Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Arabs Got Talent- Tomboy finalist gets slammed for appearance

I have a confession to make: one of my guilty pleasures is America's Got Talent. I don't watch American Idol, or The Voice, but yes, I enjoy the sometimes fabulous, sometimes bizarre and sometimes altogether bad acts that strut the stage. And I love the interaction between the judges and the performers. Originating in England with Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent, it migrated across the ocean to the U.S. where it features judges Howie Mandel, Sharon Osborne, and Howard Stern who took over for Piers Morgan.  But who the heck knew there were franchises all over the world including an Arabs Got Talent.

Shot in Beirut, Lebanon for the MBC Network, it's a replica (almost) of the Brit and U.S. programmes but with Arab talent. They too have three judges, albeit kinder, gentler more patient ones: The judges are female singer Najwa Karam, Nasser Al Qasabi, and Ali Jaber. Since it's filmed in Lebanon, Najwa is not veiled and neither are most of the female talent. However, one of this season's finalists - tomboyish unveiled, 18-year-old Shamma Hamdan from the United Arab Emirates - isn't getting much support from back home because of her appearance. Her twitter account swelled to over 87,000 followers after her appearance on the TV show, but many comments have been downright mean-spirited, but not surprising given the conservative Emiratis.
Some tweets slammed her for her "un-Islamic" and "un-Emirati" appearance. Others were more cruel, making comments like "Shame on you. You don't represent anything Emirati. You should be pulled from the show." Still more made fun of her appearance. 
"It was like fire, rumours spread about my origin, that I am not 'originally' Emirati, that I am from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, even Afghanistan, cause, hey, I don't look like the typical Emirati," she said. In fact the family is from Al Raisi tribe. 
"I am not a tomboy, not a boyat, not anything. I am just a musician who is a bit sporty," she says. "I like to surf when I am not playing music." 
"Imagine I performed in an abaya and shayla while playing on a guitar? What would they say? I would be called the biggest sinner in the world."

Hamdan is one of the better ones, but there are some as lacking in talent as everywhere else, including this poor woman. The judges are definitely far more patient than the U.S. ones.


Anonymous said...

Since it is filmed in Lebanon, najwa is not veiled... What the hell is this stupid comment. FYI, even shows filmed in KSA, women are not veiled... And in most arab countries, women choose or not to be veiled and are still looked at the same. Know your subject before posting!

Incognito said...

female tv hosts in KSA are allowed to appear on air unveiled even though they have to cover themselves elsewhere? Prove it.
Same thing goes for Iran.

In countries that force their women to veil, AFghanistan, KSA and Iran- shoe me some links. I think it is you who are in denial. And if the Islamists gain control of other Middle Eastern and African countries, those women too will be forced to veil.

I doubt you will respond because you know you are wrong.