Young Jordanians showcase ‘talent from home’ for hit contest

Taleen Hindeleh, 20-year-old daughter of a Jordanian singer, plays the piano at home in Amman. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 05 May 2020

Young Jordanians showcase ‘talent from home’ for hit contest

  • ‘My talent from my home’ attracted more than 67,000 participants and 18 million views on social networks

AMMAN: An online talent contest created to keep young Jordanians busy as they sit out their country’s coronavirus lockdown has proved a hit, with thousands participating and millions watching.

Mahmoud Azzazi, 22, lives in a working-class neighborhood of the capital Amman and is studying culinary arts, but has been turning his mind to music during the lockdown.
He was among the prize winners for his rendition of the song “Sway,” made famous by the likes of Dean Martin.
Jordan’s Culture Ministry launched the “My talent from my home” contest in late March, and says it has since attracted more than 67,000 participants and 18 million views on social networks.
With children under 16 prohibited from leaving their homes except in case of emergency, and with schools and universities still closed, the contest has provided a creative outlet for many young people.
Azzazi said the win had encouraged him to work on his voice. “I hope to become a professional singer in the future,” he said.
Jordanian authorities imposed a strict round-the-clock curfew on March 21, with hundreds arrested in the following days for breaches.
Daytime movement restrictions have since been eased, but the curfew remains in force at night.
“I want to fly, nobody can clip my wings,” Taleen Hindeleh belted out from her bedroom in Amman, in a prize-winning rendition of a song by Lebanese artist Hiba Tawaji.
Contestants are divided into two groups — those aged 10 to 14 and 15 to 25. Categories include music, poetry, drawing and storytelling.
Participants must post a short video on social media with the Arabic hashtag “my talent from my home,” which is picked up by the culture ministry’s Facebook and YouTube accounts.
Five artists judge the videos — the number of views and likes on social media are considered — and Jordanian television broadcasts a selection of award-winning entries each week.
Hindeleh said being in lockdown at home in Amman with her father, a professional singer, had its advantages.
“He guides me and coaches me,” said the 20-year-old student, who also plays piano.

FASTFACT

• With children under 16 prohibited from leaving their homes except in case of emergency, and with schools and universities still closed, the contest has provided a creative outlet for many young people.

• Participants must post a videos online with the Arabic hashtag ‘my talent from my home,’ which is picked up by Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Jordan has officially declared 465 cases of novel coronavirus, including nine deaths.
A hundred prizes are awarded weekly, with the winners announced on television and on the ministry’s website.




Ebaa Akroush, 24, plays the flute on his balcony in Fuheis, Jordan. (AFP)

Prizes range from 100 to 1,000 dinars ($140-$1,400) — not bad in a country where the monthly wage is around $600.
Ebaa Akroush, a 24-year-old music graduate, was one of the first-prize winners in the contest’s opening week for his performance on the flute.
“I didn’t expect to win because the video was poor quality,” he said.
Akroush said he had initially made a short video to share with his friends, but added the hashtag after hearing about the competition.
“Now people are contacting me with questions about the flute,” he said from his balcony in Al-Fuheis, near Amman.
Locked down in Ajloun, north of the capital, 25-year-old Nabil Al-Rabadhi won a prize for his performance of “Enta omri” (“You are my life”), by legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kalthoum, played on the qanun — a stringed instrument similar to a zither.
He said he felt it was important to showcase a traditional Middle Eastern instrument, while many other contestants were using Western ones.

“Thanks to the curfew, I’m spending more time playing each day,” Rabadhi said.
The contest is scheduled to run until Eid Al-Fitr, which falls later in May.
And while some seek the limelight, others, young and older, are happy just to be part of the audience.
Roula Al-Jmaili, a 45-year-old housewife from Amman, said the contest provided a welcome distraction from “the curfew and boredom.”
Issa Qaysar, a 24-year-old music arranger from Al-Fuhais, said he hoped the competition would continue.
“There is great artistic talent that deserves to win and be supported,” he said.


Snapchat curbs Trump posts for inciting ‘racial violence’

Updated 03 June 2020

Snapchat curbs Trump posts for inciting ‘racial violence’

  • “We are not currently promoting the president’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” Snapchat said
  • The move came after Twitter took an unprecedented stand by hiding a Trump post it said promoted violence

SAN FRANCISCO: Snapchat on Wednesday stopped promoting posts by US President Donald Trump, saying they incite “racial violence.”
“We are not currently promoting the president’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” Snapchat said in response to an AFP inquiry, referencing the youth-focused social network’s section for recommended content.
“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover.”
The move came after Twitter took an unprecedented stand by hiding a Trump post it said promoted violence, thrusting rival Facebook into turmoil for refusing to sanction false or inflammatory posts by the US president.
The decision was made over the weekend, during which Snapchat parent Snap chief executive Evan Spiegel sent a lengthy memo to employees condemning what he saw as a legacy of racial injustice and violence in the US.
“Every minute we are silent in the face of evil and wrongdoing we are acting in support of evildoers,” Spiegel wrote as companies responded to the outrage over the police killing of a black man in Minnesota.
“I am heartbroken and enraged by the treatment of black people and people of color in America.”
Snapchat will not promote accounts in the US that are linked to people who incite racial violence on or off the messaging platform, according Spiegel.
The Discover feature at Snapchat is a curated platform on which the California-based company get to decide what it recommends to users.
Trump’s account remains on the platform, it will just no longer be recommended viewing, according to Snapchat.
“We may continue to allow divisive people to maintain an account on Snapchat, as long as the content that is published on Snapchat is consistent with our community guidelines, but we will not promote that account or content in any way,” Spiegel said in the memo.
“We will make it clear with our actions that there is no grey area when it comes to racism, violence, and injustice — and we will not promote it, nor those who support it, on our platform.”
Snapchat is particularly popular with young Internet users, claiming that about half of the US “generation Z” population tapping into news through its Discover feature.