira Elsaidi, The New Arab
"For the past 12 years, Libya has slid toward social disintegration. With freedoms continuing to be taken away by the barrel of a gun, civil society activists, journalists and lawyers have spoken out against the disregard of the Libyan constitution."
The Morocco Women’s Team Has Already Won - Aida Alami, The New York Times
Morocco is the first North African and majority Arab nation to qualify for the Women’s World Cup. It’s hoping to pick up the baton its men’s team carried in Qatar.
Yemen: The children of a forgotten war - Orla Guerin, BBC News
“If suffering had an address, it might be al-Rasheed Street, in Taiz, a Yemeni city ringed by mountains and rebel Houthi fighters. On this narrow street of rough-hewn homes, the young can't escape a grinding conflict the world tends to forget.”
Heatwave and drought leave Tunisia farmers struggling to survive - Simon Speakman Cordall, Al Jazeera
Farmers in northern Tunisia say conditions are getting progressively worse despite government efforts to combat climate change.
Saudi Arabia is spending billions to become a global gaming hub. Some fans don’t want to play - Nick El Hajj, Associated Press
Saudi Arabia, the new home of some of soccer’s biggest stars and a co-owner of professional golf, is proving to be no less ambitious when it comes to another global pastime – the $180 billion-a-year video game industry.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
When America Met Sinéad O’Connor - Allyson McCabe, Vulture
The singer died on Wednesday at age 56.
Across generations, the irrepressible joy of Tony Bennett could never be unplugged - Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times
Instantly identifiable, Bennett’s voice was a source of warmth and welcoming, of quick wit and steady wisdom. The singer died last Friday at 96.
The Making of KOAST: Unfiltered, Unhindered, and Heading South - Majd Shidiac, SceneNoise
Majd Shidiac sits down with Tunisian rapper KOAST to discuss her ever-transformative growth.
On Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G. and the anatomy of a conspiracy theory - Justin Tinsley, Andscape
New search warrant in Las Vegas revives all the questions that never went away.
Musicians deal with stingy streamers and AI threats, too. So why aren’t they on strike? - August Brown and Kenan Draughorne, Los Angeles Times
For popular musicians and songwriters, there’s no equivalent to SAG-AFTRA and the WGA. During this summer of labor unrest, some are trying to change that.
📚 Other Reads 📚
What Will Become of My Daily Walk? - Abdullah Shihipar, Slate
With this summer’s record temperatures, the simplest, best form of exercise is under threat.
Working 9 to 5, Hopefully - Julia Rothman and Shaina Feinberg, The New York Times
The New York Times interviewed 17 graduates from different majors and parts of the country about how they’re feeling as they enter the work force.
Why investors are pouring money into the WNBA offseason - Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, Fast Company
A pair of rival basketball leagues will be vying for players–and viewers–in the 2024 WNBA offseason. That’s a good thing.
Should Hotel Chains Be Held Liable for Human Trafficking? - Bernice Yeung, The New Yorker
For decades, franchised hotels have been a common scene of sex-trafficking crimes in the U.S. A new legal strategy is targeting the corporations that collect royalties from them.
Is Barbie a feminist icon? It's complicated - Rachel Treisman, NPR
The Barbie movie is being celebrated (and slammed) as a feminist film, with its themes of female empowerment and critiques of the patriarchy. Can the same be said for the doll at the center of it?