Rihanna Apologizes For Using Hadith Narration In Lingerie Show

The singer apologizes for the use of London producer Coucou Chloe's "Doom", that sampled a hadith narration, in her Savage X Fenty fashion show.

Rihanna Apologizes For Using Hadith Narration In Lingerie Show

The singer apologizes for the use of London producer Coucou Chloe’s “Doom”, that sampled a hadith narration, in her Savage X Fenty fashion show.

By

Elizabeth Aziz
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

On Tuesday, singer and business mogul Rihanna issued an apology for using a track that sampled  the recitation of an Islamic hadith in her Savage X Fenty Vol. 2 fashion show. This came after Muslim made a series of posts on Instagram calling both her and the song’s artist out for the extreme oversight and lack of sensitivity.

 

The show, which premiered on Amazon Prime last week on October 2nd, was met with critical acclaim and praise for its inclusivity and incredible visuals. The hour long special included models, influencers, and celebrities of all genders, races, and body types. However, once reports began to circulate making people aware of the song’s usage during artist Rico Nasty’s scene, many Muslim fans took to social media to express their outrage. Rihanna responded shortly after with a post on her Instagram story, as well as a feed post on the Savage X Fenty account. 

Below is the apology Rihanna posted on her main account:

I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our savage x fenty show. I would more importantly like to apologize to you for this honest, yet careless mistake. We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and i’m incredibly disheartened by this! I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of the song in our project was completely irresponsible! Moving forward we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding, Rih.

 

 

Although this isn’t the first time Rihanna has tried it with Islam, she’s overall been a champion for diversity in both the fashion and beauty industries. Not to mention, she helped Halima Aden score one of her first modeling gigs in 2017, launching her career as a hijabi supermodel. Many fans were quick to forgive the singer thanks to her swift response and willingness to take accountability. 

The hadith used in the track details  Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) explanation of the signs of the day of judgement and the end of times. The song, ’Doom’ by Coucou Chloe, has since been removed from all streaming platforms following a separate apology from the London-based producer. She claimed to be unaware of the meaning of the sample she used – although the title of her track ‘doom’ seems too aligned with the end of times narrative of the hadith to truly have been a coincidence. And in any case, when using material from a foreign language or culture, surely it’s the artist’s responsibility to check how appropriate the appropriation is?

 

 

What did you think of Rihanna’s apology? Hit us up on Twitter and let us know what you think! 

Actually, Mansa Musa Was The Richest Man Alive – Not Jeff Bezos

After Forbes had announced that Jeff Bezos was the richest man to ever live, Black Muslims on Twitter were offended that Mansa Musa was overlooked.

Actually, Mansa Musa Was The Richest Man Alive – Not Jeff Bezos

After Forbes had announced that Jeff Bezos was the richest man to ever live, Black Muslims on Twitter were offended that Mansa Musa was overlooked.

By

Hafsa Chughtai
Illustration of Mansa Musa

The recent news-breaking net worth of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos places him top of the list for the wealthiest people alive today – with many even calling him the wealthiest person ever. However, the media oftentimes forgets to mention a certain black individual in history whose wealth easily eclipses Bezos’s  Mansa Musa, the 10th ruler of the Malian Empire.

After the Amazon CEO overtook Bill Gates in first position  in 2018, his worth seemed to skyrocket at a baffling pace. But he is still way behind the African Muslim king who – according to many historians – is considered to be the richest man of all time. 

“Even adjusting for inflation, Forbes believes Bezos’ fortune is the largest ever tracked,” writes Jonathan Ponciano on Forbes, declaring the 56-year-old to be the ‘first person ever worth $200 Billion.’

 

On the contrary, taking into account inflation over the centuries, Musa is recorded to have amassed at least $400-$415 billion, more than twice that of Bezos. Nonetheless, Musa’s contemporaries and some modern commentators, including Time’s Jacob Davidson, believe his wealth was simply incomprehensible. “Contemporary accounts of Musa’s wealth are so breathless that it’s almost impossible to get a sense of just how wealthy and powerful he truly was,” Rudolph Butch Ware, West African historian at the University of California, told BBC.

 

 

Under Musa’s rule, the Mali empire stretched over several neighboring areas and became one of the most prosperous and largest African empires. The lands were laden with abundant natural resources – mostly gold and salt, which were also major contributors to the emperor’s wealth. In contrast to what it stands for today, he turned Mali into an advanced center of Islamic learning in the world. 

Relatively unknown in the world outside Mali before his pilgrimage to Mecca, Musa made sure his journey went down in history like none other before. He brought a caravan stretching as far as the eye could see,”  says TED-Ed writer Jessica Smith. This 4,000 miles journey was eyewitnessed by numerous absolutely in admiration of his wealth as he distributed insane amounts of gold all along his route.

 

 

As a result of Musa’s immense generosity on the city of Cairo, where he made a pause to meet the Sultan, the value of gold greatly deteriorated. In an attempt to even out the disruption, he bought it back from the people of the city – with the added inflation, becoming the only person to ever control the price of gold. A little hard to believe yet completely true. 

Mansa Musa left more than just his money for the people to come, it was merely a small fraction of his rich legacy. He is a significant figure in black history, which is why the declaration of Jeff Bezos as the richest man ever came as a shock for several. People are still tweeting their disapproval of the situation, labeling it as an attempt to whitewash history.

 

 

Bezos is the only billionaire amassing $200 billion in the present day, that’s true. But he is in no way closer to the top billionaires of even the 20th century. Generations following Musa did not exactly maintain their status, however, this legendary king and his undeniable assets make him deserving of defending his crown of the wealthiest man ever. These figures and events from history should not be replaced with such ease.

READ MORE: 7 Of The Most Phenomenal Women In Islamic History

Disney’s ‘Mulan’ Live Action Was Filmed Amidst The Genocide Of Uyghur Muslims

Calls to #BoycottMulan sweep across social media once again as new information comes to light about where the movie was filmed.

Disney’s ‘Mulan’ Live Action Was Filmed Amidst The Genocide Of Uyghur Muslims

Calls to #BoycottMulan sweep across social media once again as new information comes to light about where the movie was filmed.

By

Zainab Damji
Graphic - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

The much awaited live action remake of Mulan has now become a sour topic of discussion as Disney fans across the world are angered since finding out the movie was partially filmed in the Xinjiang province—where it is reported that over 2,000,000 Uyghur Muslims have been detained in internment camps.

This comes after Disney’s CEO claimed filming in Georgia would be difficult due to its pro-life laws. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully,” he said.

 

This is not the first time the movie has stirred up chaos and received calls  for  boycott. Last year, the film’s lead actress Liu Yife, who plays Mulan, sparked controversy over her comments supporting the Hong Kong police’s treatment towards pro-democracy protestors and activists.  

It appears that Disney did not just turn a blind eye to the atrocities that are taking place in Xinjiang – but rather actively cooperated with the authorities that are widely accused of crimes against humanity, with social media  users highlighting the official thanks  to eight Xinjiang government entities including The Xinjiang Public Security Bureau in the film credits –  the bureau that is directly responsible for enforcing the harsh treatment and ethnic cleansing of Uyghur Muslims, such as inhumane torture, slave labor and forced sterilization of women.

 

 

Isaac Stone-Fish of the Washington Post said “Why did Disney need to work in Xinjiang? It didn’t. There are plenty of other regions in China, and countries around the world, that offer the starkly beautiful mountain scenery present in the film. But in doing so, Disney helps normalize a crime against humanity.”

Visit our Carrd to learn more about what’s happening to Uyghur Muslims, donate to the cause and sign petitions to create change. 

READ MORE: Dunkin’ Donuts Employee Puts Bacon In Muslim TikTok Star’s Order

A Gen Z Muslim On 9/11

A Gen Z American Muslim reflects on the harrowing day of 9/11 and her fear of speaking out on islamophobia.

A Gen Z Muslim On 9/11

A Gen Z American Muslim reflects on the harrowing day of 9/11 and her fear of speaking out on islamophobia.

By

Amirah Ahmed
Photo of Amirah Ahmad, Graphic - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

For American Gen Z Muslims, 9/11 is a most perplexing day filled with mourning and unfounded guilt.

There’s something peculiar about pleading with your parents to let you stay home from school to avoid the inevitable stares of your peers; this experience is an annual occurrence. Every year on the 11th of September, American Gen Z Muslims collectively hold our breath in anticipation of the inevitable glares and stinging remarks. When the pledge of allegiance blares from the intercom that morning, you know the extended moment of silence will follow, with it the thick layer of implication that shrouds the room with every awkward glance from a classmate. 

Marketing your patriotism seems like the only way to survive. Shrink your Muslim identity so that maybe you’ll be spared from the gruesome monster that is Islamophobia. These are just two of the rules in the ‘Guidebook to Being American and Muslim’, an instruction manual Gen Z Muslim Americans have memorized almost as religiously as Surah Fatiha. 

But on September 11th, all rules fly out the window and your guidebook becomes a shield. Walking the tightrope between amplifying your condolences for the victims of the attacks and begging people to understand that ‘American’ and ‘Muslim’ are not mutually exclusive terms.

 

 

Terrified to proclaim your exhaustion from constantly defending your humanity, because what if they call you a terrorist? What if they attempt to invalidate your Americanness because you happen to bow your head in prayer the same way that those men did? 

So instead of standing up for yourself, you blanket yourself in an American flag hijab and look down in remorse when they make the same ‘Allahu Akbar’ joke as they have the past three years.

They seem to forget that I’m the daughter of a veteran. They seem to forget that my grandfather served over 20 years as a firefighter. They seem to forget about my uncle’s service in the police force. They honor them until they read the roster. Why? When they hear the stutters in my Teta’s broken English, they seem to forget that she came here for hope, not to deconstruct. When they see me cry for the lives lost that day, they seem to forget that I am an American too, that I was not yet alive 19 years ago and how could I have anything to do with the devastating loss of life? 

Why do they seem to forget that you can mourn a terrible tragedy without turning those who share the faith of the perpetrators into accomplices? 

I am afraid to speak about Islamophobia on a day like today. I’m afraid of being labeled as insensitive in the face of lost life. But nobody worries about sensitivity when ignoring the thousand upon thousands of civilian Iraqi and Afghani lives lost in the resulting wars. Nobody tiptoes around their Islamophobic remarks while scrolling past the endless hate crimes devastating Muslim American communities. And you definitely don’t censor your hatred even though you’re sitting next to a Muslim American that lost a loved one on 9/11 too. In the words of poet Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, “If you need me to prove my humanity, I’m not the one that’s not human.”

I’m not here to defend the evil, senseless violence of September 11th 2001. I am here to make it clear for what seems like the thousandth time that Muslim Americans lost just as much as you on 9/11. Islam does not condone murder, and blaming an entire demographic based on the skewed actions of a select few is just as ridiculous as blaming all Christians for the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, who also used alleged divine guidance to justify their own violent actions.  

This year, let’s all stand together and mourn the lost lives of our fellow Americans… without displacing your pain on a group that’s hurting just as much as you.

Dunkin’ Donuts Employee Puts Bacon In Muslim TikTok Star’s Order

As some TikTokers amass love for the famous donut food chain and drinking "Chari drinks", others are faced with intolerable and islamophobic experiences.

Dunkin’ Donuts Employee Puts Bacon In Muslim TikTok Star’s Order

As some TikTokers amass love for the famous donut food chain and drinking “Chari drinks”, others are faced with intolerable and islamophobic experiences.

By

Lamia Rashid
Screen grabs from Zahra's TikTok / Graphic - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Dunkin’ Donuts receives backlash for alleged employee misconduct in a now viral video uploaded by Muslim TikToker Zahra Hashimee.

Better known by her TikTok handle @Muslimthicc, Zahra has quickly gained over 2.7 million followers for her lighthearted short-story videos and for talking openly about her faith. 

After pointing out a mistake in her doughnut order Zahra was later surprised to find a large slice of bacon placed in her hash browns. The video has amassed over 700K views and over 6000 comments calling on Dunkin’ Donuts to issue a formal apology.

 

The video above detailing the incident was uploaded on the morning of September 7th to her account.

Comments from former and current Dunkin’ employees insinuate that this may have been a purposeful microaggression committed by a disgruntled employee. The comments claim that the prep areas for bacon and hash browns are far enough apart that there is rarely a mix up with the two. 

Dunkin’ Donuts has yet to comment on the incident.Earlier this week a video submitted to TMZ appeared to show an altercation between another Dunkin’ employee and customers who claim the employee threw a bag at them through the drive-through window. 

READ MORE: Meet Mohamad Zoror, The Macaroni Vine Guy

I Tried ‘Halal’ Dating Apps For A Month And Here’s What Happened

For some of us, finding the perfect match comes easy. Other times, it can feel like a roller coaster down a rabbit hole of catfishes and fake profiles.

I Tried ‘Halal’ Dating Apps For A Month And Here’s What Happened

For some of us, finding the perfect match comes easy. Other times, it can feel like a roller coaster down a rabbit hole of catfishes and fake profiles.

By

Ulla Scheik
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

I never thought I’d end up on a “halal” dating app. 

To me, Minder always felt like a knock off version of Tinder and I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, especially considering how unsettling the whole “dating” concept is for me as a somewhat-conservative Muslim woman.

Yet there I was, setting up my profile, trying not to get my hopes up but still hopeful. 

Initially, I loved Minder. There were so many potential guys to choose from – I went from having 0 standards and willing to settle for anyone who would slightly understand my religion and culture, to being picky about what height and “religious flavor” I was willing to match with.

(Spoiler alert: I’m still single and maybe I deserve it for swiping left on all the guys who are 5’4 even though I’m 5’4 myself)

Despite being picky, I still had quite a few matches and at times it got overwhelming having to keep up with all these different conversations, many of which were clearly not going anywhere. 

I also ran into a few surprises, I got catfished, I was told off for using slang, and unmatched with because I picked “Shia” as my religious flavor. 

One of my rules for swiping was that I never swiped right on guys that had shirtless photos on their profiles, it was a turn-off and I couldn’t take them seriously. 

For whatever reason though, I made an exception when it came to this one guy named Mahdi. He was local, owned his own business, and I found him really cute. His bio was a mess but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and still swiped right.

Graphic - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

I messaged him the day after we matched, and right away with each message I began to realize that something was off. 

For someone who supposedly grew up in the states, his English did not sound like it at all. He also had a picture with a car that had a German license plate, which I thought was odd for someone who lived locally (unless it was just a rental, or he’s super-rich and has a house and car abroad *we love that*). 

His profile also mentioned that he spoke several languages, which I found out he couldn’t speak through our conversation, and he also said a lot of narrow-minded and ignorant things that made me end the conversation altogether.

At one point, I think he genuinely must’ve copied and pasted his message straight from google translate without making any changes to it, and it was very obvious. 

I was convinced that something was off so I did a reverse search image (I know so extra of me but I just had to find out).

And look what came up:

Graphic - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

His name is Amin Elkach. He’s a Morrocan athlete/model in Germany.

His real name is not Mahdi, he’s not afghan, he’s not a business owner, he doesn’t live in VA, and he most definitely can’t speak English. 

Unfortunately, he unmatched before I could report him and is still out there cat-fishing. If you run into him tell him he looks like he could be a Morrocan model in Germany!

Another instance I ran into was this excuse of a man who got annoyed because I used slang at one point, and I guess you shouldn’t do that when you’re discussing taxes?

I have so many problems with everything he said in those messages, I wouldn’t even know where to begin, but I’ll leave it at this; it’s him, it’s not me.

Graphic - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

I don’t have screenshots for my next point, but on my profile, I purposely chose to show that my “religious flavor” as Minder likes to phrase it, is Shia. 

Even though I don’t believe in sectarianism, there are others who do and there are a lot of misconceptions and prejudice towards the Shia label. For that reason I chose to disclose it on my profile, in case someone had a problem with my label, they could simply avoid me from the get-go and save us both time.

Yet many of the guys I matched with apparently didn’t bother reading through my profile before matching, so a few of them messaged me afterward to let me know that they’re unmatching because I’m Shia and they’re looking for someone Sunni. 

I was most offended by the guys who matched, proceeded to waste my time with a dry conversation, then realized my profile says that I’m Shia and then unmatched.

And while all these things happened on Minder, I also tried MuzMatch at the time and my overall experience made me feel overwhelmed because I didn’t feel like I could keep up with everyone. I also felt like beyond the basic biodata, the apps didn’t really help much in getting to know the other person. I just felt overall disappointed and like I wasted so much time that I’m never getting back. Not to mention all the creeps I ran into on the app.

While my overall experience was definitely not good, and the apps didn’t really help me find anyone, there are people who find each other this way.

I’m not sure what differentiates those who find success on these platforms from the ones who don’t, but I know that it is possible for some people and that there plenty of nice and genuine guys on the app who don’t lie about who they are.

For me personally, the experience wasn’t worth the time I put into it, only to find myself right back where I started. But if you’re thinking about trying out these dating apps, I’d say definitely give it a shot, but don’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t get you the results you want.

Fall Semester’s Online, What Now?

Online classes got you a little stir-crazy? Well, we’re here to help! Here is a guide on how to make the most out of your online classes

Fall Semester’s Online, What Now?

Online classes got you a little stir-crazy? Well, we’re here to help! Here is a guide on how to make the most out of your online classes

By

Zainab Damji
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

None of us need to be reminded of our current situation; this pandemic has taken the world by storm, affecting many far and wide. And while a lot of people have it worse, this can be a frustrating time for college students. 


With classes going online for many of us, we now have to learn how to navigate a virtual university environment while dealing with so many other things that may be going on in our lives. Such collective efforts in curbing the spread of this virus are vital, but that doesn’t mean that our feelings of confusion and disappointment aren’t justified. Even though a lot of things seem like they’re out of our control right now, we can still work towards learning the ropes of managing our stress in these circumstances. Here are some things that worked for me!

1) Make a routine (and stick to it!)

It’s very easy to lose a sense of routine when you’re learning online — especially if your classes are pre-recorded. A routine is very important to maintain a sense of normalcy and create a productive working environment.

 

2) Craft your workspace

All of us learn best in different ways, so it’s only natural for us to have different set-ups that suit our working style. Some of us prefer more screens, while others prefer notebooks. I know I love having a journal and a physical calendar but my friends prefer apps to manage their productivity. Make your workspace a place that naturally puts you into work mode: it could be a corner in your room, your dining table or the outdoors! The bottom line is you know what works best for you, so be sure to craft your workspace accordingly.

 

3) Practice self-care!

From taking regular breaks in between studying to playing video games, netflixing or going all out with a home-spa set up — make sure you’re making time for yourself! Your regular academic course load is challenging enough, coupled with our given circumstances, it’s super important that we take out time from our day to relax and do the things we like!

 

4) Maintain social connections!

Just because you’re social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t be social! Just like you would in school, make sure you’re keeping your social life going. Whether it’s through video calls, online games or virtual movie nights. And if being on your screen all the time gets you tired, look into planning a socially distant picnic with your friends! There’s so many ways to maintain your social relationships!

 

5) Talk to your parents/roommates

Before you start this Fall, try to sit down and have a conversation with your parents, siblings, roommates or anyone that you will be sharing your living space with. You can discuss expectations and draw boundaries to prevent any disagreements or miscommunication in the future. This can include talking through household responsibilities, privacy or setting a quiet time; this is a perfect opportunity to express how they can best support you! While it may seem trivial or irrelevant, I think it could prove really helpful in making your study-from-home life productive and stress-free.

 

READ MORE: Meet Mohamad Zoror, The Macaroni Vine Guy

Kanye West Names New Shoe Line After Islamic Angels, Leaving Some Muslims Angry

The shoes were named after "Israfil" and "Asriel", two of the four archangels of Islam.

Kanye West Names New Shoe Line After Islamic Angels, Leaving Some Muslims Angry

The shoes were named after “Israfil” and “Asriel”, two of the four archangels of Islam.

By

Hafsa Chughtai
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

American rapper Kanye West was met with backlash from the Muslim community afer naming two of his latest shoes with Adidas after the archangels in Islam. 

Adidas unveiled the edition earlier last week:  the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Israfil and Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Asriel, unleashing a series of negative reactions from Muslims worldwide.

 

Israfil and Asriel (commonly spelled Azrael or Israel) are two of the four archangels of Islam. Israfil is usually depicted with a trumpet that will be played to mark the end of the world, and Asriel – the Angel of Death – is charged with the duty of carrying the souls of deceased individuals. Both are significantly respected in the Islamic faith. 

Yeezy shoes, which are the most recognized urban shoe collection, also contributed largely to West’s billionaire status, as stated by Forbes this year in April.

 

 

Nonetheless, several took to social media to display their objection asserting the rapper was “making a mockery of Islam” and that something should be done about it.

 

Even after more than 10 days since the initial announcement, Muslims stay firm on their decision to have these names changed. The criticism of the rapper on account of disrespecting the religion led to the launch of a petition to channel advocates of the cause in the right direction. Among other things, the petition demands an immediate renaming of these trainers or to cease their production altogether.

“This is highly offensive to the Muslim community. Having the names of angels, which we revere highly, on a shoe which is used to walk on the street is a huge form of disrespect in all Muslim communities. We demand that Adidas cease all production of this shoe immediately, issue a sincere apology to the Muslim community and consult with a representative of the Muslim community to bridge this learning curve so this doesn’t happen again in the future. We are a big demographic of sales and to turn a blind eye to the insensitivity of our pain is a poor business decision,” it states.

People signing the petition also encourage others to boycott the brand until adequate measures are taken by both Adidas and West. However, Yeezy Boost Israfil is still selling out while the Asriel version is set to be released the following month. 

This controversy strikes the rapper amid his run for the White House challenging President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. And he already faced around five states ruling him ineligible for the ballot, somewhat weakening his campaign. 

The year 2020 served to be quite eventful for West and may take a turn for the worse. Seeing how the global Muslim community is coming together in light of these findings, he along with Adidas will have to do something about it pretty soon.

 

READ MORE: Meet Mohamad Zoror, The Macaroni Vine Guy

 

To avoid similar inconveniences in the future, West along with other celebrities should avoid dragging religious figures and essential cultural aspects in their art. These acts of cultural appropriation can displease a lot of people even when no offense is intended. Regardless of the purpose behind naming these shoes after two archangels, Muslims ended up being deeply offended. And despite everything, both West and Adidas are consistent with their silence on the matter.

Meet Mohamad Zoror, The Macaroni Vine Guy

“Cardi, can I have a hundred dollars, is that okay?”

Meet Mohamad Zoror, The Macaroni Vine Guy

“Cardi, can I have a hundred dollars, is that okay?”

By

Rania Rizvi
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Comedian and infamous Vine personality, Mohamad Zoror, is making headlines yet again for his iconic 2014 macaroni vine after rapper Cardi B alluded to the video in her and fellow rapper Meghan Thee Stallion’s new single, “WAP.” 

A few days after the song’s initial release, Zoror posted a TikTok captioned “run me my money!’ reacting to Cardi’s verse in which she raps “macaroni in a pot, that’s some WAP” and cites a Genius lyrics annotation that states that the line is “likely a reference” to his Vine.

Amassing nearly 4 million views within four days, Zoror’s TikTok was met with thousands of users commenting that they “immediately thought of him” when they heard the track and encouraged him to collect his bag and “get royalties” for being referenced in the song.

There’s even been comments made on the original Youtube reposting of the Vine, stating “who came back to watch this because of Cardi B and Meghan Thee Stallion?” 

But as excited as Zoror’s fans were about his Vine becoming relevant again, in an interview with Muslim.co, Zoror revealed that he actually “wasn’t surprised” by the mention, as Cardi B has referenced the Vine in previous tracks.

“A lot of my friends sent me messages saying ‘go listen to Cardi B’s new song, listen to the last lyric’ and I was like, I already know where this was going,” said Zoror. 

According to Zoror, Cardi B alluded to his vine on both her first album, “Gangsta B**** Music Vol. 1,” and more notably, in her chart-topping track “Drip.” The reference to Zoror’s Vine is made in the first verse, in which Cardi B raps “mac n’ cheese in the bowl, how it sound?”

Zoror’s ability to influence mainstream music has fans saying that the Vine star has “contributed to culture” and has “created a metaphor that has impacted the language of an entire generation.” 

But while Zoror’s infamous Vine may be a cultural staple, being “the Macaroni Vine guy” has its downsides. According to Zoror, he finds that he is oftentimes identified by that Vine only, stating that it “gets repetitive” being introduced by peers as “the one who did the Vine.” Zoror also shared that he finds that people will try to befriend him or take advantage of him because of the size of his platform.

But despite the negative impacts of his fame, Zoror stated that the Vine has ultimately helped him not only expand professionally, but has allowed him to leave a lasting impression on pop culture. 

“[The Vine] opens up opportunities for me, not others. For rappers to use that in songs, I like that… my perception [of being known as the “macaroni vine guy] has changed, especially when I started seeing how my vine is used in pop culture or even day-to-day as a reference,” expressed Zoror. 

Though the reference of Zoror’s Vine in “WAP” may be subtle, the song goes to show that the ability for creators to impact mainstream media is not. Zoror’s reach from Vine to TikTok to high-profile artists like Cardi B truly shows not only the lasting impact of the meme video revolution born by Vine, but the impact creators can have on anyone, even celebrities. 

Since his Vine days, Zoror has changed his content style and expanded his media presence onto Tiktok. But even long after Cardi B’s love for alluding to Zoror’s golden vine in hit singles wears off, Zoror will undoubtedly remain in the Meme Hall of Fame as “the Macaroni Vine guy.” 

A Drive With RIZ LA VIE: Meet The Lebanese-American Artist Behind The Hit ‘Napkins’

Meet RIZ LA VIE, the Lebanese-American artist that is making everyone in tune with their spirituality.

A Drive With RIZ LA VIE: Meet The Lebanese-American Artist Behind The Hit ‘Napkins’

Meet RIZ LA VIE, the Lebanese-American artist that is making everyone in tune with their spirituality.

By

Ameena Qobrtay
Photo - Felix Francisco / Art - Tasneem Sarkez & Shayma Al-shiri

 

It’s rare that music can seep into every aspect of my life as quickly as RIZ LA VIE’s work did. The last time I was this obsessed with a single artist was when I was 14 and exclusively listened to any song by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys (I mean, come on, how can you listen to “Love Is A Laserquest” without thinking it’s the pinnacle of good music?). 

But after the persistent nags from my best friend, the love I had for LA VIE started with a single song – Saturn– and meandered into a whole ocean of obsession. Yes, maybe there’s still some unshakeable residue from my 2014 I’m-not-like-the-other-girls Arctic Monkeys craze. Or maybe I’m just really picky. But I found myself streaming LA VIE despite my best efforts to listen to literally anything else. Doing the dishes, going on my pensive pandemic-induced bike rides, hanging out with the people I was quarantined with – every activity somehow felt less complete without LA VIE’s coos, shouts, screams, and transient voice accompanying me. 

Riz’s music is addictive because of its undeniable authenticity. Streaming Riz is like listening to a roadmap of his soul, and while the exciting beats and different sounds he explores is one of the reasons many of his fans love to stream his work, it’s his lyrics that truly make him one of the most exciting voices of our time. LA VIE’s words reflect the intimacy with which he sees his world, and he conveys this with a noticeable tenderness. 

Ironically – or perhaps completely by fate, as LA VIE’s outlook might suggest –  the Nitetime in Atlanta singer and I spoke as he was driving to Georgia to create more music and at-home videos with friends.

 

Photo - Felix Francisco

 

In between soft curses due to car-merging incidents and cheers after finally reaching Virginia (“Virginia is for lovers, it says on the sign, that’s beautiful!”) the Lebanese Jersey-native spoke about his latest E.P. “Feed.,” activism, and spirituality.

“Feed.” is LA VIE’s latest project, consisting of five glorious songs that span from melancholy to upbeat to even melancholy-er. The sound, which is entirely different from his previous work, acts as a backdrop for a level of lyricism that Riz hasn’t achieved before. 

His She Said music video eerily predicted the future. Complete with a table and chair, tea set, and bustling street, outside dining couldn’t have been better foreshadowed in the video. But the fortune-telling didn’t actually start there. LA VIE talked about how he has been thinking about undergoing a “personal revolution” for months, and that the COVID-19 pandemic and BLM protests show that he was right to think that this year would be a reset. 

Riz wrote “Feed.” about an “internal revolution” and about changes on the personal level. But he said that he was, “blessed and thankful” to release his music while “the world is also going through a much-needed revolution, to make the changes that it needs to make as it is a living organism.” 

While the “She Said” video may or may not have predicted the future, an overall exciting aspect about LA VIE is his carefully-conducted music videos. When asked about them, he said, “I think music videos in general are a completely superfluous art form. I don’t think they need to exist whatsoever. Because music, as an art form, is whole and complete and often elicits a visual response in your mind. But I do think videos are perfect in their ability to add an entire new layer of art on top of art.” 

LA VIE’s obsession with day-to-day life is intoxicating – he described how earlier that morning, while renting a car for the road trip to Atlanta, the rental man gave him a 5% discount and how that example of impact-per-person makes all the difference in life. 

 

Outside of his art, LA VIE is also an agent for change. In addition to donating to different causes, with proceeds from “Feed.” going to the Loveland Foundation, he also encourages people to “speak out if that’s something they felt they had to do.” LA VIE stressed the importance of doing other things outside of donating if you don’t have the means to do so. In addition to sharing information, as he discussed many young people are doing right now, he also suggested that people should, “Spend 20 minutes (every day) educating yourself. I don’t mean to say this facetiously whatsoever, I mean, seriously, go read a book,” noting the importance and gratification of “tactile reading.” 

LA VIE spoke about the horrific August 4 Beirut explosion in a somber follow-up interview. After speaking about donating and wishing peace for all of those affected, LA VIE said, “Our people in Lebanon come from the Phoenicians and we were called Phoenicians because we rise again and again. For centuries and centuries and centuries we’ve been doing this, and we fall to ashes, again and again but we’re known to rebuild and come back stronger than ever before. I feel like that’s our ethos as Phoenicians and as Lebanese people. And I think that’s what we’ll do. I hope that we build a stronger and a more well-rounded, just society.” 

LA VIE is also concerned about an injustice that is rarely discussed but occurs in many Middle Eastern countries: the mistreatment of migrant workers. He made the connection to how although many are rightfully speaking about police brutality and Black Lives Matter, migrant workers from countries in Africa, South Asia, and the Far East are being exploited in Muslim-majority and Arab countries. He spoke about how atrocities like the Beirut explosion are just one of the ways that migrant workers are made even more vulnerable. 

 

Photo - Felix Francisco

 

But it’s impossible to talk about LA VIE without mentioning his connection to spirituality. He described how from when he was younger, his Mom had always informed him about the moon, chakras, and the importance of acknowledging and caring for the “essence” that exists in everyone. He joked about how when he was younger, his pockets heavy with the stones his mom gave him, he would tell his friends about the law of attraction whenever they would complain about wanting something. 

LA VIE thinks it’s exciting to see the increased popularity of a lot of the things he appreciated when he was younger that have gained popularity now, from hummus to horoscopes. (BTW: I had to ask. He’s a Pisces sun, Aquarius moon, Scorpio rising. After two conversations and binge-listening to his music, I can say with confidence that it definitely shows).

LA VIE’s interview ended with me feeling something entirely unfamiliar: hope. Talking to someone that was so in-tune with life and choosing to spread positivity and love was entirely refreshing. If you want to support an artist that is in pursuit of goodness, start by basking in the poetry that is RIZ LA VIE’s discography, or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.