Saudi Arabia plans first DJ party amid cultural shake-up

SOURCE:Arabian Business

20 Mar 2018

DJ Armin Van Buuren is being flown in for King Abdullah Economic City event on June 17

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to fly in world famous DJ Armin Van Buuren for the Gulf kingdom’s first DJ party.

The event will be held in King Abdullah Economic City on June 17 and is the latest event to be announced as Saudi Arabia plans to spend billions on building new venues and bringing in Western acts in a total overhaul of its entertainment sector.

Dutch national Van Buuren has been ranked the number one DJ by DJ Mag a record five times and in the United States, he holds the record for most entries (21) on the Billboard Dance and Electronic Albums chart.

Supported by Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, the event is being organised by Brackets.

It follows a series of events in recent months including concerts, a Comic-Con festival and a mixed-gender national day celebration that saw people dancing in the streets to thumping electronic music for the first time.

Authorities have also announced plans to lift a decades-old ban on cinemas this year, with some 300 expected to open by 2030.

The newfound openness, which includes plans to allow women to drive from June this year, has been hailed by some as a crucial liberalisation of Saudi society.

Critics have pointed to continued restrictions however, especially on women who remain under a strict “guardianship” system that gives male relatives significant control over their lives.

The reforms are part of Prince Mohammed’s ambitious “Vision 2030” programme, which seeks to diversify the Saudi economy as it reels from a slump in energy prices, with the entertainment sector seen as a key potential source of growth.

Saudis splurge billions annually on movies and visits to amusement parks in the neighbouring tourist hubs of Dubai and Bahrain, which is accessible by a land causeway.


Young women reflect on year’s changes

SOURCE: Saudi Gazette

Time: March 07, 2018

Recent reforms and lifting of barriers have challenged social norms in Saudi Arabia at a rapid pace that have caused society to be split between two camps, one deeming them too fast and another — often the youth — to find it to be “just the right pace”.

Many Saudi women wonder how daily life has transformed in their country socially and economically since the past. Most have wondered throughout their lives when they would witness the day women will be able to drive.

Today’s generation live in a different Saudi Arabia than their parents’ age and believe the possibilities are now more than the impossibilities.

“There’s been an apparent focus on women this year,” says Aljohara Al-Ghamdi, an undergraduate student at Effat University, commenting on the recent liberation occurring in the Kingdom, such as new jobs for women, allowing for family entertainment and promoting more female leaders. “Indeed, it is fast”, she admits, “but it’s in our benefit”.

When asked about the career opportunities women can pursue, she, like many of her friends, sees unlimited possibilities now that new avenues of work have opened for women. “If she can handle the pressure of any job she wants, she can do it,” she said.

Most young women would agree change is “positive” and that it’s time to catch up with the rest of the world, especially in breaking the glass ceiling in careers and leadership posts.

“Who new we would see female pilots, policewomen, and all these new jobs opening up today?” said 21-year-old Fatima Al-Twerki. “The recent changes, such as allowing women to drive and work alongside with men in organizations make women’s lives so much easier.”

“Everybody should support these reforms,” she further said. “It’s a great and yet radical change that took the world by storm. Once driving was allowed, it triggered a series of changes.”

However, society could be not as fast to adapt to the many changes that have shook the country throughout one year’s time. As with anything new, resistance is bound to happen in the beginning.

“It’s always challenging in the beginning,” said Fatima, who is not sure yet whether her father will allow her to drive in June. “There’s still peer pressure on men to prevent their family members to enjoy full freedoms.”

Aljohara commented, “What’s still holding us back are old-fashioned traditions and mentalities. Lots of men in our society are still attached to them.”

23-year-old Hanouf Al-Aamri said the many changes send a shockwave to society. “I think it’s good that the reforms happened all at once. Even if we still don’t see mentalities changing, eventually it will appear because when there’s a law, it will lead to changes on the ground.”

She added, “You see some guys mocking us that we can now ‘do anything we want’. With time, the same people joking about it will be the ones supporting their sisters and wives just like with education and other things that were first introduced in the past.”

Her younger sister, Shada, says she’d like to see women “more independent”. “Women should be able to be independent whether they are married or not. Single moms, for example, still don’t have it easy especially those who work,” she said.

22-year-old Raghad Alamri, who is married, believes “it matters a great deal whether your father or husband you’re living with is supportive and open-minded. Men in the family play a role in a woman’s independence.”

Commenting on recent steps promoting women empowerment, she said, “You can easily notice that women in public are generally braver and more confident.

It’s positive for us as long as this liberation will still preserve our values as an Islamic country in the future.”


Meet Generation M: the young, affluent Muslims changing the world

Time: September 3, 2016

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case they’re wrong. In the foreground is a young woman with fuchsia lipstick, Jackie O-style sunglasses and a colourful headscarf. Behind her is a young man, with a hip, trimmed beard, headphones jammed in his ears and one hand casually resting in his pocket.

They are part of Generation M, and the eponymous book, subtitled Young Muslims Changing the World, is the first detailed portrait of this influential constituency of the world’s fastest growing religion. According to author Shelina Janmohamed, they are proud of their faith, enthusiastic consumers, dynamic, engaged, creative and demanding. And the change they will bring about won’t depend on the benevolence of others: instead, the Muslim pound, like the pink pound before it, will force soft cultural change by means of hard economics.

To demonstrate all that, the cover image was crucial. “When you’re talking about Muslims in particular, but actually people of religion in general, the images you get are really quite depressing,” she says over coffee and baklava in her garden in the outer suburbs of London. “But I think this really captures it. It’s bold, it’s vibrant, the woman’s got so much attitude. They are exactly the kind of people I’m writing about.”

Janmohamed recalls going into a bookshop some years ago. “They had this display of books about Muslims, and it was all misery memoirs of women in veils with cast-down eyes who’d been kidnapped and sold, and people riding on camels in faraway deserts,” she says.

“But young Muslims are crying out for a voice to say this is not what we’re like, we do ordinary things like everyone else, and we have interesting things to say – particularly when the conversation is about Muslims.” There are precious few mainstream publications about the experience of being a young Muslim, beyond politics and theology, she says.

Generation M are the Muslim millennials, the global generation born in the past 30 years, but with a twist. Unlike their Christian counterparts in the US and western Europe, most of whom are turning their backs on organised religion, Generation M has “one over-riding characteristic, which is that they believe that being faithful and living a modern life go hand in hand, and there is absolutely no contradiction between the two,” says Janmohamed.

In the book, she writes: “Their faith affects everything, and they want the world to know it. This is what sets them apart from their non-Muslim peers. It’s the single factor that will shape them and a world that they are determined should cater to their needs … They are a tech-savvy, self-empowered, youthful group who believe that their identity encompasses both faith and modernity.”

The demographics depict an extraordinary trajectory. In 2010, there were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, a figure forecast to grow by 73% in the next four decades – more than double the general rate of growth. By 2050, according to the Pew Research Center, there will be 2.8 billion Muslims globally, more than a quarter of the world’s population.

Working in Bahrain ‘opened my eyes to the global experience of being Muslim,’ says Janmohamed.
 Working in Bahrain ‘opened my eyes to the global experience of being Muslim,’ says Janmohamed. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

Of the 11 countries expected to join the world’s largest economies this century, six have overwhelmingly Muslim populations and two have big Muslim minorities. By 2050, India will have the largest Muslim population in the world, at an estimated 311 million, although they will still be a minority among the country’s vast numbers. Muslim minorities in Britain, Europe and North America are young, affluent and growing. One-third of all Muslims are under the age of 15, and two-thirds under 30.

The Muslim middle class is expected to triple to 900 million by 2030, driving consumption as well as social and political change. Their spending power is enormous: the most recent State of the Global Islamic Economy Report forecasts the halal food and lifestyle industry to be worth $2.6tn by the end of this decade, and Islamic finance is on a similar trajectory. Muslim travel could be worth $233bn. In 2014, Muslim fashion was estimated to be worth $230bn, and $54bn was spent on Muslim cosmetics.

“Through their sheer numbers, their growing middle-class stature, the shift of economic and political power towards the Middle East and Asia, home to most of the world’s Muslims, through the Muslim minorities that act as influential and well-connected leaders, by the inspirational force of their faith and their refusal to accept the status quo, Generation M are determined to make change. And what a change it’s going to be,” writes Janmohamed.

She charts the beginnings of this change. The demand for halal (permitted) products has been the impetus for growth in a range of businesses, such as food, fashion, cosmetics and travel. Among dozens of entrepreneurs cited in the book are the Radwan family, who started an organic halal farm in Oxfordshire; the producers of non-alcoholic beer – a sector that grew 80% in the five years to 2012, according to the Economist; Shazia Saleem, who launched ieat, a range of halal ready-meals including shepherd’s pie and lasagne, which are now sold at Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco; and “a whole new Muslim fashion industry”, incorporating online retailers, video bloggers, catwalk shows and haute couture.

But Generation M, according to the book, wants to go beyond halal to tayyab, which roughly translates as “ethical and wholesome”. They want the entire supply chain of production and consumption to have integrity. “Resources must be properly respected, workers in primary industries must not be exploited. Sustainability and renewability are part of the Islamic idea of ‘stewardship of the Earth’, which Generation M eco-Muslims … are championing.”

Lutfi Radwan with his family on his organic halal farm near Oxford.
 Lutfi Radwan with his family on his organic halal farm near Oxford. Photograph: Sam Frost for the Guardian

According to Janmohamed, this Muslim millennial generation has been shaped by two monumental factors. One is the events of the past 15 years, since 9/11, and the global response to Islamic extremism and terrorism; the other is the internet, described in the book as “the glue that binds [Generation M] together and creates the critical mass that turns them into a globally influential force”.

The internet has also, she tells me, “given space for [traditionally] marginalised voices within the community – younger Muslims and women – to express their views”.

Among those views are frustration and resentment at being defined by their hijabs or being told they are oppressed by their faith. Janmohamed quotes Azra, 20: “I’m a young Muslim woman. I am not oppressed by my hijab, I’m liberated by it. If you don’t understand that, that’s completely fine, you don’t need to … The emotion you’re seeing in my eyes is not a plea to ‘help me’ but one for you to take your self-righteous bullshit and shove it up your arse.”

Rather than being downtrodden and subjugated, Muslim women are experiencing increasing empowerment in education, employment, public life, marriage and childbearing, says Janmohamed. “If we were to pick a face that captures the global pace of change, it would most likely be a Muslim woman – she is part of the largest population, in nations where change is happening fastest, and in the segment where change is most potent. In short, Muslim women are where it’s happening.”

Although beyond the cusp of Generation M at 42, Janmohamed in many ways embodies the young Muslim woman she describes.

She was born in London to immigrant parents who arrived in the UK with a suitcase and £75 in cash, and she went to a school at which there were few non-white faces. “Religion was important in our family – I remember my parents praying and fasting, going to the mosque was extremely regular; the Muslim community they were part of was the foundation of the family’s social life. But at school, I spent my time hiding my hennaed hands, not telling people I was eating curry at home, being very shy about being Muslim.”

Only when she went to Oxford did she start to wear a headscarf. “I found university a liberating experience. I got to explore who I was, and part of that was my Muslim identity, which had been very suppressed at school.”

After university, she joined a graduate trainee scheme in marketing, and later spent a year working in Bahrain, which “opened my eyes to the global experience of being Muslim”. She returned to the UK shortly before 9/11, and following the London bombings in July 2005, began writing a blog “talking about what it’s like to be British and Muslim and a woman. It felt like that conversation, about someone who straddles different heritages and feels comfortable in all of them, just wasn’t being heard.”

A catwalk show at the Saverah expo in London this year – a fashion, lifestyle and networking event billed as Muslim women’s ‘ultimate day out’.
 A catwalk show at the Saverah expo in London this year – a fashion, lifestyle and networking event billed as Muslim women’s ‘ultimate day out’. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

The blog led to a book, Love in a Headscarf, published in 2009, about her 10-year quest for love via the route of a traditional arranged marriage. Janmohamed was headhunted to help launch Ogilvy Noor, a division of advertising and marketing agency Ogilvy & Mather, which advises brands on engaging with Muslim consumers.

Ogilvy hired her when she was eight months pregnant with her first child, and Generation M was largely written during her second pregnancy and since the birth of her younger daughter 18 months ago. In the book’s dedication, Janmohamed writes: “To my girls. Because you can do anything. Take it from Mummy.”

Generation M, she says, has high aspirations. “They want to be astronauts, you’ve got fencers at the Olympics and ice skaters going to the Winter Olympicsfemale air crew for Brunei airways – these are young people who are really battling the fact that they have aspirations that should be unfettered versus a reality that is trying to confine them to a particular box.”

But, she acknowledges, not all young Muslims are Generation M. Inclusion does not depend on disposable income or level of education, but sharing the characteristics of faith and modernity. “Their counterparts might be called the Traditionalists … more socially conservative, believing in maintaining harmony, more deference to authority and, as their name suggests, trying to hold firmly on to what they see as the good elements of family, community and tradition,” she writes.

And a few young Muslims, of course, become radicalised, hijacking Islam for violent extremism and hatred, the polar opposite of Generation M.

I ask her who the book is aimed at. One of her goals was to offer a platform for Generation M, she replies, “for people to have their voices heard”. “So there’s a recognition of their own identity, a consolidation of who they are, how they talk to one another.”

Then, she adds: “There’s a conversation for the wider Muslim community to have, to understand some of the dynamics that are happening within it, some of the challenges young Muslims are facing and how they can be resolved.”

But the book is also – and perhaps mainly – for a wider audience. “People who work in business, politics, culture, development. The UK [Muslim] population is just shy of 3 million, the European population is 50 million and growing, there’s a worldwide population of 1.6bn. I think anyone who’s quite serious about understanding what’s happening around the world has something to gain.”

And the marketing executive in Janmohamed wants global brands and multinational corporations to wake up to the power of the Muslim pound, dollar, rupee, rupiah or euro. “Brands have been a little bit over-cautious,” she says, pointing out that business is not immune to prevailing tropes and stereotypes. “It seems to be a really radical idea that Muslims actually buy stuff. Muslims are saying: ‘Hello, we’ve got lots of money to spend, we’re young, we’re cool, please can you deal with us in the same way you deal with everyone else?’”

 This article was first published The Guardian

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The Arab women making themselves heard online

SOURCE: Arabian Business

Time: March 18, 2016


Four years ago, Jeddah-based AlJuhara Sajer launched a channel on YouTube called Jay’s Cherry. She did not expect a huge following, but wanted to offer women practical advice that she felt was hard to come by in her part of Saudi Arabia. A budding entrepreneur, she also wanted to build a platform through which she could one day launch a business.

Over the next three years, 25-year-old Sajer produced about 100 videos — a mix of product reviews, recipes and beauty tips — and built up a following of more than 200,000 subscribers. By 2015, the videos on her channel, now called JaySajer, had had 30 million views.

Yet nobody knew who she was. Like all women in conservative Saudi Arabia, Sajer faced restrictions on her words and actions and opted to keep her identity secret until she had established her channel and garnered a loyal following.

Her father persuaded her to reveal her identity last year. Sajer announced the planned date of her appearance on the channel and started a countdown to create a buzz.

Since then her popularity has soared — at the time of writing she had more than 335,000 subscribers. She says in an email exchange with Arabian Business: “At the beginning, it was a mystery road. I didn’t want to involve myself when I didn’t know how it would work out.

“Three years ago, there were hardly any girls on YouTube in the Middle East. I wanted to enjoy my privacy for as long as possible, and for people to focus on what I had to say rather than just think, ‘Oh, a Saudi girl turned rebel’.

“I did get negative feedback from men, telling me to quit YouTube because it’s not the place for girls and I should focus on being a good housewife.

“I showed my father some of these comments and he explained to me how these men think sometimes and how it’s weird for them to hear a Saudi girl on YouTube.

“I told him how sad this was and he said: ‘If you want to change this sad thinking, keep on doing what you do and someday they will accept it’.”

Jay’s Cherry is now one of the four most-watched YouTube channels produced by women in Saudi Arabia, and Sajer’s videos are increasingly wide-ranging in topic. They include clips from before and after her first live TV interview since revealing her identity, a round-up of her favourite products, a spontaneous video filmed at 2am telling her computer “not to give up”, and even videos featuring her father.

She also created a series entitled ‘Kong enti’, which means ‘Be Yourself’, after receiving comments from people telling her how to talk and trying to change the way she was. “My father saw the comments, came to me and told me to be myself and never listen to them.”

Sajer is one of a growing number of Arab women who are using YouTube to express themselves — whether that is by sharing beauty tips, reporting on their travels or creating comedy and other entertainment that highlights issues in their societies.

YouTube can also help launch women’s careers in a region where the workforce remains dominated by men. Creators are increasingly benefitting from advertising revenue as the region’s top advertisers seek to use high-profile online personalities to push products — though none of the women Arabian Business spoke to for this article would reveal figures.

Saudi Arabia has been cited as having the highest YouTube penetration rate in the world and 41 percent of Saudi females watch online videos every day, according to Analysys Mason’s Connected Consumer Survey 2015. There also has been a 200 percent increase in the number of subscribers on the top four Saudi female-led channels (JaySajer, Miva Flowers, es2almujarib and AnaWHeya) in the past two years, claims YouTube.

However, the trend is region-wide. YouTube ‘watch time’ across MENA grew by 60 percent between 2014 and 2015, the company says, and YouTube watch time via mobile devices grew by 90 percent over the same period. Within that, watch time of female content grew by 50 percent year-on-year.

Women under 25 in the UAE and Saudi Arabia watch online videos more frequently than they check their emails, according to Google’s Consumer Barometer — specifically, the watch time of beauty and fashion channels grew by 50 percent year-on-year in 2015. And Arabic language content is in high demand, says YouTube, reporting that the number of hours of uploaded Arabic content grew by 40 percent year-on-year in 2015.

The surge in interest has not happened overnight. YouTube, which was acquired by Google for $1.6bn in 2007, has been working to generate more Arab female-produced content on the platform, claiming viewers demand it, advertisers are hungry for it and more women are inspired to become creators as a result.

Diana Baddar, head of YouTube partnerships at Google MENA, says: “It was a personal mandate of mine to increase the number of female YouTube creators because there wasn’t enough.

“We looked at Europe, North America and Asia and saw these rising superstars — California’s Bethany Mota, beauty ‘guru’ Michelle Phan, all these names that booked deals, had their own product lines, did endorsements, whereas here in the Middle East, perhaps due to our more conservative culture, you do not find so many girls on the platform.”

Baddar began working with a number of emerging female creators in the region, showing them how to generate a following and encouraging them to create more. “A lot of the people we spoke to thought YouTube was some sort of abyss and nobody cared about what they were doing. When they got the phone call from us, they felt this was their ‘OMG’ moment — they’d been spotted!

“They all had the same reasons [for creating YouTube content] — that it was something fun for them to do and they wanted to share their experiences with other girls.”

She says creators find YouTube an attractive medium because it gives them the freedom to tell their story how they wish, without the restrictions of traditional broadcast media. YouTube also allows them to be more targeted, “to drill right down to very specific aspects of the community they are living in”, in a way that pan-regional television does not.

“YouTube has become the search engine of video,” says Baddar. “It’s so diverse, there’s something for everyone.” The quality of content distinguishes YouTube from other social media, she adds, as arguably a greater effort is made to produce, edit, annotate and upload.

AlJuhara says: “For me, the appeal is the freedom and unlimited creative ways in which you can express yourself and your ideas. A girl can film a video talking about what she likes and thinks, put it out there in YouTube land and find girls from everywhere that relate to her and share her interests, which provides security and makes you feel you’re not alone.”

These girls are not solely focused on beauty, though this is the most popular sector. But Baddar says in the Middle East, YouTubers “do things with a twist. Where else would you find a review channel where you’ve never seen the creator herself? Who takes years of building up the channel and then reveals herself?”

Many creators seek to highlight social and cultural issues using comedy, which Baddar says is groundbreaking in itself as Arabic female comedians are few and far between. One channel in particular may surprise Western viewers who presume discussing male-female relationships is taboo in Saudi Arabia.

Twenty-year-old Darin Al Bayed, a Lebanese, Saudi-raised creator whose channel AnaWHeya (‘Me and Her’) has 414,000 subscribers and 30 million views, acts out conversations between men and women from each sex’s perspective in a lighthearted yet incisive manner. Meanwhile, Hatoun Al Kadi uses her YouTube channel Noun Al Niswa to document scenarios in which she finds herself, for example with her driver, husband and kids, in the form of short satirical sketches.

Many Arab female creators say it is easier for them to express themselves online than offline. Aljuhara admits that her father has received threats from people trying to force her to stop her channel but says that, on the whole, feedback has been positive.

“We have the freedom to express ourselves online and create our own rules far away from the judgemental society.”

“Screaming from the rooftops does not work for every country in the world,” explains Baddar. “These girls are smart and intelligent and know they don’t have to tackle an issue head on; they can draw attention to it through shrewd, witty observations based on their awareness of what is acceptable in the society around them and what is not.”

Baddar’s work reached a peak this year with the appointment of Dubai-based YouTube video creator, Hayla Ghazal, as a United Nations (UN) Ambassador for Gender Equality. The 20-year-old was chosen along with six other female creators from across the world as part of a campaign by YouTube and the UN to encourage women to use digital media as an empowerment tool.

Ghazal tells Arabian Business she started her channel, HaylaTV, two years ago as a way of becoming less shy. She is self-taught, confessing she “literally keyed ‘video editing’ into Google” to produce what is now a portfolio of more than 150 videos.

She aims to present basic life tips to other girls, as well as lightheartedly poke fun at societal issues and trends. In one of her clips, Girls at Weddings, she acts out the role of various women at weddings, from the ecstatic and slightly smug bride, to the jealous older sister and the social climbing mother of the bride’s best friend, pushing her embarrassed daughter to go and dance with all the eligible bachelors.

Ghazal says Arabs in particular would understand the scenarios and laugh because marriage, and marrying well, is culturally very important. Another video shows her mimicking Arab dialects, from Khaleeji, to Syrian, to Egyptian. Ghazal has 663,000 subscribers and some of her videos receive millions of hits each.

“It’s great to see more women recognising how technology can empower them to own their own voice, speak up and share anything they want,” she says.

The rise of female YouTubers is working for advertisers, too, meaning there are commercial opportunities for creators — although Baddar claims generating revenue is a secondary goal for most of the creators with whom she works.

A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, one of the 10 biggest advertisers in MENA, says: “Women YouTube bloggers are fast creating a unique media awareness tool. In MENA, when partnering with leading YouTube beauty bloggers to educate followers on a product, we found that engagement is almost 30-50 times higher than traditional brand-owned platforms. Consumers trust influencers’ voices, and this is having tangible results.”

YouTube is unlikely to overtake television in MENA, says Baddar, “but they can definitely sit side-by-side”. And, while the knotty, contentious issues are likely to be left to the male creators for the foreseeable future (watch Saudi comedian Hisham Fagheeh’s parody of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’, playfully titled ‘No Woman, No Drive’, on his channel Telfaz11), YouTube looks set to play a growing role in the professional and personal development of women in the Middle East.

Meet the MENA creators

1. Hessa Al Awwad, 27, Dammam, creator of Miva Flowers: “My show focuses on nail art and hairstyling and has 44 million views. My goal is to spread happiness and beauty and my motivation is my fans, I call them my ‘flowers’. My most popular video is one of my simplest — a clip about what’s in my handbag. It has had more than 2 million views. YouTube gives [Muslim] women the opportunity to show others our way of living and spread knowledge that hijabs and niqabs are not a wall from the world; we can do anything we like.”

Miva Flowers shares ideas on nail art and hairstyling and has 44 million views on YouTube.

2. Darin Al Bayed, 20, Jeddah (Lebanese), creator of AnaWHeya: “I co-present AnaWHeya [‘Me and Her’], which uses comedy to explore the social dynamics between men and women. I have been approached by a major broadcaster but cannot reveal details at present. I started my channel in 2013 because I love the camera and want to spearhead equality and raise awareness of the issues women face in Saudi Arabia. Here, women have more freedom to speak online than offline.”

Darin Al Bayed, creator of AnaWHeya.

3. Haifa Beseisso, 25, Dubai (Palestinian), creator of Fly With Haifa: “I focus on empowering women to follow their dreams through travel. Ten months ago, I quit my fancy job to follow my own dreams. I launched my channel in 2014 but published just five videos while I was working. Now, I’ve produced 39 and attracted 59,000 subscribers and 2 million views! Many of us dream of adding something significant to the world and I want to do that through YouTube. It makes me upset when I watch a movie or the news and see Arabs getting portrayed in a way most of us are not. In my videos, I do things that show I’m a normal girl: I’m crazy, I jump from mountains, I dive, I go on a zipwire, I’m a human being who loves other human beings and wants to understand different cultures.”