Bad Girls Do It Well: MMW Responds to M.I.A.’s Latest Video

The new “Bad Girls” music video by M.I.A. has been circulating over the past week or so.  For those who haven’t seen it, it's posted below, and here’s one description from a  LA Times blog post: Set to M.I.A.’s Punjabi-laced chill-banger, “Bad Girls” is a lady gangsta fantasy but one that plays off very real ingredients from life in the Middle East. There’s crumbled architecture, sustained over years of attack; smouldering oil tankards; young men in kaffiyeh, standing around dangerously bor … [Read more...]

MMW 2011 Year in Review: Arts and Entertainment

As 2011 draws to a close, we at MMW are looking back at our year of posts.  For those who missed posts earlier in the year, or for those who want to look back through some of the things we wrote about, we’ll be going through some of those through the rest of this week.  Yesterday, we started off with an overview of some of the news highlights that we talked about in 2011; today, we look at books, movies, and television; and tomorrow will look at some of the more ridiculous stories that cam … [Read more...]

Khaira Arby, The “Nightingale of Mali”

“My voice is a gift from God.” Khaira Arby in an interview with Steve Hochman for Spinner.Reading through a list of upcoming acts at my local music venue, I came across a woman whose name I hadn’t heard of before—Khaira Arby. Intrigued, I clicked on her act to learn more about her.Singing in four languages, Arby hails from Mali and performed in March at the SXSW music festival. Her latest album, Timbuktu Tarab (translated as “Timbuktu my land”), was released in 2010 to critical acclaim. In Ma … [Read more...]

The Sexy Business of Political Uprisings: Sijal Hachem’s “Khalas”

I lived through a revolution. I saw my 21-year-old brother holding a gun. I slept with a knife under my pillow. I have a close friend who was shot and is now blind in one eye.I was lucky. I didn't have thugs break into my house. I wasn’t tear-gassed. I wasn’t shot at. But I have friends who were. I have friends who have friends who died.And compared to the revolutions going on in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, and Libya, Egypt was lucky.Today I heard a new song by Sijal Hachem, a Lebanese singer I’ … [Read more...]

Wishing Upon an Afghan Star

The images that Afghanistan conjures are usually ones that mirror front-page stories of newspapers around the world: armed Taliban crouching at the entry of a mountain cave, women in burqas, and images of public stonings are just a few that are constantly associated with the country.HBO is schedule to air a two-part documentary that paints a broader picture of Afghanistan and its women. The first part titled, “Afghan Star,” named for Afghanistan’s first televised singing competition, follows th … [Read more...]

Burqa Woman Blunder? Saad Haroon’s Parody

Parts of the blogosphere appear to be in a tizzy over a recent parody of Roy Orbison’s classic “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Now a hit on YouTube, Saad Haroon’s “Burqa Woman,” tells the story of a young man’s fumbling attempt to woo a woman in abaya and niqab, who, after much cajoling, reciprocates amorously via text message.  Modern technology appears to connect the two lovers in a country where public displays of affection and mixed social gatherings are generally frowned upon.Saad Haroon is a Pakist … [Read more...]

Music to Our Ears: May Matar’s Metlak Mish Ayzin

Most Arab women I know have at one point or another cursed an Arab man and his stubborn adherence to male chauvinism, something that rears its ugly head in patriarchal societies around the globe. This topic usually boils down to this: a man has problem with independent woman.In a song titled “Metlak Mish 3ayzin” or “We’re not in need of people like you,” singer May Matar parodies popular misogynistic Arabic songs, such as “Jumhoriyet Albi” (or “The republic of my heart”) by singer Mohammed Iska … [Read more...]


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