Israel’s Netta, the voice of #MeToo at Eurovision

Israeli singer Netta Barzilai aka Netta poses for pictures during the Red Carpet ceremony of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, on May 6, 2018. (AFP/Francisco Leong)
Updated 10 May 2018
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Israel’s Netta, the voice of #MeToo at Eurovision

  • The performer's song "Toy" contains the defiant line “I am not your toy, you stupid boy”

LISBON: With her powerful voice and attention-grabbing clothes, Israeli singer Netta Barzilai has become the voice of the #MeToo movement at Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon.
Her uptempo song “Toy” — which include the lines “I am not your toy, you stupid boy” and “the Barbie’s got something to say” — has grabbed the limelight, summing up the concerns of many women who have adopted the movement.
“The song has an important message — the awakening of female power and social justice, wrapped in a colorful, happy vibe,” Barzilai was quoted as saying by Eurovision site wiwibloggs earlier this week.
“I think the song is #MeToo, but it’s an empowerment song for everybody, and everybody can find themselves in it,” she told OUTtv, a Netherlands-based speciality cable channel.
The song also references “Wonder Woman,” who was recently brought to the big screen by Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
“This song needed to make everyone dance, with a happy beat” but also “say something different about the #MeToo movement,” the author of the song, Doron Medalie, said in an interview with The Times of Israel.
Barzilai is the fans’ favorite at the contest, according to a poll carried out by OGEA, a network of Eurovision song contest fan clubs from around the globe.
At Tuesday’s first semifinal at Lisbon’s riverside Altice Arena, many of her supporters wore T-shirts that read: “I am not your toy.” Barzilai was one of the ten acts that made it through to Saturday’s final.
She says her fashion choices — at the semifinal she wore a multi-colored kimono while at Sunday’s opening ceremony she was decked out in a white chiffon dress that resembled a bridal gown — are part of her message.
“I see it as a really important way of expression. Also because larger women don’t celebrate themselves,” she told a news conference after a rehearsal in Lisbon last week.
“We only live once and I really believe than I am beautiful and sexy and special… it’s a wonderful chance to do a little change in the world.”
Barzilai is popular among young people in Israel after winning a reality show there earlier this year, giving her the right to represent the country at Eurovision.
Born in 1993, Barzilai was raised along with her two brothers in the Tel Aviv region. While still a child her parents moved to Nigeria where she lived for four years, learning rhythms of African lullabies sung to her by local nannies.
Back in Israel, she studied jazz at the Rimon School of Music, one of the most prestigious music schools in the country.
“I find her very talented, she has a very beautiful voice and she performs well on the stage,” said Naomi Yeivin, a 24-year-old Israeli singer and songwriter, who studied at the same music school.
She said many people focused on Netta’s weight and said it was good that she did not feel inhibited by it.
“I also find it good, but I don’t think it will completely revolutionize mentalities,” she told AFP in Israel.
For months Barzilai has been the bookmakers’ favorite to win Eurovision this year.
But after Tuesday’s semifinal she was overtaken by Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira with a catchy pop song entitled “Fuego.”


Making Dubai Design Week a creative success

Dubai Design Week is set to run until Nov. 17. (Image supplied)
Updated 13 November 2018
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Making Dubai Design Week a creative success

  • Dubai Design Week kicked off in the city’s edgy Design District on Nov 12
  • This year’s theme, “Between the Lines,” can be regarded as a storytelling experience

DUBAI: As Dubai Design Week kicked off in the city’s edgy Design District, Rawan Kashkoush, creative director and head of programming at the event, shared her insight on the seminal fair with Arab News.

After four years of experience in Dubai’s annual design festival, Kashkoush talked about the importance of the city as a host in the Arab region.

“Dubai functions as an economic and political safe haven in the region. A lot of people come here and consider it home,” she said.

That said, Dubai Design Week, which runs from Nov. 13-17, is considered an international event as much as a local one. “This creates a beautiful blend,” Kashkoush said.

The design festival showcases three different major attractions that offer visitors a plethora of boundary-pushing design innovation.

First up is the commercial fair, called Downtown Design, which is an interior design trade show focusing on high-end, curated items from around the world. With 175 contemporary design brands, including 40 regional designers, the fair presents Middle Eastern talent alongside international designers. Visitors will also be able to commission limited-edition and bespoke items at the fair’s new section, Downtown Editions.

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Don’t miss ‘Nothing into Something’ a workshop led by Theresa Millard, Project Manager, Sustainability and Stewardship at @kohler. The workshop will be held on 14 November, from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM, and will take place in @d3dubai in the building 4 atrium on the main stage. Can industrial waste be sustainable? This is the question that launched the Kohler Waste Lab and during this workshop, Theresa will discuss the concept behind the Lab and what they are working on. These inventive projects include repurposing items such as pottery cull, foundry sand and other traditional manufacturing ‘waste’ streams into ceramic tiles, table tops and more. . . . . . . #DXBDW2018 #DesignNews #DesignWorkshop #Sustainability #SustainableDesign #Kohler #Repurposing #Workshop #DesignTalks

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“It is for people in the region to push the boundaries of Dubai on an experimental level,” Kashkoush said, explaining the motive behind the commercial trade show.

Next up is the Global Grad Show, which showcases inventions by passionate, upcoming design graduates of 61 nationalities from 100 universities around the world.

But Kashkoush seems to be most enthusiastic about Abwab, an exhibition and architectural installation that brings together design talent from across the Middle East.

“Abwab exhibits a cultural exchange of art between the Middle East and North Africa,” she told Arab News of the exhibit, the title of which translates to “door” in English.

This year’s theme, “Between the Lines,” can be regarded as a storytelling experience in which the various artists and designers were invited to share stories that would encourage visitors to leave with a deeper understanding of the region, to read between the lines as it were.

This year, Abwab features a collection of design experiences drawn from five communities in the Middle East: Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait City. Two designers have been invited from each place to collaborate and produce works situated in dedicated pavilions.

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In time for #DXBDW2018's official launch day tomorrow, here’s a preview of what to expect from the Middle East’s largest creative festival. With a programme of over 250+ exhibitions, installations, talks and workshops, the best of the design world will be taking over @d3Dubai until 17 November 2018. Staged in partnership with Dubai Design District (@d3Dubai) and supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (@dubaiculture) and Audi Middle East (@audimiddleeast), this year's Dubai Design Week programme is the most comprehensive to date. Don't forget to download the Dubai Design Week app to make the most of the event. . . . . . . #DXBDW2018 #preview #designevent #designeventdubai #designdaysdubai #installations #exhibitions #globaldesign #designcommunity #creativecommunity #sneakpeek #dxb #dubai

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