Monday, May 5, 2014

Hurry up and watch our reality show on making it in New York City


In my household we watch OSN and they've been showing trailers for this new reality show called #Yalla NY. (Is the hashtag still used when you're not tweeting?)
Anyways it looks interesting, I wish it had English subtitles. According to its website, the show follows a bunch of friends from across the Middle East as they try to make it in New York City. Fans of Star Academy will recognize Zaher Saleh in it.

My Arabic's not that great but anyone who's fluent wanna translate what they're saying? :) Also, I love the girls' fashion sense.

I got to thinking about why this particular program was made at this time and place. Of course there are and have been young Arabs that have struggled to make it in the Big Apple before, but why did they decide to film this show now? Well for one, there's the star power behind Saleh and the popularity of the format of reality television. But there's also something else going on here. They are showing its audience a particular lifestyle - one that is difficult because of the struggles it takes to become successful, but also one that is relativily privileged, young and stylish and what we would now call hipster. You could say that this is only one particular case but this video reminded me of one back in December. Do you remember the #MIPSTERZ? That's Muslim hipsters for those of you who don't know.


This video created a lot of controversy when it came out with mixed responses from both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Basically what I took from it was while these Mipsterz's intention to show how diverse women who wear hijab can be was in the right place, it left a lot of others who wear hijab and other Muslims feeling alienated in its problematic approach. Will #Yalla NY face the same problems?

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