Adeela & Why The Fans Of Nancy Ajram, Elissa, Other Divas Need To Be Less Butthurt With Jokes

Picture this, a sarcastic joke making fun of a Lebanese pop star ends up threatening one of the biggest and funniest pages to grace Lebanese and Arab Facebook.

Over the past few months, and in lightning-speed time, the sarcastic page calling itself “Adeela,” referring to the world’s biggest pop star Adele, was as famous in these parts of the world as the character it’s based on.

What started of as jokes placing a hypothetical Adele in an Arab setting soon became a scathing, sometimes over the top but often always spot on, critique of the state of the Arab pop scene. When Ahlam decided Lebanese were beneath her, Adeela was the first at the guillotines. When Beirut Madinati was running for elections, Adeela was voting for them in full force. The examples are endless.

However, with the evolution of Adeela from an Adele-sarcastic character to an all-seeing basher of Lebanese and Arab female singers, unless they’re called Julia Boutros, the amount of people that started to take offense at Adeela’s jokes started to rise exponentially.

It wasn’t that the jokes attacked their mother or father or religion – gasp – or family.

It wasn’t that the jokes were offensive in themselves to those people’s character.

No. Those people were so butthurt by a joke… about their favorite singing Diva, and at their forefront is the legions of fans of Nancy Ajram, Elissa and Maya Diab who almost managed to get Facebook to shut down Adeela’s page earlier today.

The sad part is that it’s more than likely their respective “Goddesses” couldn’t care less about being joked about. In these parts of the world, any publicity is good publicity. It’s not like Adeela making fun of a singer on Facebook is a Kim-Kardashian-Exposing-Taylor-Swift moment. And yet, the amount of offense that some people take at creative, and yet ultimately useless, jokes is beyond unacceptable.

Some of the jokes are as follows, as you can see few are those about whom there were no jokes:

Isn’t that the Arab way of doing things, though, so when someone “offends” you, your reflex to deal with that person is to silence them? It must be engrained in Arab DNA.

The picture that threatened the existence of Adeela’s page yesterday was the following:

Adeela Nancy Ajram Chicco

There’s really nothing to it. It makes fun of how Nancy Ajram seems to find her way as a spokesperson for everything in the Middle East. It was reported to Facebook as “offensive content and propagating pedophilia.” The extent some people go to is unbelievable.

So to the “fanzet” who think that jokes are something worth getting up in a fit about:

How about you make chill pills part of your daily routine? Why don’t you do some mental exercises to somehow boost your mental capacities to someone who doesn’t take personal offense at a joke targeting someone who will never be affected by it and who doesn’t relate to you in any way other than you fangirling over them releasing a song after Eid el Fitr?

The fact of the matter is we need pages like Adeela in these parts of the world, not only to serve as a much-needed comic relief that never borders on the cliche, but also to maybe, just maybe, shake some sense into our over-botoxed, over-stretched, over-faked scene. Who knows, maybe the next Arab revolution is not about changing political systems but reducing lip fillers?

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How Lebanon Kissed Salma Hayek’s Ass Like No Ass Has Been Kissed Before

Overwhelming refugee crisis? Nope.

The fact that it has been over a year that our parliament convened in session to vote for a president? Nope.

All other issues worth discussing about the country? Nope.

Salma Hayek visiting? YES, YES, YES.

In order to stay up to date, little as I want to, with what’s happening in my very beloved country, I usually turn to my social media feeds. As it goes: if it’s important enough to become a twitter thing, then you should be aware of it.

Salma Hayek was a Twitter thing. A Facebook thing. An Instagram thing. A get out of my face thing. A don’t we have other things to worry about thing. An everything kind of thing. A “are we seriously still talking about this” thing. A “awwww Lebanese pride, bitches” thing.

It had been a while since I saw my country, even if from afar, kiss ass in such a glorious way. Not only was the nation all over Salma Hayek’s Mexican-American ass, we were also salivating all over it, begging her for the minimal and most mundane of acknowledgment. We are here, we matter, recognize us please, breathe our air please, share our sewage system we beg you.

1 – We Gave Her A Freaking Citizenship

Salma Hayek Lebanese citizenship

Salma Hayek’s grandfather was Lebanese. Sure, she has “legal” right to get the citizenship, but so do a whole lot of other people of Lebanese origins who have been blessed by the Almighty Lord to have the semen-given part of their genome be Lebanese. Salma Hayek lands in the country and not only do we run to give her a citizenship, I bet we also gave her a very nice “golden” civil registry number. I’m also sure her national ID card number was golden. Her passport number? Platinum, I bet!

Never mind that it actually takes presidential decrees to nationalize. Never mind that the country doesn’t really have a path of citizenship to begin with. Never mind that there are hundreds of people of Lebanese-origins who have been trying to get our very precious citizenship for years to no avail. Never mind that our country won’t even let Salma Hayek pass her citizenship to her daughter, like the so many Lebanese mothers who have been struggling for years and whose children are more Lebanese than Hayek.

Certainly, Salma Hayek should get our citizenship. Because being Mexican, and American and being married to a French guy are definitely not enough. Lebanon trumps them all.

2 – We Hosted Her On Kalam Ennas:

Kalam Ennas Marcel Ghanem

I usually associate Kalam Ennas’ special episodes with matters of national crisis that require the country to halt all programming in order to accommodate the necessary political diarrhea to be spewed. Not this time.

Salma Hayek was in the country. How could we not host her? How could we not flaunt to the entire world that she was giving Lebanon its very first movie premiere EVER. How could Marcel Ghanem miss the opportunity to boost his interviewing record by interviewing…. just some B-list actress who happened to grace the country with her presence?

What’s your name, Marcel would ask. Salma would answer. He’d sit dumbfounded. She was proud of having Lebanese heritage, as if it was a multiple choice question with more than one option. She forgot her purse at the terminal because she was pre-occupied with the Cedar she was given. They ran after her. She didn’t care, mostly because she has 46342753851371357 other purses, because that Cedar was her whole country.

Jmade, wli. 

3 – Sethrida Geagea Joined Twitter

Sethrida Geagea Twitter Salma Hayek

In order to capitalize on the buzz that was generated by Salma Hayek visiting Bsharre and the subsequent fashion showdown, Sethrida Geagea decided to join twitter. She has tweeted 4 times so far. 3 of those 4 tweets are about Salma Hayek and her visit to Bsharre. Of course, Lebanese media did not see it from this perspective because they were pre-occupied with the fact that Sethrida Geagea was better looking than Salma Hayek.

How is that possible? A Lebanese is better looking than a Hollywood star? How could that be? Is it even remotely possible that Salma Hayek could be human and not the God she was made out to be? What does Samir think about all of this? Next time, on Lebanese Serial.

4 – We Suddenly Cared About Syrian Refugees

It took Salma Hayek visiting the Syrian Refugee camps for those refugees to become news again. Were they important enough during Lebanon’s relatively harsh winter? Nope. Are they important in absolute value? No. But we can’t let Salma Hayek know we don’t care. So for the few days she was here, of course we’d show how much we cared for those refugees… as long as we capture that perfect Kodak Moment in order to show how much we care to the whole wide world.

Don’t you see those poor babies? That huggable little girl? All those miserable people in subpar conditions? Don’t let anyone tell you we’re not helping them… We made sure Salma Hayek visited!

5 – The Prophet Is Now Everyone’s Favorite Book. Ever.

In between all the mania surrounding her visit, I bet Salma Hayek almost forgot why she was here in the first place: to promote her upcoming movie to the country that made it.

Yes, it technically premiered at Cannes last year. Yes, there was also technically a premiere at Doha earlier this year. Yes, the book on which the movie is based was written in the United States and in English. Yes, Salma Hayek probably came here because part of the funding of the movie was via a Lebanese bank.

But goddammit, no. She’s here to show how proud she is of her Lebanese heritage, which is clearly exemplified in The Prophet, a book about how the wonderful stringing of words together can be and how easy it is to repeat them at funerals, weddings, graduations and other miscellaneous occasions.

Subsequently, The Prophet has now become Lebanon’s official favorite book, even possibly beating The Bible and the Quran. Don’t let priests and sheikhs know, though. “Your children are not your children” has been quoted so many times I’m beginning to search for children that may not be mine.

I bet the movie will be the movie of the year too!

Bonus: Elissa Was Fangirling

A picture is worth several hundred words. How about a bunch?

Elissa’s New Music Video Copies a Dalida Movie?

A little more than 12 hours after the release of the music video for her song “Te3ebt Mennak,” the source material behind Elissa’s new music video has been revealed.

The director is Salim el Turk, the man who gave Elissa her previous music video around which similar accusations were made.

The copying is obviously not Elissa’s fault. No one expects her to be familiar with such things. Her director, on the other hand, seems to like getting “inspired” quite often. Or is it the Samsung effect?

Of course, he also gave the world “My Last Valentine in Beirut.” Enough said? That movie is horrible.

This is Elissa’s new music video of a song that I actually like for a change:

And this is the scene that was copied almost to the frame, from an Italian miniseries that aired in 2005 called Dalida:

I think we can safely say this is more than close ideas.

Elissa’s New Album: As3ad Wa7da – Review

Remember when I told you Lebanese artists have absolutely no system for releasing albums and that Elissa actually setting a release date for her album was a good thing?

Well, I was wrong. Instead of releasing the album on June 25th, as planned, Elissa’s new album As3ad Wa7da (The Happiest One) was just released, a full week early. I believe it’s due to an early leak which is no excuse for a rush release. I doubt though that her fans are displeased.

The reason I’m reviewing this album, with it not being English music, is that I like Elissa. She is one of my favorite contemporary Lebanese singers, regardless of what some people might say about her vocal abilities. What impresses me the most about her is the fact that she is vocal about her beliefs, be it her religion or political views, in a region where that is frowned upon. I also liked the fact that her albums would usually be balanced between Egyptian and Lebanese songs, not exactly giving one dialect an upper hand over the other.

That last point changed with her newest release. The album holds 14 songs, 2 of which are covers of songs by the late Salwa el Atrib and Warda. Out of the remaining 12 songs, which constitute the new material, 3 are Lebanese songs and the rest is Egyptian. I don’t want to sound xenophobic but I would expect a little more balance from an artist who hails Lebanese nationalism as her politics of choice.

But I digress.

The quality of Elissa’s new album is average compared to her previous releases. After different album covers surfaced, the official one being the one at the top of this post, I was skeptical at what might come out of this. But it was a more or less an enjoyable listen.

Opening with the Egyptian dialect-song “Fi Ouyonak” (In Your Eyes), she caters to the people who await such a style from her: the slow, mellow romantic songs. And then as the album moves through songs, its level doesn’t die down. It remains more or less consistent, giving songs here and there that would please different parts of Elissa’s core fanbase which has been awaiting her album for more than two years now.

Te3ebt Minnak, my favorite song on the album, comes as the fifth track on the album and is as song about a relationship gone sour where the protagonist in Elissa’s song is tired from the person she’s singing to. “I wait for one sweet word from you and when I hear it, I forgot I lived less than an ordinary life with you”

Corny, perhaps. But effective. Of course, that’s my loose translation of one of the song’s lyrics.

Other interesting songs on the album are the Lebanese: Kerehtak Ana and Eghmerni. The former comes around the middle of the album while the latter follows it a song later. Kerehtak Ana is obviously about the end of the relationship while Eghmerni is the total opposite, boasting some interesting poetic nuances from writer Siham el Sha3sha3. However, both of them could have been so much better – they both needed an extra revision to bring them to their full potential, be it musically or production-wise.

Elissa’s take on Salwa el Atrib’s  “Alouli el Eid” is interesting but I’m a fan of the song to begin with while her cover of Warda’s “Lola el Malama” shows a side of her vocals that most people would have doubted otherwise. Lola el Malama is also better-delivered from Elissa than Alouli el Eid.

As3ad Wa7da could have used the touch of Marwan Khoury who delivered some of Elissa’s best songs (Betmoun comes to mind), but overall it will satisfy those who like her. However, once the initial hype sets down, one wonders is this really the best Elissa can come up with after a two year and a half wait?

Judging by her more superior previous albums, As3ad Wa7da is an album that made Elissa transiently happy and will make her fans also happy that their favorite singer delivered a new album for them to listen to. But as a casual fan, As3ad Wa7da does almost nothing for me, apart from the few songs on there that I consider as interesting. In fact, I think it lacks anything that would jump at you like her previous albums did (the previous one had Aa Bali Habibi, the one before had Betmoun). Some songs on there are also entirely dispensable that I’ve found myself completely losing interesting halfway through them.

Overall, As3ad Wa7da has the exact formula that an Elissa album would have, except the songs are not as striking: the romantic slow songs, the upbeat dancey songs and the midtempos with trance verses interspersed in them.

6/10

Listen to: Te3ebt Minnak, Kerehtak Ana, As3ad Wa7da.

Elissa’s New Song: As3ad Wa7da

As it is with Lebanese artists, you’d have no idea they are releasing an album until the album actually drops. There’s no such thing as releasing a single ahead of an album launch in order to promote it or setting a release date way in advance.

But I like Elissa. I appreciate her candidness when it comes to many issues. Yes, her political views being one of those issues she’s honest about.

Elissa’s album, titled As3ad Wa7da, will be released on June 25th. I’ll attempt reviewing it then but no promises for that. The title song off the album was released today. Bakkir, eih?

Here it is:

A few comments.

1) When will radios learn that inserting those annoying voice overs only ruin a song for the listener? What are they trying to achieve with their annoying “Rotana exclusive” balderdash thrown every 30 seconds?

2) When will the current top female Lebanese singers actually release a Lebanese song as their first single off any album?

3) Based on the previews of the album that I’ve listened to, there are far better songs than this one. I don’t think this one is bad – just very similar to what Elissa has released before: Start off normally then insert a trance-ish beat out of nowhere, revert to normality and repeat. But I like it nonetheless.

4) I’m not getting the idea behind the album pictures that were released so far. Is she trying to go all “virgin Mary-ish” with this one? It reminds me of Harissa for some reason.

Also, what’s the point behind the following one?

Yes, that expression on your face was the same as mine when my brother emailed me this picture. Horrible covers aside, what do you think of the song?

 

Update: the official cover of the album: