Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to get his very own Times Square billboard

Amr Diab is the first Arab musical artist to get his face plastered on a Spotify billboard in New York City’s iconic Times Square. (Supplied)
Updated 12 November 2019

Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to get his very own Times Square billboard

  • Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to appear on a Spotify billboard in Times Square
  • The move is a bid to promote the music and culture of the Middle East and North Africa

DUBAI: Amr Diab is the first Arab musical artist to get his face plastered on a Spotify billboard in New York City’s iconic Times Square. 

The streaming giant projected a smiling portrait of the Egyptian crooner in one of the most-visited landmarks in the Big Apple in a bid to promote the music and culture of the Middle East and North Africa.

“Today we are celebrating Diab’s legacy and we are proud to see him shine so brightly - literally - on the global stage,” says Claudius Boller, Managing Director, Spotify Middle East and Africa in an official press statement. 

According to Spotify, the legendary singer’s music is most streamed in the United States, followed by Sweden, Germany, the UK and Canada.

His album “Nour el-Ain” (Our Eyes Beam) brought him global success and earned him the title of “The Father of Mediterranean Music” for his style of blending Egyptian and western rhythms. 

Diab received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Big Apple Music Awards in 2009. At the 2014 World Music Awards, Diab was also awarded Best Egyptian Artist, Best Male Arab Artist, and World’s Best Arab Male Artist Voted Online.

He was also one of the first artists to headline a concert in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Saudia E-Prix in 2018. He was part of a superstar lineup that included the likes of Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo, the Black Eyed Peas, One Republic and David Guetta. 

The 58-year-old singer is set to take the stage of the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre in Jan. 20, 2020. 


Beirut-based photographer discusses his viral image of Lebanon’s ongoing protests

This photo was taken on a bridge in Jal El Dib. (Supplied)
Updated 7 min 35 sec ago

Beirut-based photographer discusses his viral image of Lebanon’s ongoing protests

  • The photo is a resemblance to René Magritte’s image of a couple — covered in a cloth — kissing
  • A good image strikes a balance between geometry or form and content

The Beirut-based photographer Roï Saade discusses his viral image of Lebanon’s ongoing protests

This photo was taken on a bridge in Jal El Dib — which is on the north side of Beirut — on October 23. This particular day was very interesting, because there was some sort of momentum due to a lot of soldiers and citizens joining the roadblocks. It’s an image of two people under the flag, and I think there was interest in this photo because it has a sort of resemblance to René Magritte’s image of a couple — covered in a cloth — kissing.

A good image strikes a balance between geometry or form and content. I think my image is visually interesting and not something you see every day; it’s a bit mysterious — you don’t know who is under the flag. There is a symbolic element of unity with no reference to sectarianism, and people relate to that. My images are not quite photojournalism — they do not describe a certain event — they’re more about ideas that I relate to or have experienced.

Roï Saade is a Beirut-based photographer. (Suppllied)

I felt that there might be hope in change and I felt the need to document or archive the revolution, as I wanted to be part of it regardless of the end result. I also wanted to connect with people who I don’t feel have the same hopes and way of thinking as I do. I thought, like many, that I’m living in my own bubble. What was on my mind most of the time was the idea of what it means to be Lebanese — which is an ongoing question, because things are divided.

When I was pasting this image on walls in Downtown Beirut, a few questioned the motive behind the photo. Knowing how everything is politicized and labeled in Lebanon, it was interesting to see that people want to know the meaning behind something. In general, I’m a photographer who believes in images that you can relate to. I don’t like to caption my images in a descriptive way. I prefer for people to interpret the images the way they want, based on their experiences.