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Guest Feature: Yasir Nabeel Razak
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The criminality of the Israeli occupation’s incursion in Jenin never ceases to be enraging and heartbreaking. Palestinians continue to be displaced, forcibly removed from their homes, and killed at the hands of the occupation. My thoughts remain with the people of Jenin and with Palestine’s resistance against an apartheid state (here’s some essential reading from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on that apartheid designation)
Okay friends, we’ve got an incredible guest this week and I’m so excited to introduce him. Let’s give it up for Yasir Nabeel Razak!
Yasir is an Iraqi-American artist born in Baghdad. Having grown up in Virginia, he has played an active role in the state's DIY music scene since his early 20's where his vision of unifying his Iraqi background with American punk/DIY ethics to the form of the Iraqi indie/shoegaze project, Nabeel.
Here’s a little something Yasir has to say about Nabeel:
"The Nabeel project is a practice in acceptance, discomfort, and in the willingness to explore imperfection and liminality. As children of immigrants we are told that everything we do needs to be perfect, and often we have a hard time accepting products of our own creation even when they're quite good.
“When I started writing these songs, I made a commitment to myself that I would accept these creations as expressions of who I am. I could wait around forever to perfect my Arabic or to try to think of the perfect way to express my perspective...Or I could just be honest and open and let myself speak. I hope this project encourages other folks caught between cultures to embrace their own unique position and to create wholly unashamed and unabashedly."
Have you ever wanted to hear grunge music in Arabic? Yasir is THE artist doing that—and it is really cool. He just released a new single last week and the video for it is incredibly moving, heartwarming, and thoughtful. I knew Yasir would share some interesting cuts for the newsletter, and he did not disappoint at all:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
I've been pretty obsessed with Yung Lean's side project Jonathan Leandoer96 lately. The song "If I'm Born I Have To Live" is too good. The project is just so free and playful. I love it.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
Can I have like 45 answers for this one?
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
Definitely "Mandal Dallouni" by Seta Hagopian. She's an older Iraqi/Armenian singer I discovered a few years ago, and for whatever reason, this song felt like a song I'd heard a thousand times over when I first encountered it. It just gives me the strongest sense of nostalgia, like a place I've known before.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
I was once the singer in a Third Eye Blind cover band for Halloween...So "Semi-Charmed Life" for sure.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
"The Flag is Raised" by Bladee. It's like...overwhelmingly positive. :)
Big shout out to Yasir for joining and sharing his song selections! All of Yasir’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to check out his music on your preferred platform and follow Yasir on Instagram and Twitter!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
MAMA EH - Elyanna
DERBY - PAPII featuring XTHEDESERTKID
Sanad - Ziggy
Ya Salam - Samara featuring Yasmine Azaiez
MORAK - Manal
Rouicha Jersey - DJ Hamida featuring Dollypran
SRT - Lil Eazy featuring Rissi Tempo
Kullo Saytara - 3rabi
Raye7 Fein - Dirty Backseat
Tamini - Moudy Al Arabe featuring The Hws
Lost - Laila Beshara
AS7A LL7EKAYAT - Wezza Montaser featuring ZIAD ZAZA
Fame - Icowesh featuring Islem-23
Meganeny - DB Gad
Samra - Talia Lahoud
Casanova - Soolking featuring Gazo
Dmaghi - El Far3i
Y’a tout - Leil
InshAllah Kheir - Dana Hourani
Shuaa El Nour - Nour Khan
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
BILLBOARD - Ovy On The Drums featuring Blessd
PICARDÍA - Rauw Alejandro featuring Junior H
KILO (Major Lazer & Ape Drums Remix) - The Martinez Brothers featuring Tokischa
Solo Tu - Luna Luna
ZAFIRO - DannyLux featuring Pablo Hurtado
Se Vale Sentir - Madame Récamier featuring Fishlights
LICÁNTROPO - Belén Aguilera
Dale Con Tra - Fifty featuring Buay Press
CERO$ - La Joaqui & Callejero Fino featuring Alan Gomez
Mi Lova - Bad Gyal featuring Myke Towers
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Got Away With My Love - Michael Minelli
R e s e n t m e n t - PARTYNEXTDOOR
FIREGUN - ODUMODUBLVCK featuring Fireboy DML
Shy Boy - Carly Rae Jepsen
Control Freak - FLO
Everlove - ELIZA
Innocent - Justine Skye featuring Justin Timberlake
10FT - LEILAH
North - Bandokay
Thula Sizwe - Starr Healer featuring B33Kay SA and Lady Amar
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Wildfires singe Lebanon’s forests as world sees record high temperatures - Madeline Edwards, L’Orient Today
A late winter and hot summer weather means tall, dry grasses that are ripe for fires.
Activists in Lebanon are fighting to reclaim dwindling public spaces - Mohamed El Chamaa, The Washington Post
In Lebanon, where people are reeling from an economic crisis and desperate to breathe, open spaces are often shuttered or reserved for those who can pay.
Lebanon struggles to emerge from financial crisis and government corruption - Leila Molana-Allen, PBS NewsHour
Lebanon has become, for all intents and purposes, a failed state. Its government is rife with corruption and unable to care for its people who suffer chronic and crushing poverty from economic mismanagement and a banking collapse. As special correspondent Leila Molana-Allen reports, the divide between the ruling class and everyone else grows by the day.
Lebanon, Radical Hope, and the Natural Economy in the Age of Climate Breakdown - Simon Assaf, The Public Source
“We are entering an age of climate breakdown. Lebanon is already at the center of multiple interrelated collapses —economic, political, and ecological. But the coming climate crisis will dwarf all the problems we have faced so far.”
The Lebanon Heist: This New Podcast Aims To Shine A Light On The Country’s Financial Crisis - Alya Mooro, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia
Set to be released this autumn, the Kerning Cultures produced series delves into the root cause of Lebanon’s economic devastation.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
West Bank Teenagers Are Writing Out Their Last Words - Raja Abdulrahim and Hiba Yazbek, The New York Times
In one of the deadliest periods in years in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, young Palestinians drawn into the struggle against Israel are writing farewell messages to their loved ones.
Families of tens of thousands missing in Syria draw some hope from new UN push to find loved ones - Kareem Chehayeb and Ghaith Al-Sayed, Associated Press
The U.N. General Assembly voted last week to form an independent international institution to search for the missing in Syria in both government and opposition-held areas.
The racist roots of the rise in migration to Europe this year - Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post
The Tunisian president embraced a conspiracy theory. Aggression against Black Africans in Tunisia exploded. An exodus followed.
Amid a never-ending war, Yemenis find respite at the beach - Fatma Tanis, NPR
Despite years of civil war, people in Yemen can sometimes find an escape — like at a local beach.
Obstacles to aid pile up as Sudan’s conflict rages on - Philip Kleinfeld and Mohammed Amin, The New Humanitarian
“There is power, authority, and financial incentives to control the delivery of aid.”
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Iraq's prized modern art plagued by forgery, trafficking - Khalil Jalil, Agence France-Presse
Many masterpieces of Iraqi painting were looted or destroyed during the years of war, but now the country's artistic heritage faces another threat: rampant counterfeiting and illicit trafficking.
In Puerto Rico, Queer Femmes Are Dreaming Up Rap and Reggaeton’s Future - Isabelia Herrera, Pitchfork
Young Miko, RaiNao, and Villano Antillano are part of a new generation proving that the urbano movement can—and should—be flagrantly queer.
Uplifting the SWANA Identity Through House Music: In Conversation with Diaspora Artists Saliah and Habibeats - Selma Nouri, GQ Middle East
How British-Lebanese Artist Saliah and Palestinian-American DJ Habibeats are using house music to empower diaspora communities across the world.
'Being a third culture kid has its pros': Egyptian artist Bayou on the craft of bilingual lyrics and building bridges with music - Yousra Samir Imran, The New Arab
Egyptian musician Bayou’s poetic lyrics have contributed to a more vulnerable sensibility in popular Arab music.
This Lagos-based musician discovered a true sense of healing by creating her own dark, dizzying world of sound.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Medical schools will be even less diverse after affirmative action ruling, experts say - Char Adams, NBC News
Experts fear medical and nursing schools will no longer be able to foster diversity by considering race as a factor in their admissions processes.
‘We can't find support’: Three women’s stories of repeated rape by Haitian gangs - André Paultre, The New Humanitarian
“They asked me to undress, and one said he would put a knife on my neck. Facing five men, I couldn't fight and there was no help around.” (*Content warning: graphic depiction of rape and sexual assault)
Frank Smith was locked up for eight decades. At 98, what would it mean to be free? - Annalisa Quinn, The Boston Globe
Likely the longest-serving prisoner in America, he’s been paroled into a Connecticut nursing home. But he’s still not out.
A Black LAPD officer wanted to make a difference. Then, he says, he was racially profiled by his own department - Libor Jane and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
Bernard Robins, who was detained outside his parents’ South L.A. home by fellow LAPD officers, said the episode typifies the style of biased policing that’s practiced in some parts of the city.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, an oasis for Uighur cuisine - Allison Griner, Al Jazeera
The co-founder of Mrs Khan grew up adamant she would not be a chef. Now, her restaurant is an anchor for the community.