Arab designers reign supreme as Diddy celebrates birthday with star-studded bash

Diddy's birthday bash brought out the whos-who of Hollywood. (AFP)
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Updated 16 December 2019

Arab designers reign supreme as Diddy celebrates birthday with star-studded bash

  • Diddy celebrated his milestone 50th birthday on Saturday with an extravagant star-studded bash
  • A number of stars looked to regional designers to help them nail their looks for the occasion

DUBAI: There’s birthdays, there’s 50th birthdays, and then there’s Diddy’s 50th birthday.

Born Sean Combs, the artist formerly known as P. Diddy celebrated his milestone half-a-century on Saturday with an extravagant star-studded bash that brought the who’s-who of Hollywood to his Beverly Hills mansion.

Music stars, actors, models and entrepreneurs were invited by Naomi Campbell. Well, sort of. The invitation was set to a voiceover in which the British supermodel proclaimed, “There ain’t no party like a Diddy party,” before laying out the three ground rules: Dance or don’t come, black tie means black tie and project good vibrations.  

When it came to rule number two, the superstar guest-list certainly did not disappoint, turning up wearing their glittering best. A number of stars looked to regional designers to help them nail their looks, including Mary J. Blige, who opted for a striking, form-fitting design from Kuwaiti couturier Yousef  Al-Jasmi to perform for the A-list guests.

The embellished look boasted a high neck and was paired with equally sparkling David Webb diamonds.

British actress Kate Beckinsale turned heads wearing a black, plunging creation from Lebanese designer Georges Chakra, while Canadian singer Deborah Cox chose a sequin-embellished Elie Madi design.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

All ready for amazing @diddy’s amazing #diddy50 party

A post shared by Kate Beckinsale (@katebeckinsale) on

Other guests in attendance included Jay-Z and Beyonce, who wore a jaw-dropping creation custom-designed by Albanian fashion house Kujta & Meri.

 Several members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan were in attendance, including Khloe in Bryan Hearns and Kim wearing Vivienne Westwood.

The youngest sibling, Kylie Jenner, opted for a black, plunging Balmain creation that she previewed on Instagram ahead of the Los Angeles party. The self-made billionaire uploaded a photograph of herself with her older sister Kendall’s close friend, Palestinian DJ Fai Khadra, coyly tagging her in the post and prompting her to comment: “Are we fighting?”  

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@kendalljenner

A post shared by Kylie ✨ (@kyliejenner) on

Along with Combs’ children, music stars Usher and Lil’ Kim took the stage to fete the host.

Kanye West, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pharrell, Jimmy Iovine, Naomi Osaka, Cardi B, Offset, Lizzo, Janelle Monáe, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Reed Hastings, Queen Latifah, Post Malone, Regina King, Lauren London, Jaden Smith and Jack Dorsey were also all in attendance. 


From Syria to stardom: Zain Al-Rafeea sheds light on his Hollywood highlights

Zain Al-Rafeea spoke to Arab News about his role in ‘The Eternals.’ (File/AFP)
Updated 18 January 2020

From Syria to stardom: Zain Al-Rafeea sheds light on his Hollywood highlights

LOS ANGELES: A child is forced to leave home to escape a terrible fate. Growing up in a strange land, he develops a special talent and achieves greatness.

It is a familiar story that could describe the lives of a host of superheroes. But it also applies to refugee and actor Zain Al-Rafeea, and his courageous journey from Syria to stardom.

Al-Rafeea was born in 2004. His family fled the Syrian conflict when he was eight, moving to Lebanon, where they were forced to find shelter in the slums of Beirut.

“Unfortunately, refugees face harsh conditions in Lebanon because the country has so many of them,” Al-Rafeea told Arab News. “I never thought I would be an actor or a famous person. I just dreamt of being safe with my family and that nothing bad would happen to them. I was focusing on making money to support my parents.”

In late 2017, Al-Rafeea’s life was changed by a chance encounter with Jennifer Haddad, casting director and collaborator of acclaimed Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki.

“I was in the street with a group of friends. I saw Jennifer, and she asked me if I would like to act. My first reaction was like ‘OK, I have no problem with that.’ She took a video of me, sent it to Nadine and things went on from there.”

Labaki cast Al-Rafeea as the lead in her 2018 drama “Capernaum.” The film was a hit, and the young actor’s performance was lauded by both audiences and critics.

“I did not imagine in my wildest dreams that I have such an international success,” Al-Rafeea said. “I just thought of it as an acting experience, but things went in a much better direction.”

In November, it was announced that Al-Rafeea will join the cast of Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals.” The film tells the story of a race of immortal aliens who lived on Earth in secret, and features A-list stars such as Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.

“The introduction happened through Nadine. Directors and producers from Hollywood talked to her and she put us in touch,” Al-Rafeea said.

The actor met his fellow cast members on the Canary Islands during the early stages of filming. “They were nice and their welcome to me was very sweet,” he said. “They invited me for lunch and we chatted for hours, I felt so happy.

“When we finished the first day’s shooting, Salma Hayek came up and hugged me. That night she gave me an iPad and iPhone, and we chatted and listened to music together.”

The teenage star couldn’t reveal much about his role in “The Eternals,” only that he joins the alien heroes as a human who can speak a mysterious 7,000-year-old language.

Life in the Beirut slums is a thing of the past for the Al-Rafeea family. With their son’s success, they were able to relocate to Norway.

“It is a perfect country, the people are so calm, and there are no fights or even traffic. Having water and electricity all the time is a great thing.” While he is excited about his new home, Al-Rafeea has not forgotten his friends, family and the home he left behind in Syria.

“Work hard for nothing is impossible — look what happened to me,” Al-Rafeea said in a message to children facing situations like the one he endured. “Simply dream big.”

“The Eternals” is due to be released in the US on Nov. 6, 2020. A Middle Eastern premiere date is yet to be announced.