Discover more from Sa'alouni El Nas
The Fresh Prince, raising kids in Gaza, Sotheby's hip-hop memorabilia auction, and anti-Black racism in Morocco
Happy Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month! To mark the month, read up on civil rights activist Felicitas Mendez, who was featured in the Google Doodle on Sept. 15th to mark the start of the month, and check out Rolling Stone’s interview with Ricky Martin on parenting, protests, and Latin pop.
This week I learned what it was like to say something “controversial” on Twitter (not Paul Krugman controversial, though). A user asked people to name “a food that’s part of your region and/or culture" that you do not care for.” I tweeted labneh as my answer (for those who don’t know what labneh is, here’s a good description). Let’s just say it did not go over too well 😂
Anyways, we’ve got lots of highlights, music, and stories to get into:
For the 30th anniversary of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (my favorite TV show), Airbnb is offering an opportunity to stay at the Bel-Air mansion in the show AND the cast of the show is doing a 30-year anniversary reunion show on HBO Max! Needless to say, I AM EXCITED!!!
Many prominent Arab Americans launched a support committee to help elect Joe Biden president. Noticeably absent from the list are Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Linda Sarsour (not that they don’t endorse Biden or that they won’t help with election efforts, just saying they aren’t listed as part of this committee right now).
Laila Lalami’s essay in The New York Times Magazine about her experience with citizenship in the United States as a Muslim and Arab American really hit home for me.
There are horrific allegations against ICE of a pattern of nonconsensual gynecological procedures performed on immigrants in detention. There’s also an incredibly heartbreaking story in HuffPost about one immigrant man’s experience being detained by ICE during the pandemic.
Sotheby’s held its first hip-hop memorabilia auction, where the big winner was the plastic crown worn by The Notorious B.I.G. during his last-ever photo shoot which went for close to $600,000.
Really tough story. Sheelan Dara, a pharmacist who had taken part in anti-government protests in Iraq, and her family were brutally murdered in their home in Baghdad.
Song Exploder, one of the most interesting podcasts around, is coming to Netflix as a TV show premiering Oct. 2!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Arab + diaspora artists) 🎧
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx artists) 🎤
🎼 Other Music 🎼
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
A baker’s tale: A Beirut landmark struggles to survive unending crises - Siobhán Grady and Nader Durgham, The Washington Post
The struggle of the Ghattas family and their humble manousheh is the story of Lebanon.
The great Lebanese exile: Chronicles of a perpetual return - Sara Mourad, Al-Jumhuriya
Is it time to leave Lebanon? The question, posed with renewed urgency after Beirut’s port explosion, is as old as the country itself, writes Dr. Sara Mourad, who returned in 2016 after seven years abroad.
In Beirut, a rescued pelican becomes symbol of hope in crisis-stricken Lebanon - Sunniva Rose, The National
Restaurant mascot Ovi is a small piece of joy in a city ravaged by economic woes and last month's explosion.
Beirut blast adds to women's money and health worries in Lebanon - Ban Barkawi, Reuters
As Lebanon reels from the impact of the blast that killed 200 people, injured thousands, forced some 250,000 from their homes and left countless without work, campaigners warn that women face some of the heaviest financial and health burdens.
Surviving Karantina: The Long Way Home - Doris Agbakey (as told to Zahra Hankir and Lynn Chaya), The Public Source
"I wasn't planning on moving back to Ghana before the explosion happened. The explosion changed everything."
🌍 Arabs and the Diaspora 🌎
Raising kids in Gaza was hard enough. Then came a lockdown within the lockdown. - Hazem Balousha, The Washington Post
As the coronavirus spreads, health restrictions have robbed Gazans of their few ways to lift the sense of siege.
Ending Denial: Anti-Black Racism in Morocco - Stephen J. King, Arab Reform Initiative
Dr. King, a professor at Georgetown University, examines the efforts of black Moroccans to tell the stories of racial discrimination against them as a first step in an attempt to raise awareness, pierce the taboos and end the denial surrounding anti-black racism in Morocco.
'The hardest part is when we lose a child' - Nima Elbagir, Angela Dewan, Nada Bashir, Barbara Arvanitidis, and Yousef Mawry, CNN
Aid cuts by Trump and some US allies are costing lives in Yemen.
In California town lost to fire, this market was lifeline. Can Berry Creek recover? - Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times
In 2006, Mitch Dorghalli purchased the only gas station and convenience store and marked his financial success as an immigrant from Syria. But when his daughterr arrived at the store in the early hours of Sept. 10, she found the store leveled and smoldering.
Libyan medics already faced war, now the pandemic is surging there too - Ayman al-Sahily, Reuters
As the pandemic started to rage through Libya last month, medics working in the country’s few functioning hospitals faced their nightmare scenario - a surge in cases and dwindling resources.
🎶 Music, Culture, and the Arts 🎶
Finding a Place for Third-Culture Kids in the Culture - Noor Brara, The New York Times
In his new HBO series, the filmmaker Luca Guadagnino revisits a timeless yet timely question: What does it mean to be from everywhere and nowhere at once?
The Wu-Tang legend talks about his new acting roles, the time he went bar for bar with Biggie, and sleeping on his manager's couch trying to break into Hollywood.
How South Africa’s Blue Notes Helped Invent European Free Jazz - Piotr Orlov, Bandcamp
The legend that the Blue Notes would forge in Europe—both as an ensemble and as individual players—constitutes one of the most under-appreciated legacies in jazz.
Set Redesigns, Zoom Auditions, and the Same Host: How ‘Jeopardy!’ Came Back Amid a Pandemic - Claire McNear, The Ringer
After shutting down production in March, ‘Jeopardy!’ is finally back with new episodes. What will the celebrated quiz show look like in the time of COVID-19?
Chris Rock Tried To Warn Us - David Itzkoff, The New York Times
In a candid interview, the comic discusses America’s summer of strife, Trump, blackface and his dramatic turn in the new season of “Fargo.”
📚 Other Reads 📚
Have I Even Told You Yet About the Courts I’ve Loved? - Ross Gay, Literary Hub
On the unlikely tenderness and care of a good pick-up basketball game.
Super Mario at 35: Mario's makers on Nintendo's most enduring mascot - Keza MacDonald, The Guardian
The joyful jumping plumber has been on every Nintendo console and inspired a generation of players. Shigeru Miyamoto, Kenta Motokura, Takashi Tezuka and Yoshiaki Koizumi reflect on his legacy.
Buying Myself Back: When Does a Model Own Her Own Image? - Emily Ratajkowski, The Cut
“All these men, some of whom I knew intimately and others I’d never met, were debating who owned an image of me.”
Racism Is Not a Historical Footnote - Bill Russell, The Players’ Tribune
“In order to eradicate racism, we must provide our children with an education that includes all American history and that examines how that history continues to shape our institutions, beliefs and culture.”
The Man Who Refused To Spy - Laura Secor, The New Yorker
The F.B.I. tried to recruit an Iranian scientist as an informant. When he balked, the payback was brutal.
Your Weekly Sample
Foxy Brown, in her song “Hood Scriptures,” samples Ragheb Alama’s “Ya Bouy.” Check it out!