Nelly Can’t Have a Female Crowd in Saudi Arabia

Nelly will be holding a concert along side Cheb Khaled next month in Jeddah (source: Instagram - @derrtymo)

Nelly will be holding a concert along side Cheb Khaled next month in Jeddah (source: Instagram – @derrtymo)

Written by Zaid Bawab

Nelly, the American rapper will be holding a concert along side Raï singer Cheb Khaled next month in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The event is to take place on December the fourteenth and is considered to be a “big deal” since music concerts were mostly not allowed in the country.  

But with an allocated budget of two point seven billion dollars, thirty two years old Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aims to bring life again to such activities and reform the country’s entertainment sector.

Since the announcement of the event on social media, it has been received positively. Yet, the concert could also alarm the downside of the kingdom’s entertainment sector. The tickets are relatively high in price -one hundred and twenty dollars each- and can only be acquired my males.

The Controversy did not stop here as some female followers of the artist condemned the male only concert policy calling it “stupid” at times. Other commentators were concerned about the “Hot in Here” rapper’s accusations of sexual assault and possession of marijuana.

It is not the first time that a major American act performs in Saudi Arabia. A few months ago, Troby Keith performed alongside the local superstar Rabeh Saqer at Riyadh. The male only policy was no different then and strange enough the event took place in the same week that Donald Trump was in the Saudi Kingdom. 

The country singer was not allowed to sing about Alcohol, sex or drugs, which could have been a tough task for him with a repertoire that revolves around those themes and he ended up with a set-list that barely has known songs.

The “Dilemma” singer could be facing an actual dilemma choosing songs for his concert in the Arab country where women are mostly fully covered, alcohol is not allowed and smuggling drugs is a death crime since many of his major hits do take sex, alcohol or drugs as their main topic. Take for example the lyrics of “Hot in Here”  
“It’s gettin hot in herre (so hot), so take off all your clothes
I am – gettin so hot, I wanna take my clothes off” 

This could be the first time that the rapper performs in a “limiting” Middle East venue other than one charity concert her performed in two years ago in Erbil, Iraq and neither him nor his team commented on his planned Saudi Arabia concert.

A Saudi Designer Created Beautiful Hijabs (for Nike!) for Dubai Fashion Forward

Some beautiful designs. (Instagram / mashael.official)

Some beautiful designs. (Instagram / mashael.official)

It won’t officially hit the shelves until next year, but the UAE just got its first look at Nike’s upcoming activewear hijab at Dubai’s Fashion Forward.

Season 10 of the region’s it even for everything fashion saw the Pro Hijab make its international debut as part of Mashael Al Rajhi’s runway show.

Via Dubai Fashion Forward

The Saudi Arabian designer is known for fusing streetwear with high-end fashion. It was also reported that he paired the lightweight and competition-worthy hijab with rich, free-flowing fabrics with royal blue and silver crepe-like trims, as well as Nike Air Force 1 sneakers.

WE SAID THIS: The hijab was created in consultation with and tested by athletes — including UAE-based weightlifter Amna Al Haddad, and Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari.

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Saudi Arabia’s Attempts at Fostering Entertainment

Saudi Arabian men hit the tabla. (Aisyaqilumaranas /

Saudi Arabian men hit the tabla. (Aisyaqilumaranas /

A press conference was held at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce on Monday to discuss details of the tourism and entertainment forum in Jeddah that begin on Oct. 9.

The press meeting was attended by Prince Abdullah bin Saud, chairman of the Tourism and Leisure Committee and the chairman of the forum; the secretary-general of the chamber, Hassan bin Ibrahim Dahlan; the director general of the General Authority of Tourism in the Makkah region,Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Amari; and representatives of the General Authority for Entertainment in the Makkah region.

The Jeddah Tourism and Entertainment Forum, sponsored by King Salman, and Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, will be held over the course of three days at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel, and will be attended by more than 30 experts and specialists. Eight scientific sessions and a number of workshops will be held to address the most important challenges facing investors in the tourism and entertainment sector in the Jeddah area.

Prince Abdullah said during the conference that the tourism sector will lead all other sectors contributing to national income in the coming years.

The forum will be held under the auspices of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the General Entertainment Authority, Jeddah University and King Abdul Aziz University.

The tourism and entertainment forum, which is being held for the first time in Jeddah, will focus on the diversity of the Saudi tourism product from marine and desert tourism, adventure, fishing, exhibitions and conferences.

The conference focused on the city of Jeddah, and how special it is compared to other Saudi Arabian cities because it occupies a coastal area.

With a sea coast extending about 1,800 km on the Red Sea, the Jeddah Chamber can play a key role in increasing the number of tourism activities that will help diversify the tourism product and enhance the status of the Jeddah city

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Omari, director general of the General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage in the Makkah Region, said that “the tourism and entertainment sector is capable of providing more than 1 million jobs according to official statistics.”

Official figures confirm that 300,000 jobs will be provided directly in the tourism sector, and 800,000 jobs in support of tourism and entertainment, he added

“The opening of King Abdul Aziz International Airport in the middle of 2018 will help increase tourism traffic to the city of Jeddah dubbed the ‘Bride of the Red Sea,’” Dahlan said.

The “Tourism after Umrah” program will allow people of more than 65 countries to recognize the additional tourism components in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dahlan added.

“We would also like to attract the attention of those who are interested in investing in the flourishing tourism sector in the Kingdom,” Prince Abdullah bin Saud concluded.

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List: 5 Awesome Arabic Shows to Binge-Watch this Eid (For Free!)


From “Sunset Oasis.” (El Adl Group)

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Well, it’s the second day of Eid—and it’s finally the afternoon. The visits are done. The goat is eaten. And if you have a job, you’re poor as all hell because you’re on the wrong of the eidiyeh.

So what’s there to do apart from catch some awesome stuff on TV?

Here’re some five great shows you can watch over the rest of your weekend. They’re all online, too.

So kick back, take a swig of tea, and settle in with:

Above: Don’t Extinguish the Sun. (CBC Drama)

The story of a family reeling from the death of a father, Don’t Extinguish the Sun is (very) loosely based on the novel by Ihsan Abdel Quddous. It won hearts, minds, and even acclaim for being the only godforsaken show this Ramadan with a stable couple—a love story between two men, of all things. How lovely.

Where you can watch it: MBC Shahid, which does cost money, but also YouTube.

Above: Qomrah 2. (ARAM TV)

The original Qomrah, from Khawater creator Ahmad Shuqairi, requested footage from everyday filmmakers based around topics: marriage, Islam, terrorism. The result, which cut different footage from different films to create thematic cohesion, was mixed, so for this year they went with scripts from amateurs filmed by professional filmmakers. The result is a much stronger second season.

Where you can watch it: It’s all for free on YouTube.

Above: Sunset Oasis. (El Adl Group)

Based off of Bahaa Taher’s beautiful, International Prize for Arabic Fiction-winning novel, Sunset Oasis is about a punished Egyptian soldier sent out with his wife to the middle of nowhere as punishment for his involvement in an uprising against British imperials. The job means almost certain death. Culture and civilization clash in this fantastic adaptation of the novel.

Where you can watch it: YouTube has you covered.

Above: To the Highest Bidder. (El Adl Group)

Starring the indomitable Nelly Karim, To the Highest Bidder is the story of a ballerina who is broken and humiliated, and the burning passion she kindles in pursuit of revenge against her husband. The show struck a chord with Arabic women, who identified with the misogyny it depicted.

Where you can watch it: YouTube, once again, comes to the rescue.

Above: Kafr Delhab. (ON Ent)

In ancient Arabia, a village of sorcerers fights for its survival when one of its members, a young girl, becomes possessed by a djinni. But the djinni decides to fight back, plunging the village into chaos. The show won acclaim and earned high ratings—not only because it was decidedly different, but because it did different well.

Where you can watch it: On YouTube. Isn’t it just the best?

Eid Mubarak, everyone.

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Shop ’til You Drop: The Amman International Summer Festival for Shopping is Here!

It's time for the Amman International Summer Festival! ( /

It’s time for the Amman International Summer Festival! ( /

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The Amman International Summer Festival for Shopping 2017 will kick off Thursday with the participation of around 100 local, Arab and foreign companies.

The 10-day festival, which will be opened daily from 4pm until 12 midnight at the Expo Land near Airport road, will host local companies as well as other companies from Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

The festival, which is organized by the International Promoters Company (IPCO), will include stalls displaying food, furniture, clothing, accessories, plastic and chemical commodities, antiques and gifts.

The festival, sponsored by the Islamic International Arab Bank and Al Emlaq Industrial Group (GIG), is one of the most important events organized in the Kingdom due to its economic, commercial and promotional importance.

IPCO General Manager Raed Abu Saadeh said that the entry to the festival will be free of charge, adding that the event will provide direct sales service for visitors, distribute gifts and hold competitions in addition to games for children.

Published by the Petra News Agency.

Woman from Saudi Arabia Wins Best Director at Madrid International Film Festival

A frame from

A frame from “Wake Me Up.”

Saudi director Reem Al-Bayat won an award for her film Wake Me Up in the Best Director of a Short Foreign Language Film category at the Madrid International Film Festival.

The film revolves around a woman, Salam, who is experiencing a mid-life crisis. As she tries to revive her artistic hobby, she feels judged by society, and a sense of guilt.

Ibrahim Al-Hasawi, Samar Al-Bayat and Ahd Kamel also appear in Wake Me Up.

The film premiered last year at the Dubai International Film Festival as part of its Muhr Gulf Short category, which features compelling films that reflect life in the Gulf. The program aims to foster the growth of regional talent and place Arab cinema in the international spotlight.

Wake Me Up was supported by Enjaaz, the Dubai Film Market’s program that provides post-production financial support to Arab filmmakers.

Arabian Elegance: The Most Stunning Outfits of Summer 2017

Ola Al Fares is an inspiration for girls worldwide, for her academic and journalistic success as well as her style. (Facebook: علا الفارس Ola Alfares)

Ola Al Fares is an inspiration for girls worldwide, for her academic and journalistic success as well as her style. (Facebook: علا الفارس Ola Alfares)

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What better time of year to show off your wardrobe than summer, and what better a place to step out in style than the Middle East.

We know that keeping up with the latest trends is tough, so in order to make your summer shopping a little bit easier, we have compiled a list of our favorite summer outfits to give you some inspiration! Whether it is small-time fashion blogger Bana Abujaber (@sidenotebanaa), or the always-elegant Queen Rania (@queenrania) herself, let these ladies of the Middle East show you how it’s done!

Here is our summer 2017 collection:


Queen Rania (@queenrania) stepped out in this gorgeous dress while continuing her advocacy work promoting education. 



Ola Al Fares (@olaalfares) could not be more stunning even if she tried. A floral dress like this is a summer must-have!



Lebanese-Romanian fashion icon Farah Abdel Aziz (@fafiabdelaziz) is fabulous in this polka dot beach kaftan.



Nancy Ajram (@nancyajram) in a black dress shows us how to win the fashion game on a summer night.



Say hello to Bana Abujaber (@sidenotebana), showing off her eye for style in Amman.



Be bold this summer, like Haifa Wehbe (@haifawehbe) in this eye-catching striped dress.



Saudi girls know what’s up – don’t forget to follow @theabduls for some serious inspiration.