When Haifa Wehbe Went To The SMAs

I watch Lebanese award shows occasionally when they air on some television channel. I laugh at the amount of plastic in them, the people kissing up to each other only because social class dictates as such, the winners who are so shocked it’s obviously fake, etc…. The thing about those Lebanese award shows is that no one is taken aback and starstruck by some megastar, effectively making the entire show about that person. I never thought I’d attend a Lebanese award show, let alone be nominated in one. But the Social Media Awards were a Lebanese award show by excellence.

The worst part about the SMAs wasn’t performers such as Poly singing to empty chairs or as a friend said having a “Paris Hilton winning best neurosurgeon award” with Lebanese Memes beating out Donner Sang Compter in a category for NGOs, something I had predicted 11 days ago (link) or how Anis Tabet’s blog somehow lost. The worst part wasn’t the fact that trying to get food at the food court could have resulted in some form of asphyxia because of how many people were there. It wasn’t the dress code that was resoundingly disassociated with social media.

Haifa Wehbe came around 10:30. No pun. She was obviously three hours late because someone as busy as her cannot mingle with the commoners who had been sitting there for three hours prior listening to one category after the other and who are not used to flashy award shows. She came to accept the award she hadn’t won yet for best celebrity on social media.

So in case it wasn’t obvious she was going to win, you should have taken a hint. Elissa was definitely rolling in her bed at that point. It wasn’t as if Haifa Wehbe winning wasn’t expected. But she sure knows how to make an entrance. The entire award ceremony was stopped so she can have her photoshoot and her poses and people scrambling to take pictures with her. Even the category being announced at that moment was put on hold for her. How respectful is that to the winner? Well, what do I know I guess.

Many minutes later, someone came back to their senses. And because Haifa is a very busy woman who doesn’t have time to wait for the rest of the categories in the evening’s planned proceedings, her category was brought forward. And surprise surprise! She won. She went on stage and accepted her prize. Was it deserved? I don’t follow her but “Twitter is my bodyguard,” she said in a speech that she wanted to say in “Arabic.”

And the same mania repeated itself, this time ten times over. The cameras, the flashing lights, the poses, the air kisses. Again, who cares about the other categories of the people who were waiting almost four hours for their turn to come up? Those people – like yours truly – are obviously irrelevant.

I wasn’t sure at that point if I was attending the Social Media Awards or the Haifa Wehbe Show. The award show that was supposed to be about 200 nominees, most of which had worked really hard  for a year to get nominated, became about this woman’s ability to make men drool and preteens go gaga. And they love it.

Note to self: must visit Nader Saab to improve my assets in preparation for next year. The Elie Fares show sure has a nice ring to it.

Haifa Wehbe showing up put things into perspective. The SMAs weren’t about really honoring the year’s best blog with those 50 people in the room at the time of the announcement. It wasn’t about the irrelevant categories sprinkled here and there to which we campaigned and had fun doing so even if we knew we weren’t going win. It was about getting the flashiest result possible. A few days from now, few will remember who won what. But they’ll only remember that Haifa Wehbe attended. Everyone & everything else is simply besides the main point.

Note 2.0:

Thank you to every single one of you people who took the time to vote for A Separate State of Mind. You people are beyond brilliantly awesome. 

26 thoughts on “When Haifa Wehbe Went To The SMAs

  1. I don’t follow Haifa on twitter, nor do I care about her “music” career.. But I honestly do think she deserved to win. She responds to people’s tweets, she interacts… Way more than the people in other categories.
    I do agree that she stole the show and was rude(ish), and the organisation of the food should have been better. But when it comes to who won what, rest assured that it was ALL FAIR. Don’t be whiny just because you weren’t invited to the after party. :p

    Ps. The category of Lebanese memes was not just for NGOs. It was Community page and NGO.


    • I didn’t say she doesn’t deserve to win. I said the way she was made out to win is unacceptable and demeaning to all the other nominees and winner. When BlogBaladi won blog of the year, how many people were in the room? 50.

      I couldn’t care less about the after party. But I do get to make jokes out of it. It’s just so punny.

      PS: I know. There is a link there where the proceedings of yesterday’s “ceremony” were predicted 11 days ago. I suggest you check it 🙂


      • My apologies if I interpreted your punny jokes as whiny tweets and desperate latshes.
        On another note, people do crazy things when they see a celebrity. As much as they’re put together at all times, the sight of a famous person makes them go bonkers (excuse my British). Crowd control is not the forte of the SMA, agreed.. maybe next year they’re hire more security people to keep folks at bay.


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  3. Actually, not only Elissa was rolling in her bed, so was I (note: It is a different bed I am talking about sadly)… I did not attend, I did not launch a facebook campaign, I did not put the gadget on my blog, and I am still having a blast Haifa or no Haifa (fun fact, she was one of my communication clients for a while and at one point she wanted to correct the English of my press release)…


    • The campaign was fun even if I knew prospects were non-existent. However, I did have a problem with the entire ceremony which culminated with Haifa and the utter disrespect to everyone else.


  4. THE SOCIAL MEDIA AWARDS. !!!!!!! I have been refraining from commenting on such third-world non-sense and insults to our intelligence through students who happened to find themselves out of high school and wanted to do “something” with his/her life that is so pointless and at some point harmful to people who ACTUALLY contribute to society.. I was not nominated for anything, so No it is not a bitter message because I lost Best Nose award to Haifa. 🙂
    1- I watched an interview of two students who put this sharade up on Future TV, and let me quote one of them on a phrase he kept repeating(again irrelevantly), “3am n3allim el 3alam yista3emlo el social media bitaree2a sa7ee7a” in a university club. Let me tell you (in a NON-THIRD-world-country) what the activities of the young would be: SOCIAL COTRIBUTION to society. Having “awards” with categories and winners like these are an insult to Lebanese intelligence, but then again why blame a few students who want any kind of recognition without any talent or merit? 2- They are not only NOT helping society in any way, but are actually putting people who do (ex: food blessed) in categories that are so irrelevant and demeaning to groups with an ACTUAL cause.


    • My thoughts as I read your comment:

      1) Third world nonsense?
      2) The only insult to our intelligence is your ignorant comment.
      3) The organizers are not high school students. They’re graduate and current students from Lebanon’s top university (but apologies if Lebanon’s “third world” status offends you).
      4) “3am n3allim el 3alam yista3emlo el social media bitaree2a sa7ee7a” is one of the missions of Online Collaboritve, you may check the website and see the courses that are given to students and senior citizens at AUB.
      5) Stop using third world country, it’s getting lame and is completely irrelevant argument..
      6) The Social Media Awards are a way to applaud the efforts of the online community. Whether it’s NGO and organization who do social good (DSC, Food blessed and all that) or entities that entertain us online (Lebanese Memes etc.).
      7)Thank you for insulting the youth of Lebanon by writing this comment. It’s really nice to see our effort being appreciated. TANKS TANKS TANKS.


  5. Man, I just went through this post, I saw no pics of Haifa Wehbe, lost interest. Do you really think that most would go on and read this post?


  6. Mich cafe won! And she’s friends with half of the jury. They looooove her! What a shock. How is she eligible again? She’s not Lebanese and she’s living I’m Dubai. Guess anything works when you’re loved by the organizers 😉

    I saw Fida Chaaban reply to you on twitter that Haifa shit is normal. Oh really. Of course it is. Doesn’t mean you’re dramatic for pointing out they were talking about her ALL NIGHT and knew she was going to come and did absolutely NOTHING to contain it. Whatever floats their bowtie me guesses.

    Then TedxBeirut lost all its categories. WHAT?

    To be honest, I don’t even trust the organizers enough if they decide to reveal votes and points. Transparency and no-bias policy my ass.

    You know what, this event was a total failure. From most of the winners to the proceedings to whatever happened. I dunno how you lost too. I suggest you start blogging 4837477473882929288373 times a day with one picture and one word. That’ll show ’em.

    One more thing!!! If I was you, I’d be pissed about the after-party because it’s OBVIOUS given who the hell was invited that you were excluded. Enough said…


  7. I was very disappointed at what happened to the state of the room when she walked in. It was extremely disrespectful to the rest of the nominees as well as the nominees who’s category was being announced. Bloggers who worked hard the entire year and helped in promoting the event got shoved aside. Anyways, hopefully next year things will get better and kudos to those who organized the event and worked really hard in putting the whole thing together.


  8. The presence of Haifa Wehbe at z SMA awards was a smart move done by z organisors. It’s true that she was acting as a star system, but her presence attracts all media, and the event was widely covered in Lebanon and z Arab world. Beside that , I admit that she deserves her trophee, coz she’s so active on twitter , and one of few first reknown personality in Lebanon to set trends on Twitter. The Cristal Mena Awards also invite every year a celebrity to their ceremony to attract media, this year they invited Felux Baumgartner.


  9. Hi Elie,

    With every awards ceremony there is a degree of controversy, this is what we as organizers learned first hand You may be disappointed from the results, which I totally understand, but overall, the SMAs has brought attention to all active actors in the Lebanese Online sphere.

    And I am sure you have noticed the increased traffic to your blog since the start of the SMAs, other bloggers have been encouraged to post more, or even start new blogs. And this is all that mattered to us from the start as organizers, we wanted to highlight the talent and hard work bloggers and others put into their online creations to everyone and show them the power of social media.

    Keep on blogging, that is all that matters and that is what the SMAs are and will be all about.




    • Hi Darine,

      Thank you for the reply. First and foremost, I’m not disappointed with the results pertaining to my category. Not only did I expect them, I blogged about them almost two weeks ago. But still somehow some people want to portray me as a sore loser which I’m afraid even this post doesn’t translate into.

      Second, I have received referrals from the smabeirut page when the voting was underway but it was a transient effect. I don’t really write to get traffic and attention, I do it because I either need to vent or because I feel strongly about something. What happened at the SMAs took away – at least when it comes to the bloggers – from what we try to do by having our category, which was left till the end because it was the most “important,” with barely anyone attending to watch Blog Baladi win. And that annoyed me. Not that I lost, which I expected and don’t really care about. I did win an iPad mini after all. Not that there were many things about the evening which I could have criticized and I probably would have had I – in a very unlikely scenario – won but didn’t do because of Lebanese mentalities that would label me as a sore loser as they did with this. But because the evening made me and many other people who actually won but didn’t share this simply irrelevant.


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