Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"FEN Magazine"

Fen. It’s the Arabic word for art.

The first and only of its kind, FEN Magazine is an online publication devoted to covering, elevating, and promoting collaboration between Arab-American artists around the world. It’s the premiere destination for anyone seeking to discover, follow, or support Arab-American art.

Thanks to the homey Seif (co-founder / creative director) I had the honor of being featured twice in this month's issue - in the "FEN Five" top music picks for an exclusive track called "Hustle On" off my upcoming album, and in the "What's Popular" section on the main page for my rendition/translation of Nizar Qabbani's "Qariat il-Finjan" (aka The Fortuneteller).

I met Seif a couple years ago while performing @ Case Western University in Ohio - he was DJing a set for Ragtop & I ... Check him out in the pic below!

Proud to see him & Marwa take the initiative to not only put a magazine/website like this together - but to do it so well.
3iiish FEN!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Syrian-American Reflections"

"Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror..." 
- Khalil Gibran

Kinda Hibrawi is a gifted Syrian-American painter, calligrapher, using her work to bridge the cultural divide between East & West in a profound way...

May Alhassan is a talented Syrian-American performer & PHD candidate @ USC, using her work to bridge the cultural divide between East & West in a profound way...

Reem Salahi is a brilliant Syrian-American lawyer & online radio host using her work to bridge the cultural divide between East & West in a profound way...

(See where I'm goin with this?)

I, Omar Offendum, a Syrian-American Hip-Hop Artist using his work to bridge the same cultural divide, had the pleasure of sitting down with these inspiring Shami / 7alabi sisters to talk art, activism, & good ole' fashioned SyrianamericanA on Reem's radio show - which was coincidentally being recorded @ Advent MP Studies, where I am putting the finishing touches on my solo record.

In the process I got to see three (much prettier) reflections of myself ...

I met Kinda several months ago & had the honor of performing at her most recent solo art exhibition in Santa Ana - titled "Dear Mr. Gibran" ... A stunning collection of vibrant Arabic calligraphy paintings inspired by the words of Khalil Gibran - a Syrian-American master of verse who's work resonates with human beings all over the planet ... After getting to know her a little better, we realized our stories were even more similar than we had initially thought - as the birth connection to the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia also became apparent.

I met May when I first moved to LA in the summer of 2004, and have had many a wonderful conversation since ... One which was previously posted on my blog when I was a guest on her show "ART-What's Happening" earlier this year ... Her keen intellect, ability to understand / process important socio-political events & deliver her points in an animated way is a breath of fresh air indeed ... That is why her involvement with the "Hijabi Monologues" project has been so important in my opinion - she does a great job of opening up the discussion to a broader audience.

I met Reem only recently, but have known of her for quite some time now ... Her dedication to justice is truly inspiring - a lawyer who has used her knowledge to champion civil rights & empower the disenfranchised members of our communities for years ... A UCLA & Berkeley grad, she is president of the Muslim Bar Association & host of One Legacy Radio's popular new show  "OBJECTION"... She also recently delivered a series of passionate report-back lectures on her experiences in Palestine after the vicious bombardment of the Gaza Strip in December/January of 2008 - which resulted in the loss of over 1300 innocent lives, & the destruction of countless homes, schools, & government buildings ... Needless to say this sister not only talks the talk, but walks the walk - masha'Allah.

Our discussion was so fruitful that it had to be split into two shows - follow the links below to listen:

Activism Through Art - Part I

Activism Through Art - Part II

Reem would later feature my poem "New Year's Eve in Gaza" - with a powerful sonic backdrop provided by the one & only Sami Matar of Advent MP - on a subsequent show commemorating the one year anniversary of Israel's 22 day attack on Gaza - Remembering Gaza

We all have a shared heritage & similar story ...

We all have a similar vision for our communities ...

We all represent that lovely little nation-state-of-mind I like to call SyrianamericanA ...

3iiiish Sooooooriiiiiiis