Actress Yara Shahidi to produce new comedy series

Shahidi is the youngest network producer ever. Instagram
Shahidi is the youngest network producer ever. Instagram
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Updated 20 January 2021

Actress Yara Shahidi to produce new comedy series

Shahidi is the youngest network producer ever. Instagram

DUBAI: Actress Yara Shahidi is set to produce a new single-camera comedy series “Smoakland” for Freeform via her production company 7th Sun. 

The “Grown-ish” star announced the exciting news via Instagram by posting a screenshot of a Deadline article about the series. 

“IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO … Proud #TEAM7THSUNMOMENT (sic)” she wrote to her 5.5 million followers. 

According to Deadline, Smoakland, which was written by Jewel Coronel and Zahir McGhee, “the show will explore love, family expectations, and other issues.”

Coronel, known for drama series "The Chi", will also pen the new project. 

The part-Middle Eastern star, and her mother Keri Shahidi, announced the launch of their new production company, 7th Sun, back in July and signed an exclusive overall deal with ABC Studios which will see them develop television projects for streaming, cable and broadcast.

The 20-year-old shared the exciting news via Instagram, writing, “The vision is set. The slate is built.” She added: “Grateful to my ABC family & excited to join the television landscape to collaborate and push forward the stories of our many intersections.”

In addition to her critically-acclaimed roles on “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish,” the young mogul’s other acting credits include shows like “The First Family” and “Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia.” 

The US-Iranian star is also set to play Tinkerbell in Disney’s “Peter Pan and Wendy,” the studio’s latest live-action adaptation, joining a cast that includes Jude Law as Captain Hook, Alexander Molony as Peter Pan and newcomer Ever Anderson, who will play Wendy.

Arabic calligraphy: Ancient craft, modern art
For the Saudi Ministry of Culture's Year of Arabic Calligraphy in 2020/21, we take an in-depth look at how the craft has developed from ancient to modern times.

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Luxury label Judith Leiber unveils clutches inspired by Gulf flags

Saudi Arabia-inspired Judith Leiber clutch. Supplied
Saudi Arabia-inspired Judith Leiber clutch. Supplied
Updated 03 March 2021

Luxury label Judith Leiber unveils clutches inspired by Gulf flags

Saudi Arabia-inspired Judith Leiber clutch. Supplied

DUBAI: Renowned US handbag brand Judith Leiber has unveiled a range of clutches inspired by the various flags of the GCC countries.

A  sartorial celebration of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, each clutch required weeks of handwork and thousands of Swarovski crystals. In addition to being pleasing to the eye, the bags are also functional. 

Judith Lieber’s depiction of Saudi Arabia’s flag. Supplied

The embellished minaudières are priced at $3,800 and can be purchased exclusively through e-tailer Net-A-Porter.

Favored by the fashionable and the famous, Judith Lieber’s whimsical designs often take on playful and wonderful shapes. 

The UAE’s flag is depicted in this clutch. Supplied

The brand was established by Judith and her husband Gerson Leiber in 1963.

The designer passed away in 2018 aged 97.


Fans of K-Pop group BTS call for UAE concert with new art exhibition    

Fans of K-Pop group BTS call for UAE concert with new art exhibition    
Updated 03 March 2021

Fans of K-Pop group BTS call for UAE concert with new art exhibition    

Fans of K-Pop group BTS call for UAE concert with new art exhibition    

DUBAI: BTS fans in the UAE, who go by the name “BTS UAE Army,” are set to launch an art exhibition that pays tribute to the South Korean boy-band with the hopes of garnering enough attention to encourage the group to perform in the country.

Titled “BTS Meets Street Arts in the UAE,” the moving monument exhibition will be on display in different locations across the country starting March 25. 

According to a released statement, BTS UAE administrator Elareese Ramos said: “We intend to bring BTS to perform in the Middle East. We want them to notice that they are very much loved in the UAE as much as they are loved in America, Europe, Japan and other parts of the world.”

BTS’s fans in the UAE go by the name “BTS UAE Army.” (Supplied)

This will be the first time a Korean music artist will have a moving exhibition in the whole region. This is our chance to get united with the name of ARMY of the Middle East,” added Ramos. 

The fans are also gathering local artist to create art pieces inspired by the seven-member group.

BTS UAE Army has collaborated with Springs 15, a test-bed platform for individuals and small businesses seeking support to turn their creative ideas into reality, to launch this project.

BTS last performed in the UAE in 2016 as part of KCon Abu Dhabi and after their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” world tour brought them to Saudi Arabia in 2019, the supporters in the UAE have high hopes that they will be back to perform in the region. 


Brazilian superstar Anitta sparkles in Yousef Al-Jasmi creation for new clip 

Brazilian superstar Anitta sparkles in Yousef Al-Jasmi creation for new clip 
Updated 03 March 2021

Brazilian superstar Anitta sparkles in Yousef Al-Jasmi creation for new clip 

Brazilian superstar Anitta sparkles in Yousef Al-Jasmi creation for new clip 

DUBAI: Brazilian superstar Anitta released a new music video on Tuesday in which she was spotted wearing a form-fitting, dazzling catsuit by Kuwaiti designer Yousef Al-Jasmi. 

The song is titled “Mi Niña,” which translates to “My Girl,” and  features Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma and Puerto Rican rappers Wisin and Myke Towers.

 

Anitta, who has over 51.7 million followers on Instagram, wore a green column gown with a high collar by the king of all things sparkly. 

The designer to the stars took to Instagram to share clips from the music video and pictures of Anitta wearing his creation. 

The 27-year-old singer is not the only celebrity fan the style guru has won over — Naomi Campbell, the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Sofia Richie and Kelly Rowland are also on his client list. 

This is not the first time Anitta has championed an Arab designer. 

For the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards, the music sensation turned heads wearing a Georges Hobeika crystal-embellished maxi skirt and a yellow crop top that featured a floor-trailing, oversized bow.


Two winners announced as US university celebrates Arab art with Khayrallah Prize

Cover of Rula Jurdi Abisaab’s Arabic novel, “In a Box of Light.” Supplied
Cover of Rula Jurdi Abisaab’s Arabic novel, “In a Box of Light.” Supplied
Updated 03 March 2021

Two winners announced as US university celebrates Arab art with Khayrallah Prize

Cover of Rula Jurdi Abisaab’s Arabic novel, “In a Box of Light.” Supplied

DUBAI: Since its foundation in 2010, the Khayrallah Center at North Carolina State University has pursued its mission to research, archive, and inform the public about the history of the Lebanese diaspora.

One of the center’s standout activities is celebrating Arab culture through the annual Khayrallah Prize, introduced in 2015.

“When you talk about the history of the community, culture is a central aspect of who they are, whether it is day-to-day culture, such as food, or high culture as we imagine it to be such as literature, poetry, and art,” center director, Dr. Akram Khater, told Arab News.

A native of Lebanon, he said: “We wanted to not only recognize but to encourage people to explore the idea of being in the diaspora artistically.”

New York-based filmmaker Zayn Alexander submitted a 10-minute film, “Abroad,” which he stars in and is the first movie he has directed. Supplied

For the 2020 edition of the prize – which received approximately 100 entries of visual art, plays, poetry, and film – two co-winners have been announced: The New York-based filmmaker Zayn Alexander, and Montreal-based poet and scholar Rula Jurdi Abisaab.

Born in Lebanon, Alexander submitted a 10-minute film, “Abroad,” which he stars in and is the first movie he has directed.

It tells the story of a Lebanese couple, Jad and Rania, who live in New York but are struggling to make it into the movie industry partly due to typecasting of Arab actors. Things take a serious turn when Jad decides to return to Lebanon.

Meanwhile, McGill University professor Abisaab’s Arabic novel, “In a Box of Light,” is centered on the theme of light and enlightenment.

Portrait of Rula Jurdi Abisaab. Supplied

Its protagonist is a young Lebanese woman who travels to New York to study filmmaking, encountering people of different backgrounds. Her relationship with an Iraqi man becomes central in her life but is problematic for her family back in a Lebanese village.

Khater noted that the winners’ individual works met the standard of the prize’s ethos.

“We’re looking for something that not only shows a high level of skill in their craft but also material that speaks to the themes of diaspora and immigration, exploring them with honesty, fresh eyes, and depth,” he added.

Portrait of Zayn Alexander. Supplied

Both recipients will share the $10,000 prize money. Due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020 was a challenging year for artistic communities around the world, which is why the Khayrallah Prize is a commendable effort to provide some financial help for artistic practitioners.

In normal circumstances, the prize winner would be invited to present their work at a ceremony in Beirut’s Sursock Museum. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a virtual event was expected to be held.


Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 
Updated 03 March 2021

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

DUBAI: US-Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa’s book “Against the Loveless World” is among the finalists for the 2020 Athenaeum of Philadelphia Literary Award, organizers announced this week. 

Susan Abulhawa is a US-Palestinian writer. (Supplied)

The political activist’s book begins in the Hawalli neighborhood of Kuwait. It tells the story of a woman who has as many names as she has homes, moving from place to place as a child of exiles and becoming one herself during the Gulf War.

With her mother, brother, and grandmother Sitti Wasfiyeh, Nahr navigates a life through Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, a home she knows so little of, and then an Israeli prison.

With dreams of marriage, of her own children and of freedom, Nahr’s fight to survive a world that is intent on testing her lands her in situations that could break the weak.

In an unthinkably harsh reality, and one that is a continuous experiment in resilience, Abulhawa pushes to the fore themes of identity and adaptability, posing the question: How can an oppressor know roots when they live by unearthing trees?

Read Arab News’ full review of “Against the Loveless World” here.

Abulhawa is competing against author Michele Harper for her book “The Beauty in Breaking” and writer Kiley Reid for her novel “Such a Fun Age.” 

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia museum established its literary award in 1950.

The last two winners for the award in 2019 were British author Edward Posnett and Canadian- American writer Witold Rybczynski for their books “Strange Harvests: The Hidden Histories of Seven Natural Objects” and “Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City” respectively.