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Anthems for the Arab Spring

May 23, 2012 Leave a comment

From USA Today (UK edition)

Rappers provide anthems for the

Arab Spring

By Naomi Westland, Special for USA TODAY

Eighteenth-century French revolutionaries marched to La Marseillaise, and two centuries later, rock music spurred opposition to the Shah of Iran and Czechoslovakia’s communist regime. It’s no different with the uprisings in the Arab world.

  • Egyptian rapper El Deeb's song Stand Up Egyptian encouraged protests against the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.“Arab hip-hop, especially that coming out of Tunisia and Egypt, played a major role in creating the soundtrack to the so-called Arab Spring,” said Joshua Asen, a documentary filmmaker and writer of the Hip Hop Diplomacy blog.
(Photo by Jeff White – Egyptian rapper El Deeb’s song “Stand Up Egyptian” encouraged protests against the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.)

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The Hip-Hop Rhythm of Arab Revolt

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The Arab Spring is widely known as a Twitter rebellion, but underground hip-hop artists also played a very important role. Robin Wright, author of “Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World,” talks with Jerry Seib about the phenomenon.

In November 2010, a young Tunisian rapper who called himself El General posted a song on his Facebook page and YouTube. He had no alternative.

The government of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had virtually banned hip-hop. Its musicians were not on government-approved playlists for state-controlled television or radio. They were rarely able to get permits to perform in public. And most were barred from recording CDs.

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Cynthia & Malikah in Alexandria

July 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Cultural diplomacy expert, former ambassador to the Netherlands, and Hip Hop Diplomacy advisor-at-large, Cynthia Schneider, was in Alexandria 2 weeks ago for the Bibliotheca’s conference: Initiatives in Education, Science and Culture Towards Enhanced US-Muslim Countries Collaborations, commemorating the one year anniversary of President Obama’s Cairo speech. Her report from the field came out this past week in the Huffington Post, and I’m most excited by the news that Lebanese rapper Malikah, the rising star of Beirut’s underground scene, got to perform at the conference. When Cynthia originally asked me to help her and the conference organizers pick a few Hip Hop artists to perform, I immediately thought of Malikah, representing the forefront of the female rap revolution and one of the best examples of the power of Hip Hop to inspire and embolden young women in the Middle East. There were a few other artists that I suggested, including Cairo’s kings, The Arabian Knightz, and the Syrian-American MC, Omar Offendum, who has performed and spoken at similar conferences in the past. However, the organizers were concerned that a Hip Hop program might offend some of the guests, which included a number of powerful muftis and other religious figures. But I’m very glad that Malikah, the most potentially-controversial of all the artists I suggested, by dint of her gender, made it to the stage.

Below is Cynthia’s post. Videos and an interview with Malikah coming soon.

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New video from AK & MC Amin “The One”

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

A raw and experimental video from the Knightz and Amin. Reminds me of those old Wu-Tang vids from back in the day. Just a bunch of hyped up dudes in the hood, spittin right at the camera.