Saudi welcomes stellar lineup at KAEC Jazz Fest

Erik Truffaz (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018

Saudi welcomes stellar lineup at KAEC Jazz Fest

DUBAI: The KAEC International Jazz Festival kicks off Thursday in Juman Park in Jeddah’s King Abdullah Economic City. The two-day event boasts an impressive lineup of major regional and international artists.
Thursday night is headlined by the extraordinary French nu-jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz — widely hailed as one of the, if not the, best in the world.
Truffaz has pushed the boundaries of his instrument, hopping between genres including hip-hop and rock. He collaborated with Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila on their 2014 track “Bahr.”
Also performing on Thursday are Saudi jazz-fusion band Min Alriyadh, acclaimed Lebanese oudist Charbel Rouhana, Grammy Award-winning American saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and four-time Grammy winner McCoy Tyner, a pianist who made his name with the John Coltrane Quartet.
Friday sees Candian jazz guitarist Jesse Cook headlining. Cook, 53, is a multiple-award-winning musician and composer based in France, who has sold over 1.5 million records worldwide. Joining him on Friday’s bill are Jeddah-based covers band The Bright Side, Grammy Award-winning American guitarist Al Di Meola, US singer and guitarist Raul Midon, and the excellent Palestinian oud virtuosos Le Trio Joubran — three brothers who recently collaborated with ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters on “Supremacy,” a response to US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Yara Shahidi honored with Spotlight Award

Yara Shahidi was honored with an award at the 25th Annual Elle Women in Hollywood Celebration. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018

Yara Shahidi honored with Spotlight Award

DUBAI: Actress and social activist Yara Shahidi was honored with an award at the 25th Annual Elle Women in Hollywood Celebration on Monday and took to the stage to give a speech.

The Iranian-American star of TV show “Black-ish,” who has her own spinoff show called “Grown-ish,” was given the Calvin Klein Spotlight Award at an event attended by the likes of Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez and many more.

The 18-year-old Harvard University student is one of a star-studded list of honorees, including Lady Gaga, Shonda Rhimes and Mia Farrow.

The event also celebrated the female cast of “Black Panther” — Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o — at the event in Los Angeles’ Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Shahidi sat down with the magazine for an in-depth interview published in its November 2018 issue. The teen, who hails from a highly accomplished family — one of her cousins is the rapper Nas, while another, Anousheh Ansari, was the first Iranian-American astronaut — covered everything from women in Hollywood to her political activism.

“We’re holding people accountable for their actions. There’s an intentional knowledge disparity in any industry, which is tied to the maintaining of power. I love the fact that this community of women is disintegrating that. I’ve been able to reap the benefits of it, and I’m also fortunate to have my parents with me, guiding me,” she told the magazine.

Shahidi has talked openly about her family in the past, including in a revealing social media post about her parents during the uproar about the proposed US immigration ban in 2017.

“If my baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago, he would have never fallen in love with my mama. I would not exist and I wouldn’t have two amazing brothers,” she posted on social media at the time.

The actress has been vocal about her Iranian-African-American heritage and even called herself “a proud Black Iranian” on Twitter.

In her most recent interview with Elle magazine, the actress expands on what causes are close to her heart.

“Immigration, gun control. There’s been a lack of humanity, especially in the policies of these past two years, policies that alienate minorities,” she said.

Lady Gaga was also awarded at the ceremony, and took to the stage to give a powerful, emotional speech about being a survivor of sexual assault.

“As a sexual assault survivor by someone in the entertainment industry, as a woman who is still not brave enough to say his name, as a woman who lives with chronic pain, as a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me to do, I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants,” she said at the event.