Saudi Influencer Alaa Balkhy Launched an Arab Creatives Directory

2020 has been the year of unprecedented change, but also of revolution. The Arab world has taken note from the BLM movement, not only in support of it but also creating its own movement in the Arab community. It’s exactly this newfound call for change that has catapulted Alaa Balkhy to take a stance. The NYC and Jeddah-based creative has been one of many to speak out against the misrepresentation of Arabs within the Middle Eastern media landscape – an industry largely dominated by non-Arabs despite the fact that they’re catering to an Arab audience.

Image: @alaa

Since the start of the BLM movement, MENA creatives have also been taking the time to look within and remind the world that there is also a major issue in their own community. From photographers to directors, stylists to artists, journalists to producers, Arab creatives are beginning to speak out against the tokenism and misrepresentation of their own. They are also highlighting how brands and mainstream media and publications are not doing their job to bring Arab talent to light, preferring major brands or non-Arab brands instead.

Following in the footsteps of revelations made by instagram account @saifhid, who has been using his platform to call out big players such as Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Cosmopolitan Middle East and more, Alaa Balkhy came up with another amazing break. She had the idea to create an online directory via Google Forms that compiles a comprehensive list of established and emerging Arab creatives. She posted about the directory with the caption “No more excuses,” meaning that brands and publications simply can’t continue coming up with excuses for not hiring local talent.

Image: @saifhid

Balkhy is no stranger to speaking out – in fact, she even founded Minnana, an Arabic podcast that carves out a space for Arab women to speak their mind, and is constantly doing her part to hold the industry accountable for its racism.

The list has garnered over 1500 submissions, meaning it’s the most complete list to date. In it you can find the names and contacts for almost any kind of Arab creative, from Art Directors to Fashion Designers and Photographers, the list goes on. There are more than enough names to choose from for any brand’s next project. So now, there truly is no more excuse.

By: Helena Devincenti

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