Working while Arab

The Arab American News has an interesting profile on Egyptian-American TV director Asaad Kelada, who has undoubtedly left an imprint on the lives of many in America and around the world.


What stood out to me what that this was a man involved in the arts. While speaking with Belly's publicist before interviewing him, she remarked to me that it was hard to find an Arab-centric publication or outlet that wasn't mired in all things political. I know that once, at an event at the Egyptian embassy while I was still undergrad, when I was asked what my major was and I replied "Music Business, Writing and Race and Ethnic studies..." my father chimed in "but then she will get a MBA and then she will go to law school..." Really? News to me! The person with whom we were speaking said "Well, she should do law school if she wants to, but the world needs music, too."


Arabs have produced some of the greatest writers and some of the most frequently emulated music of all time, so why is it that so many of us are pushed to go into careers that are thought of as traditionally respectable? The doctor/teacher/lawyer/banker model of success, if you will. Given that Arabs sometimes seem to have disappeared from the arts, it was nice to read about somebody who veered from the norm and delved into my beloved entertainment industry. Make sure you check it out.

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About Josephine Zohny

Josephine Zohny was born to an Italian-American mother and an Egyptian-born father in Pittsburgh, PA. She grew up in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and moved to New York City shortly before the September 11th attacks to attend college. She received a B.A. in Music Business, Writing (Creative Non-fiction) and Race and Ethnic Studies from NYU in 2005. She is currently the Director of Entertainment Publicity for WeRoqq Publicity and Promotion, primarily representing hip-hop and r&b artists. Her writings on music, pop culture and critical race theory have appeared on, EURWeb and in Colorlines and Z!nk, among other outlets and publications. She is intensely interested in the issues of ethnic identity as it pertains to Arabs, both in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in the diaspora. Her personal blog can be found at

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