Music star Dua Lipa brands UK govt ‘small-minded’ over immigration

Music star Dua Lipa brands UK govt ‘small-minded’ over immigration
Dua Lipa’s parents fled their homeland Albania in 1992 to escape the growing tensions that eventually led to war in 1998.
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Updated 04 June 2023
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Music star Dua Lipa brands UK govt ‘small-minded’ over immigration

Music star Dua Lipa brands UK govt ‘small-minded’ over immigration
  • London-born singer, of Kosovo Albanian parentage, says migrants work ‘incredibly hard’
  • Home Secretary Suella Braverman previously referred to Albanian migrants as ‘criminals’

LONDON: British pop music star Dua Lipa has branded the UK government “short-sighted and small-minded” over its rhetoric toward migrants.

The singer, of Kosovo Albanian parentage, called for “more empathy” toward Albanians in an interview with the Sunday Times.

In October last year, Home Secretary Suella Braverman labeled Albanian migrants crossing into the UK illegally via small boats in the English Channel “criminals.” 

Around 16,000 Albanians made the journey in 2022, which Braverman referred to as an “invasion” of England’s south coast.

Lipa, 27, who was born in London, said: “Of course it hurt. All those words thrown around about immigrants? I always felt London was an amalgamation of cultures. It is integral to the city.

“So, when you hear the government talk about Albanians, for example, it hurts. It’s short-sighted and small-minded, but it’s the way a lot of people think.”

The singer’s parents fled their homeland in 1992 to escape the growing tensions that eventually led to war in 1998.

“No matter how we try to change the rhetoric, there will always be those who think, ‘Immigrants are coming into the country and taking jobs’,” Lipa said.

“However, immigrants who have come here have earned their keep by working incredibly hard.

“There needs to be more empathy, because people don’t leave their country unless they have to out of necessity, out of fear for their family.”

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama praised the singer during a visit to London in March, saying: “Dua Lipa is not just simply a British singer, but she’s an Albanian immigrant that has come here, as many have come, to construct, to nurse, to cook and to sing for you, and we want to make sure that this community feels not only safe but feels honored here.”

Rama, who held talks with his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on illegal migration and repatriation, added that he found Braverman’s rhetoric “very, very disgraceful.”


Dutch DJs Basicz and NoTune to ‘pull out all the stops’ at Freaks of Nature in Riyadh 

Dutch DJs Basicz and NoTune to ‘pull out all the stops’ at Freaks of Nature in Riyadh 
Updated 03 October 2023
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Dutch DJs Basicz and NoTune to ‘pull out all the stops’ at Freaks of Nature in Riyadh 

Dutch DJs Basicz and NoTune to ‘pull out all the stops’ at Freaks of Nature in Riyadh 

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s homegrown boutique music festival Freaks of Nature is back for its latest edition this weekend in Riyadh.   

Set to take to the stage at the two-day open air music festival are Dutch DJs Basicz and NoTune, returning for the second time to perform in the Kingdom.  
“Our last visit to Saudi Arabia was an absolute blast. The warmth and hospitality we received from the people there were incredible. We're really looking forward to experiencing that again. Moreover, being a part of this concept that's shaping the music scene in Saudi Arabia is not just exciting, it's an honor. We're genuinely thrilled to play a role in shaping the future of music culture in this country,” said the duo in an e-mail interview with Arab News.  

The two DJs – who also have robust careers as solo artists – enjoy the collaborative process of working with each other.   

“Collaborating has been a ride. Since the early days of our careers, we've been creating music together. It's been an amazing journey that's allowed us to build a unique musical connection,” said DJ Basicz.  

“When we're in the studio or up on stage together, it's like we have this unspoken understanding that makes the creative process flow effortlessly. It's not just about making music, it's about pushing each other to new heights. We challenge ourselves to explore uncharted territories and blend our strengths to craft a show that's not just diverse but also emotionally resonant.”  

While NoTune tends to gravitate towards the darker and more adventurous side of techno music, DJ Basicz likes to explore the industrial and raw aspects of the genre.   

“We've realized that our diverse approaches let us serve up a rich and layered experience for our audience,” said DJ Basicz.  

For their upcoming show at Freaks of Nature, taking place over Oct. 5 and 6, DJ Basicz and DJ Notune are “pulling out all the stops.”  

“We are curating a set that not only fits seamlessly with the other talented artists on our stage but also promises to take the crowd on a wild ride. We're throwing in a few surprises and that signature energy that's become our trademark. It's going to be a unique experience, a musical journey that you don't want to end,” they said.  


Mona Zaki walks L’Oreal show in Paris as Saudi Model Roz looks on

Mona Zaki walks L’Oreal show in Paris as Saudi Model Roz looks on
Updated 03 October 2023
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Mona Zaki walks L’Oreal show in Paris as Saudi Model Roz looks on

Mona Zaki walks L’Oreal show in Paris as Saudi Model Roz looks on

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Mona Zaki this week walked the sixth edition of L’Oreal’s Le Défilé Walk Your Worth show during Paris Fashion Week.  

Zaki, who is a brand ambassador for the label, wore a hot red mini dress that featured a high neck and a long train attached at the waist as she graced the runway at the esplanade of the Eiffel Tower.  

Zaki walked alongside a celebrity lineup that included Kendall Jenner, Elle Fanning, Eva Longoria, Dame Helen Mirren, and more. 

Saudi social media influencer Model Roz, who was in attendance, took to Instagram to share Zaki’s fashion moment on her Stories. “Mona Zaki and Coco Rocha killed it,” she wrote.  


Freaks of Nature festival brings international DJs to Saudi Arabia 

Freaks of Nature festival brings international DJs to Saudi Arabia 
Updated 03 October 2023
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Freaks of Nature festival brings international DJs to Saudi Arabia 

Freaks of Nature festival brings international DJs to Saudi Arabia 

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s electronic music festival Freaks of Nature is returning to Riyadh this weekend from Oct. 5 to 6. 

The two-day event, organized by Saudi creative agency Disrupt, will feature international artists including Belgian DJ and record producer Lost Frequencies, techno house legends Agents of Time, Grammy-nominated electronic music artist Nic Fanciulli and Danish DJ Morten.

The CEO of the event Yazeed Al-Hashim, chief disruption officer at Disrupt Group, described the festival to Arab News as a “crazy and quirky friend that always makes you have a great time. Imagine these qualities and personas as a full experience.”

Al-Hashim said: “Freaks of Nature is not only a music festival. We think about it as an immersive experience where everyone comes to hear great music, feel really special and have a wholesome experience that transcends through visuals, special effects and dancers. We want to create a new entertainment concept that is not only seen in Saudi but also internationally.”

A number of Saudi and regional talents will also take part in the festival including DJ Mubarak, Aziz.wav, KALI-B, Hamza Hawsawi, and Timba JD.

Al-Hashim initially launched the festival to give artists and DJs, like himself, a platform to share their music with a crowd. 

“Freaks of Nature originated from giving local artists an opportunity to play on big stages with full, amazing production. So, we’re happy we have some of the most established local artists such as Dish Dash, for example,” Al-Hashim said. 

“We also have artists that are playing for the first time in front of a public crowd in this event. So, we created this environment where we can select artists based on passion and love for music. Then we do everything, all the marketing and branding, for all the artists. So even the opening artists get their own flags, their artworks, and they get their whole set recorded.”

The CEO said that this helps boost the artists’ presence and gives them content to share online. 

Freaks of Nature will also take place in Amsterdam on Oct. 22. 

“The Riyadh event is our flagship event. That is our core business. Our participation in Europe is for us to showcase the brand to the international music community,” Al-Hashim explained.

“Amsterdam Dance Event is the biggest music conference and festival in the world, where the whole city turns into a music festival and everyone from the music industry travels to Amsterdam and that where they do their business for a year.

“So for us, it was really essential to show the international music community the Saudi entertainment scene as well as Saudi local artists.” 

Al-Hashim said that six local artists will present back-to-back sets at the Amsterdam festival. The artists will get paired up with their international idols and play the sets with them, he added.


Saudi couturier Mohammed Ashi nabs spot on BoF 500 list

Saudi couturier Mohammed Ashi nabs spot on BoF 500 list
Updated 03 October 2023
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Saudi couturier Mohammed Ashi nabs spot on BoF 500 list

Saudi couturier Mohammed Ashi nabs spot on BoF 500 list

DUBAI: Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi, founder of Paris-based label Ashi Studio, this week became the first designer from the Kingdom to be included in the BoF 500 list, the Business of Fashion’s index of the people shaping the fashion industry.

The label took to Instagram to share the news, writing: “Ashi is honored to be the first Saudi designer to enter the #BOF500 … thank you @imranamed @bof for being included in the class of 2023 alongside the creative leaders in the fashion industry.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ashi Studio (@ashistudio)

Ashi launched his eponymous house 17 years ago.  

The Arab designer’s garments have been worn by countless A-listers in the past, including Beyonce, Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Demi Lovato, Fergie and Ava DuVernay.

Ashi previously told Arab News: “I incredibly proud of my Saudi roots … my designs are often influenced by Saudi heritage.”

Middle Eastern designer Rami Al-Ali also joined Ashi on the list and became the first Syrian designer to be included. 


K-Pop group Riize ‘excited’ to perform at KCon in Saudi Arabia 

K-Pop group Riize ‘excited’ to perform at KCon in Saudi Arabia 
Updated 03 October 2023
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K-Pop group Riize ‘excited’ to perform at KCon in Saudi Arabia 

K-Pop group Riize ‘excited’ to perform at KCon in Saudi Arabia 

DUBAI: South Korean boy band Riize are set to perform at Saudi Arabia’s K-Pop music festival KCon, which will be held at Boulevard Riyadh City on Oct. 6 and 7. 

The seven-member boy band, who made their debut to much acclaim this year, released their first single album “Get a Guitar” in September.  

The group, which features Wonbin, Seunghan, Shotaro, Sohee, Sungchan, Eunseok and Anton, will perform on the event’s first day.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by KCON (@kconofficial)

In an interview with Arab News, Anton said that he was surprised to know that the Kingdom is home to fans of K-Pop.  

“I felt very thankful that there are people in Saudi Arabia who are getting to know more about K-Pop! I can’t wait for more opportunities to connect with the people there,” he said.  

His bandmate Seunghan is as excited to be meeting the group’s fans in Riyadh. His message to his fans was: “Since we don’t get to see each other often, I want to see you more and for a longer time.”  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by RIIZE (@riize_official)

The singer said he hopes that the crew’s performance “inspires young talents” in Saudi Arabia to dream. “I will be really glad if that happens,” he added.  

The group has noticed the number of rising local talents in the Kingdom, with Shotaro noting he “would love to collaborate with a Saudi artist, if I meet a good opportunity.”  

Wonbin teased that he is working on new music with the band. “I think I'll be able to see you soon with wonderful music. Please look forward to it and I am also looking forward to meeting Saudi fans again,” he told Arab News.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by RIIZE (@riize_official)

Riize is under South Korean multinational agency SM Entertainment, which manages groups such as Super Junior, EXO, SuperM and Red Velvet.  

On the first day, Riize will perform alongside Everglow, Highlight, Hyolyn, Kard, Super Junior-D&E (which are members Donghae and Eunhyuk) and 8Turn.  

The second day will see performances by Dreamcatcher, El7z Up, Evnne, Oh My Girl, Super Junior, Tempest and TNX.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by RIIZE (@riize_official)

The event, which launched in Los Angeles in 2012, is said to be one of the largest Korean cultural festivals in the world and has been held in seven countries.  

The Kingdom’s hosting of the event is part of an agreement signed between the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Seoul-based entertainment company CJ ENM in June 2022. It also reflects the ministry’s efforts to boost international cultural exchange in line with the goals of Vision 2030.