Posts tagged with "refugee"

Amaal_Honey Single Artwork from Brittany Peterson for use by 360 Magazine

AMAAL TO RELEASE EP MILLY THIS FALL

“These songs are an unapologetic celebration of my womanhood,” says Amaal. “They’re the sound of me reclaiming my power, my pleasure, myself.”

Listening to Amaal’s extraordinary new EP Milly (releasing this fall) you’d have little idea that the breakout Canadian R&B star was born in Somalia, or that she was raised in a strict Muslim community in which expressions of female autonomy and sexuality were considered explicitly taboo. The songs on Milly transcend language and religion and culture, tapping into the kind fundamental humanity and search for self that binds us all. Amaal writes with a vivid sensuality here, reveling in the power of both physical and emotional touch, and her performances are visceral to match, delivered with a mesmerizing intimacy that hints at everything from FKA twigs and Kelela to SZA and Jhené Aiko. The result is a quietly revelatory work of self-actualization from an artist fully embracing her true identity in all its strength and beauty, a bold, intoxicating collection that, by its very existence, serves as a radical act of feminine liberation.

“My art is my way of confronting the misogynoir and the old, oppressive ideologies that have constrained me for so much of my life,” Amaal explains. “Without music, I’m not sure I would have been able to discover the woman I’m truly meant to be.”

The fourth of ten children, Amaal began her remarkable journey in war-torn Mogadishu, where she and her family lived until they were forced flee as refugees in the early 1990s. Starting over fresh in Toronto, she embraced the poetic nature of her cultural heritage but bristled at the conservative strictures and customs that came with it, particularly the repressive expectations placed upon women. Though it was forbidden at home, Amaal found escape in modern pop and R&B music, and as she began spending more and more time outside of her tight knit immigrant community, she adopted the nickname Milly as something of an alter ego.

“Milly was a version of myself that could be and do whatever she wanted without fear of shame or judgment,” says Amaal. “When I was Milly, I was anonymous, which ironically helped me find myself.”

By the time she hit 20, Amaal had grown bold enough to begin making her own music, but she still felt limited as to what she could sing about, so she focused her creative energy on politically and socially conscious material inspired by the civil unrest in Somalia and the struggles her people faced as a result. It was powerful stuff, to be sure, but there was more to Amaal than being a refugee, and she longed to express the fullness of herself and her story in her art. 

“It felt like I was absent in my own music,” she explains. “I was just trying to do things that felt safe and that would make my community proud because I knew that the moment I strayed beyond that, the backlash would come.”

In 2019, Amaal finally worked up the courage to step outside of her comfort zone with the release of Black Dove, a surprisingly vulnerable collection that found her reckoning with love and heartbreak and desire in her music for the very first time. Though it felt incredibly risky, the EP was a critical smash, garnering a Juno nomination for Soul/R&B Recording of the Year, racking up millions of streams online, and prompting rave reviews across the board. Complex hailed Amaal’s “airy and ethereal vocals,” while Exclaim! dubbed her “an artist that demands attention,” and Vibe proclaimed her a singer “like no other.” Perhaps more important than any reviews, though, were the messages Amaal began receiving from women around the world who saw themselves in her story and were learning to find their own voices through listening to her music.

“I called that EP Black Dove because I felt like this bird that was finally being uncaged,” says Amaal. “It was the beginning of me stepping out of the constraints that I’d grown up with.”

If Black Dove represented Amaal’s first steps towards self-expression, then Milly is more like a flying leap. Written and recorded with GRAMMY-nominated production duo Nicky Davey (Beyoncé, Zayn), the collection embraces the wild sense of freedom and discovery that came with Amaal’s alter ego growing up, tackling sexual liberation and female empowerment in no uncertain terms. The arrangements on the EP are spare and spacious, fueled by sultry beats and hypnotic synthesizers, and the minimalist approach only serves to intensify the spotlight on Amaal’s captivating vocals, which flow from a deeper, more full-bodied register here than ever before.

“This project forced me to explore whole new ranges in my voice, which put me in touch with whole new parts of myself as a woman,” Amaal reflects. “I honestly didn’t know I could sing that low or feel that confident until we recorded these songs.”

That confidence is clear from the outset on Milly, which opens with the steamy “Heaven.” “Open up the gates of heaven / Holy water dripping blessings / My blessings on you,” Amaal sings on the track, elevating physical intimacy to the level of divine consecration. Like much of the EP, it’s a rapturous ode to power and pleasure, to flipping the script and centering the sexual experience on female satisfaction. The swaggering “Honey” minces no words when it comes to women knowing their worth in the bedroom, while the dreamy “Renegade” takes the reigns with dominance and authority, and the effervescent “Special” brushes off the dime-a-dozen men who don’t have what it takes to keep up. Even a sweetly romantic track like the understated “Lullaby,” which features Syd from The Internet, blurs the lines between love and lust in its portrayal of the kind of deep, committed relationship in which insecurities and inhibitions are a thing of the past. 

Watch the mesmerizing live performance of Amaal’s latest single “Honey” here.

“After a lifetime of being told how I could speak and act and present myself as a woman, it felt like some kind of spiritual experience to be able say and do whatever I wanted on this EP,” says Amaal. “Singing these songs felt so radical, but at the same time so natural.”

It’s that duality that lies at the heart of Amaal’s music. For much of her life, she’s lived between two worlds; with Milly, Amaal is creating her own.

Amaal_Honey Single Artwork from Brittany Peterson for use by 360 Magazine

AMAAL RELEASES INTOXICATING VISUAL FOR SINGLE – HONEY

Somali-Canadian singer-songwriter Amaal has returned with a hypnotic, new song and visual for “Honey,” the first single off her highly-anticipated sophomore EP Milly, set to release this fall. The Dan LeMoyne-directed video captures Amaal’s transcendent alter ego Milly, an unapologetic version of herself that embraces intimacy and female autonomy without fear of shame or judgement. Paper Magazine premiered the video earlier today, describing the track as “impossibly slick with cool metallic percussion throughout, as Amaal’s vocals glide smoothly above.”

In the video, Amaal physically and figuratively awakens with slow, jolted movements, shedding old inhibitions and welcoming a sense of sexual liberation considered explicitly taboo in her conservative Muslim community. “The music is a celebration of my womanhood,” she explains. “It’s the sound of me reclaiming my power, my pleasure, myself.” Amaal croons over the melodic beat, produced by GRAMMY-nominated duo Nicky Davey (Beyoncé, Zayn, Syd), as she moves through moody blue, purple and red-orange hues drenched in Cuchara jewelry and ultramodern pieces from Marine Serre, Sho Konishi and Herve Léger (styling by Lebani Osmani). Watch the “Honey” video here, and stream the track here.

ABOUT AMAAL

The fourth of ten children, Amaal began her remarkable journey in war-torn Mogadishu, where she and her family lived until they were forced to flee as refugees in the early 1990s. Starting over fresh in Toronto, she embraced the poetic nature of her cultural heritage but bristled at the conservative structures and customs that came with it, particularly the repressive expectations placed upon women. By the time she hit 20, Amaal had grown bold enough to begin making her own music, but she still felt limited as to what she could sing about, so she focused her creative energy on politically and socially conscious material inspired by the civil unrest in Somalia and the struggles her people faced as a result. It was powerful stuff, to be sure, but there was more to Amaal than being a refugee, and she longed to express the fullness of herself and her story in her art. In 2019, Amaal finally worked up the courage to step outside of her comfort zone with the release of Black Dove, a daringly vulnerable collection that found her reckoning with love and heartbreak and desire in her music for the very first time. Though it felt incredibly risky, the EP was a critical smash, garnering a Juno nomination for Soul/R&B Recording of the Year, racking up millions of streams online, and prompting rave reviews across the board. Complex hailed Amaal’s “airy and ethereal vocals,” while Vibe proclaimed her a singer “like no other,” and Exclaim! dubbed her “an artist that demands attention.” Amaal’s sophomore EP, entitled Milly, will be released fall 2021.

CONNECT WITH AMAAL

Website – Youtube – Instagram – Facebook – TikTok – Twitter

Breaking News by Nicole Salazar

Weekly News Roundup: Week of May 3

President Biden Raises Refugee Admission Cap to 62,500 People

In a move to reverse former President Donald Trump’s stricter admission cap on refugees, President Biden has raised the admission cap to 62,500 people in the next six months. Originally, Trump had administered a cap on 15,000 refugees. At first, Biden said he would stick to this figure, but changed his stance after receiving condemnation from Democrats on Capitol Hill. In a statement issued by the White House addressing this political reversal, Biden commented “This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.” The New York Times says that Biden’s statement acknowledged how Trump’s budget and staffing cuts during his presidency makes it more unlikely to handle resettling 62,500 refugees within the coming year. In his statement, Biden admitted “the sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” he said. “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”

Pfizer Vaccine to be Administered to Adolescents

The availability of the Pfizer vaccine is soon to more accessible to millions more Americans. The FDA is said to authorize the use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 by early next week. Pfizer has recently released trial results in which show their vaccine to be at least as effective for adolescents as it is for the adult population. If granted access, the CDC will likely meet the following day to review the clinical trial data and announce public health recommendations for adolescent vaccinations.  Over 100 million adults have already been vaccinated, and with the Pfizer vaccine becoming available to millions more, the level of public immunity is forecasted to rise, and the number of deaths and hospitalizations are to drop.

In order to target vaccinations to younger Americans, Biden announced on Tuesday that mass vaccinations sites would shift to more local settings. He also stated his goal of vaccination 70% of Americans by July’s Independence Day. To those who are unvaccinated, Biden plead: “This is your choice. Its life and death.” On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced that tens of millions more Americans need to get vaccinated before the rate of the coronavirus will be low enough to return to normalcy.

Subway Overpass Collapse Results in the Death of 23 People

Late Monday night in Mexico City, the collapse of a subway overpass–and subsequent fall of an active train car– resulted in the deaths of 23 people. Dozens of more victims are suffering injuries. The accident occurred on Line 12, one of the newer tracks in Mexico’s subway system. The subway system has been plagued by safety concerns from the public after a severe earthquake in 2017. Over 70 people were transported to the nearby hospitals, most of them delivered to Belisario Dominguez Hospital. Mexico’s fire fighters, military, and forensics department all arrived on scene to aid in the rescuing and recovery of the accident’s victims. Currently, Line 12 will remain closed as authorities investigate the harrowing accident. The Mayor of Mexico City, Claudio Steinbaum, spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning: ” At this moment, we can’t speculate about what happened. There has to be a deep investigation, and whoever is responsible has to be held responsible.”

Derek Chauvin Files for New Trial Regarding Murder of George Floyd

The trial of the police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of one count of second-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder, and one count of second-degree manslaughter by Judge Peter Cahill. However, Chauvin’ lawyer, Eric Nelson, is now claiming that Chauvin’s rights were violated during the trial since Judge Cahill refused a change of venue regarding where the trial was help. As a result of such, Nelson claims that the pre-trial publicity deprived Chauvin of a fair trial. NPR reports that Nelson also has cited “prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.” In Nelson’s file motion that requests another trial, he argues that the court “abused its discretion” because of the nationwide publicity of the high-profile trial. Due to the mass publicity of the trial, Nelson says that the defense’s expert witnesses and jury felt “threatened of intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings.”

NPR reports that according to Nelson’s file motion, the court abused its discretion by:

  • When it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media
  • When it permitted the State to present cumulative evidence with respect to use of force
  • When it failed to order that a record be made of the numerous sidebars that occurred during the trial
  • When it submitted instructions to the jury that failed to accurately reflect the law with respect to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and authorized use of force

NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports on how infrequently officers are called to conduct while in uniform, “Some studies show only seven police officers since 2005 have been convicted of murder for their actions on the job. That’s even though about 1,000 or 1,100 people a year die at the hands of police.” The way in which Derek Chauvin’s initial trial ended was a long-awaited plea for justice that many Americans felt finally acknowledged and held accountable the perpetrators of police violence and systemic racism in the nation. Ultimately, it is up to Judge Peter Cahill to decide whether to open trial again for Chauvin.

Facebook’s Suspension of Donald Trump Continues

Since the Capitol insurrection on January 1, Facebook has suspended Trump’s usage of the platform. The length and permanence of the suspension has been hotly debated lately, especially since Facebook doesn’t have a standard policy or punishment regarding indefinite suspensions. On Wednesday, a team of journalists, activists, and lawyers upheld the social media company’s ban of Trump. Their discussion ended any immediate return of Trump to the platform, and sparked debate concerning freedom of speech online. Facebook’s Oversight Board cited their reasoning for banning Trump in January, stating that Trump “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible. At the time of Mr. Trump’s posts, there was a clear, immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions.” After Facebook reviews its action, Trump may be able to return to the platform later down the line. Other social media giants, including Twitter and YouTube, also locked Trump’s accounts after the Capitol chaos. Trump has responded to the rulings with agitation, stating that “free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth.” The New York Times reports that Facebook responded to their ruling in a statement, stating that the company is “‘pleased’ that the board recognized that its barring of Mr. Trump in January was justified. It said it would consider the ruling and ‘determine an action that is clear and proportionate.’”

Liz Cheney May Be Sequestered from G.O.P.

Rep. Liz Cheyney has received backlash from Republican lawmakers in the GOP party due to her public criticisms of former President Donald Trump. After Trump’s insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, she voted to impeach him from office. This vote to impeach Trump increased tensions between Cheyney and the members of the GOP leadership and other Republican lawmakers. Notably, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy questioned Cheyney’s ability to carry out her position in office, stating “I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority.” At the Conservative Political Action Committee, Cheyney was asked if Trump should speak at the conference. She replied, “I’ve been clear in my views about President Trump and the extent to which following Jan. 6 I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.” While her party oppositions have landed Cheyney in controversy, Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted on Tuesday, recognizing her honesty and dedication to her stance: “Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie.”

Olympians And Officials to Be Offered Pfizer Vaccine

The International Olympic Committee announced on Thursday that, in an effort to quell public safety concerns, athletes and official will be offered the Pfizer vaccine before arriving in Japan. Through utilization of domestic inoculation programs, vaccines are to be administered to patients in their home countries. However, there is no requirement for athletes, coaches, officials, or others attending the game to be vaccinated. So far, approximately only 1% of Japan’s residents have been fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times’ database. In a statement put out by the International Olympic Committee, it was notes that “any additional doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken out of existing programs, but will be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world.” Hopefully, the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer will bring celebration, instead of crisis.

Norwegian Air Customers Donate to UNICEF

$3 Million Donated to UNICEF by Norwegian Air Passengers

Customers of Norwegian Air, the World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline and Value Airline of the Year, have donated a total of three million dollars since a donation option was introduced to the booking process in July 2015.

Within its first year, the new donation option raised more than $720,000, and in July 2018, Norwegian introduced onboard donations featured in the personal in-flight entertainment system on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet. American passengers are among the top donors with Californians donating the most to UNICEF.

Norwegian and UNICEF established its signature partnership in 2007. Since then the airline has supported various initiatives, which also includes its “Fill a Plane” campaign, saving hundreds of thousands of children. Five humanitarian flights carried out since 2014 have brought tons of emergency aid to the Central African Republic; the world’s second-largest refugee camp, Za’atari in Jordan; Mali; to Djibouti for relief to Yemen; and last year, to Chad.

Through the booking process customers can choose to donate $3, $5, $10 or $15, which will go directly to UNICEF. Donations can support the following:

  • $3 can provide a life-saving mosquito net, which will protect newborns against malaria;
  • $5 can enable UNICEF to vaccinate 20 children against polio;
  • $10 can provide an entire class of 20 students with exercise books; and
  • $15 can buy 38 packets of therapeutic food – enough for two-weeks of treatment for a malnourished child.

“I would like to personally thank all our wonderful customers for their generosity. Their donations help UNICEF ensure that even more children around the world get access to the future they deserve. When it is this easy to donate, we notice that many more contribute to such a great cause,” said Norwegian’s Founder and CEO, Bjørn Kjos.

“So much of UNICEF’s work is made possible by the ongoing generosity of partners like Norwegian Air,” said Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO, UNICEF USA. “We are incredibly grateful for the support and commitment of Norwegian Air and travelers to help UNICEF continue to put children first around the world. Every donation – large or small – makes a difference.”

Norwegian passengers donate the most as they also represent the largest nationality of the airline’s customer base. Most generous per donation, however, are the Danes. Among American customers, passengers out of Oakland are the most generous per donation (average $5.50 donation), followed by Los Angeles ($5.40) and New Yorkers ($5.08), although in total, more New Yorkers donated as the city is home to most Norwegian routes.

Top 10 routes where passengers have donated the most to UNICEF during their booking process:

1)  London – New York

2)  New York – London

3)  Bergen – Oslo

4)  Oslo – Bergen

5)  Trondheim – Oslo

6)   Los Angeles – London

7)   Stockholm – London

8)   London – Los Angeles

9)   Oslo – London

10) Oslo – Trondheim

Last year, nine Norwegian employees also raised more than $50,000 by representing the airline and UNICEF during the NYC Marathon. This year, another group of employees will do the same.

About Norwegian

Norwegian is the world’s fifth largest low-cost airline and carried over 37 million passengers in 2018. The airline operates more than 500 routes to over 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean, North and South America. Norwegian has a fleet of more than 160 aircraft, with an average age of 3.8 years, making it one of the world’s youngest and “greenest” fleets.

Norwegian has been named the Most Fuel-Efficient Airline on Transatlantic Routes by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) twice. Norwegian has been voted ‘Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline’ by passengers for six consecutive years at the SkyTrax World Airline Awards 2013-2018, along with being named the ‘World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul’ Airline’ for the past four years. Norwegian employs more than 11,000 people worldwide.

Follow @Fly_Norwegian on Twitter, join the discussion on Facebook and keep up with our adventures on Instagram. For more information on Norwegian and its network, visit norwegian.com.

About UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org