Letter from the Editor
Palestine in America’s music edition kicks off plan to print magazine quarterly
Unknowingly, my brother helped to shape my musical interests. As a kid, I would steal his mixes and play them in my CD player whenever I had a chance. It was how I was introduced to Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z and Tupac.
I used to ride a yellow bus to Walt Disney Magnet elementary school on the North Side of Chicago. Listening to hip-hop on my one-way 45-minute commute to school would mentally prepare me for the day ahead. This is a ritual I still follow on my commutes today, but with modern technology, I’m not limited to the 15-20 songs my brother could fit on a disc.
Most people I’ve encountered in my life have similar experiences that have shaped their musical interests. Music is universal. It transcends barriers of all kind, which is why Palestine in America felt compelled to print a music issue.
Palestinians aren’t at the forefront of the music industry in the U.S., but they are deeply involved, as our cover story illustrates. Na’el Shehade, the subject of that story, isn’t the first nor the only Palestinian successfully making it in the industry. While researching the topic in preparation for this issue, I learned of people such as Fadia Kader, Farid Karam Nassar and other Palestinians doing well in the music industry.
Nassar, better known as FredWreck, has been in the industry since the ‘90s, producing records for Xzibit, Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill. Kader has been in the trenches of the industry for more than a decade and now works on music partnerships with Instagram. Nassar and Kader have spent a great deal of time gaining traction in the industry, but we still had to dig around to find them. Even when we did find them, there wasn’t much press about them. This is why PiA is doing its best to highlight Palestinians doing well in music or whatever their field is.
FredWreck and Kader have created lanes for people like Suhel Nafar to thrive at Spotify, while giving young rappers like Konstancy, Safi G and Waheeb Kareem the confidence to chase after music careers.
Our music issue is the first of four magazines we will print in 2019. In the past, PiA only printed annually. Going to press multiple times a year will allow us to host more issue release events and give more opportunities to our contributors.
Our story on Shehade highlights a Palestinian-American who was inspired by his father’s journey to chase his own dream despite the odds. Our Palestinians You Should Know section gives our readers a glimpse into whose stories we want to tell in future issues, and our Palestinian Playlists give a taste of what Palestinian-Americans are listening to these days.
We hope that you will enjoy this issue, and once you’ve read it, I highly encourage you to help us to continue producing high-quality content by giving a tax-deductible donation to Palestine in America.