Arab Hip Hop All-Stars assemble in Brooklyn
This past Friday night will go down in the history of Hip Hop as the night that the leaders of the Arab Hip Hop movement, DAM, The Narcicyst, Lowkey, and Shadia Mansour, first performed together on stage. And where else could an event like this take place? None other than Brooklyn’s own Southpaw. For anyone who was there, it was a truly remarkable evening, with each artist building on the excitement of the others to take their individual performances beyond where they might normally be at a solo show. And the energy from the crowd, over 500 strong, rockin their “Slingshot Hip Hop” t-shirts and, of course, their black and white kufiyas, was more than just people having a good time. They were giving their own energy back to the artists, with their bodies and voices, as if to make their own physical contribution to what, in this case, amounts to a musical rally. Truly a testament to the force of this supergroup, and the force of the Arab Hip Hop movement as a unified force, to garner support for the political causes that they address, including, perhaps most crucially, the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, as articulated in the anthem ”Long Live Palestine”, which they performed together here (lyrics here):
Witnessing the massive crowd of young people in Brooklyn bumpin their heads and pumpin their fists in solidarity gave me one of those rare glimmers of hope that our generation may yet have a positive and lasting impact on relations between the Middle East and the West. By creating a transatlantic union of Hip Hop fans and artists who are willing to speak out for justice and freedom, at concerts, rallies, and on social media networks, Shadia, DAM, Narcy and Lowkey are multiplying the impact of their music, and their message, exponentially. I commend them for this unified effort and encourage them to continue on their mission. After all, this is the highest (and perhaps only true) goal of Hip Hop: to effect change through music, as opposed to violence.
On that idealistic note, let me join brother Narcy and sister Shadia in saying, Hamdu’llah.
Videos & photo via Joe Seago