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Guest Feature: Samah Fadil
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Has anyone watched season three of “Ramy” on Hulu? What are your thoughts? I want to hear from you!
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Samah Fadil!
Samah is a writer, poet, and music lover based in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. You can read her work in FIYAH, Skin Deep, CRY, Lady Pieces, The Brain is a Noodle, the Institute for Palestine studies, and more. She is currently the copy editor for Mizna Magazine's Black SWANA takeover issue.
Samah is an absolutely incredible writer, and recently wrote a deeply personal piece on being in the Afro-Palestinian diaspora. No matter the injustice, Samah is there to fearlessly call it out — trust me, I’ve seen it happen. On top of all of this, Samah has a really amazing taste in music. Yes, I may be biased because it’s very similar to my own taste in music. But still, Samah’s go-to songs are incredible and all come with a personal story:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
I’m an album girlie so I’m answering most of these questions as if they’re for entire albums and not just one song, lol. My favorite album right now is so hard to choose, but I’ll go with “Love, Damini” by Burna Boy. This album is so full of heart, and even when he talks about loss and pain, it has an overall celebratory vibe that I’m really into. Also, just musically it’s so smooth and well produced. It makes me want to get up and dance but you can easily put it on for a casual vibe. Special shoutout to the song “Last Last”. Such a good sample on that song.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
My go-to album for all my feels happens to be one of my fave albums of all time, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Lauryn Hill. I was introduced to that record when I was a child and would play it over and over and over again. I think my sister had the tape. It wasn’t even a CD. I got very well acquainted with the songs and lyrics, but the content was stuff I had never experienced before. You know, things like love and heartbreak and bliss and pain. As a woman, listening to that album is a total trip. I’ve experienced a lot of the things that Lauryn sings about, so the lyrics hit ten times as hard. Some of the songs on that album make me ugly cry.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
This song is 51 minutes long so I guess it counts as an album, right? “Resala Men That el Maa” by Abdel Halim Hafez is incredibly nostalgic for me. I associate it with my father, Allah yerhamo, and road trips, and summer, and family. When I was a kid it always boggled my mind how long it took for Abdel Halim to actually start singing on the track. It was an exercise in patience for a kid like me who liked 3-minute pop songs on the radio, but it paid off in a big way. It taught me to appreciate every part of a song. The confidence he had and the way he honored the entire band and gave every member of the orchestra space to shine was mesmerizing. After my dad passed, my nephew asked about the song because he wanted to remember his grandfather, and now that song just represents so much to us.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
“Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. is one of the first rap songs I tried to learn by heart. Which is wild because I must have been, what, 8 years old trying to rap along to that? I was sneaking in to my brothers’ bedroom all the time when they weren’t there, trying to absorb all of the albums they told me I wasn’t allowed to listen to. “Juicy” was relatively easy to follow, and it’s really story-driven, so it really captured my attention. As soon as I heard “It was all a dream”, I wanted to rap along.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
The entire “Renaissance” album by Beyoncé currently holds that spot. I cannot stay still if it’s on. The transitions are so seamless, and I have a huge weakness for good transitions. Beyoncé just knocks it out of the stratosphere with this record. I have been listening to it on repeat, front to back, since its release, and it might just be my AOTY (album of the year). That album was made to get hype to!
Big shout out to Samah for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Samah’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. To stay updated on Samah’s work, subscribe to her newsletter, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram! Samah will be performing original pieces of poetry as part of the Fazal Sheikh Exposures exhibit currently running at the Yale University Art Gallery, in-person, on November 3rd, 2022. Check it out here!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
corazon - ilham featuring French Montana
Fishing - Alyoungofficial featuring Randarofficial
C’est La Vie - Lea Makhoul
Meen? - Satti
Bouhdi - Yvzid
HABIBI (MY LOVE) - Faouzia
Kill Her Freak Out - Samia
YA HABIBI - BAWS featuring FI:VO
Fiya - Bahjat
DRAILL - MA3IZ
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
Dile - Nino Augustine featuring Ana Mancebo
LOLI - SOULFIA
LOKITA - Natti Natasha featuring Maria Becerra
La Torta - Farina
Que Sera Sera (Law Nebka Sawa) - Luis Fonsi featuring Hiba Tawaji
4:22 - Ozuna featuring Danny Ocean
La Unica - Kali Uchis
Inseparables - Yahritza Y Su Esencia featuring Ivan Cornejo
Telenovela - Paula Cendejas
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Hold On - Riiiiko featuring B-Element
90 Proof - Smino featuring J. Cole
Amour, Haine et Danger - Angèle
What’s Up? - dvsn featuring Jagged Edge
Suga Baby - Bella Alubo featuring 1da Banton
Toxic - YG
Scandalous - Gryffin featuring Tinashe
Bittersweet Goodbyes - Joyce Wrice
True Love - KAESTYLE featuring Victony
Champagne Problems - ENNY
All For You - Amaria featuring DESTIN CONRAD
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Social network blackout: Lebanon's kafala workers are having their internet cut - Lucy Rafaela Farha, The New Arab
Lebanon's kafala system continues to ensure an underclass of migrant workers remains unheard of in the national debate. The country's economic crisis has hit this community particularly hard, with many unable to afford necessities like the internet.
The Lebanese farm regenerating soil and promoting food security - Tessa Fox, Al Jazeera
Turba farm, based on respecting the ecosystem, is sheltered from the changing market amid global food insecurity.
Drama therapist helps inmates with mental illnesses while pushing for reform - Meera Santhanam, Middle East Eye
Zeina Daccache conducts drama therapy in Lebanon’s jails to help inmates and fight for reform of the unjust penal code that can effectively sentence the mentally ill to a lifetime in prison.
Lebanese solar energy scams hold back push for green power - Tala Ramadan, Thomson Reuters Foundation News
Tired of power cuts, households hoping to switch to solar electricity are being conned by fraudsters selling clapped-out panels as new.
One Beirut neighborhood’s answer to memorializing the Beirut blast: A new public plaza - Mohamad El Chamaa, L’Orient Today
“They’re a vital part of a city and allow people access and to interact in the city. Commemoration should be with art. But I don’t see why we should choose one or the other.”
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Employing minors in Tunisia...A growing phenomenon causing alarm - Saghir Al Haydari, Raseef 22
In Tunisia, the employment of minors is flourishing at a pace that is causing great concern and apprehension among the authorities, who seem unable to curb this phenomenon, despite the laws they ratified in the years following the revolution to put an end to it.
Teaching Poetry in the Palestinian Apocalypse - George Abraham, Guernica Magazine
Towards a collective, lyric "I"
In an empty kitchen, Yemeni family struggles with hunger - Khaled Abdullah and Abdulrahman Al-Anisi, Reuters
"When they finish breakfast I start thinking of where to get them lunch. After that, I worry about dinner. I had never had the chance to think about how to build their future or educate them because we could barely manage to think of their food."
Iranian protester: Young generation does not have our fears, tomorrow will be shaped by their courage - Lina Attalah, Mada Masr
Mada Masr spoke to a protester who was in the prime of her youth during the 2009 Green Movement protests. Speaking on condition of anonymity due to possible security retaliation, she walked us through what she has seen over the past week in the heart of Tehran, and how she sees the legacy of resistance street politics in Iran across history.
In Morocco hills, cannabis farmers bet on budding industry - Kaouthar Oudrhiri, Agence France-Presse
In the hills of northern Morocco, vast cannabis fields are ready for harvest, but farmers complain that a government plan to market the crop legally is yet to deliver them any benefits.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Music in “Mo” Pays Homage to Palestinian Artists - Danny Hajjar, Institute for Palestine Studies
The series soundtrack reflects the diversity and complexity of this story. (And yes, friends, this is a shameless plug for something I’ve written)
From Her Algerian Family’s Living Room to the Dance Stage - Madison Mainwaring, The New York Times
Esraa Warda, who grew up in Brooklyn, takes the North African dances she learned as a child and brings them to the stage and dance studio.
May Calamawy On Ramy Season 3, Working With Bella Hadid, And Future Projects - Anahita Ghai, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia
The most anticipated show is coming back to our screens with a whole new season today. And who better to hear it from than the lead star herself?
The Syrian Cassette Archive, preserving a disappearing history - Ari Shapiro, Noah Caldwell, and Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR
In 2018, Mark Gergis and Yamen Mekdad began to digitize their old cassette tapes in order to help preserve that era of music – especially as the civil war scattered Syrian culture. Now, their collection is living online and growing. It's called the Syrian Cassette Archives.
Amid Lebanon’s social and economic woes, musicians turn to the blues as ‘therapy’ - Wael Taleb, L’Orient Today
Musician Kamal Badaro and others have kept Lebanon’s blues scene alive through war, political change and, now, an all-encompassing economic crisis.
📚 Other Reads 📚
‘Blacklisted’ Afghan interpreters were disqualified from U.S. visas. Now they’re in hiding - Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. exit left thousands of Afghans in danger who say they were “blacklisted” and ineligible for visas despite having aided the United States.
Are You the Same Person You Used to Be? - Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker
Researchers have studied how much of our personality is set from childhood, but what you’re like isn’t who you are.
‘Impossible without relentless hope’: climate activism in an era of chaos - Danielle Sams, gal-dem
Whether it be regressive governments, pandemics, economic crises, wars or climate collapse, the world seems to be in constant crisis. How do we maintain hope for our futures?
I’m Still Here - John Wall, The Players’ Tribune
“It’s bigger than basketball, what I’m talking about. It’s LIFE, right?? I’ve been through some of the darkest times you can imagine … and yo…. I’m still here.” (*Content warning: this story discusses suicide and self-harm)
How these Chinese doughnuts helped save my refugee family - Jean Trinh, Los Angeles Times
Golden crullers, dipped in soy or served with rice porridge, are more than breakfast — they’re a symbol of resilience.