Around 15 years ago, the Arab music world was taken by storm. A petite and multi-talented artist shot to fame with her songs, her choreographed dances, and her now iconic curly hair. The Lebanese singer and dancer, Myriam Fares, has been at the centre of Arab pop for a long time now, to the point that Arab media have labelled her the Queen of Stage, thanks to her immense talent, not only in singing, but also in performing difficult choreographed dances with grace and charm.
Yesterday, Fares released her latest video clip of a song titled Goumi, translating to “get up”. Her video clip worked wonders, and she quickly became a number one trend on Twitter, even overtaking the FIFA Club World Cup. She’s been retweeting her fans’ tweets since then, those who have praised her for her courage in beating illness with art.
You see, Myriam Fares was going through a very rough patch, so she took to her Instagram to say, “The past period was a very important stage in my life, I was afraid, I cried, I was falling apart.” Despite all the hardship, Fares held on to her art and her fans, she added, “Your love and thoughts surrounded me with all the positivity in the world and I stood up again.” This inspired her to work on her latest song & music video, Goumi, in which she summarised her feelings of frustration and then inspiration into standing back up again, and facing the music, as they say.
That’s all fine, yet we can’t help but see something a bit troubling. In her video clip, Fares showed off her diverse dancing skills with choreographed moves inspired by various cultures. Some people see this as a positive thing, and believe that Myriam is bringing these cultures together through music, showing us all that we hold the same drive within us to face our challenges. A lot of her fans admire her latest work, but some others, not so much.
@myriamfares As always, you bring connection across multiple cultural and musical forums. Thanks for this incredible look, incredible music and incredible art. I’m so proud ???? pic.twitter.com/dLDDiEo0jG
— Karim Tarek (@KarimTarek0) December 12, 2018
Others took to Instagram and Twitter to bash out their discomfort with the video. Many called it “ugly”, while some condemned it as “racist”. In this day and age, there’s a very fine line to tread when depicting cultures other than your own in such a manner. Cultural appropriation is a real concern today, and this video raises a lot of red flags for many people. Myriam used the below image from the video clip to post the speech we mentioned above, but many fans have looked past the inspiration and questioned her use of blackface (makeup used by non-black performers to represent black people), something that has been considered highly insensitive and unforgivably racist in recent years.
View this post on Instagram
The past period was a very important stage in my life, I was afraid, I cried, I was falling apart. Your love and thoughts surrounded me with all the positivity in the world and I stood up again. I say: "Enjoy your life…every moment is a blessing" and always believe that even the worst times are as per God’s will for your own good and he will guide you to make it through. Here I am back and I'm more than happy to share with you my latest Hit & Music Video #Goumi made with so much love and passion. Hit the link in the bio and enjoy it ❤
Now our questions go to you, our audience. Have people become too sensitive, or are performers unaware of the racial lines we must not cross? Did Myriam do the wrong thing with the right intentions? Let us know what you think.