The Middle Geeks Episode 17: MENA in the Stars and Middle Earth

We’re excited to have on TV writer, blogger, and Star Wars fan Arezou Amin on to discuss the long history of MENA people being excluded from Science Fiction and Fantasy media. Why are we constantly ousted from stories that were, in fact, inspired by works based on the Middle East and our culture? Where could we even find ourselves? We discuss Arezou’s project with Postcards from the Galaxy’s Edge featuring Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Star Wars fans, and what she and the podcast hoped to achieve with it. We also discuss various DCTV news, including the Legends of Tomorrow panel at DC FanDome and the future of Zari and Behrad Tarazi in Season 6, Supergirl ending with Season 6, and Caity Lotz’s bufoonish tweets, and the news that Alia Shawkat is creating and starring in a series based on her family’s Iraqi immigrant experience!

Continue reading “The Middle Geeks Episode 17: MENA in the Stars and Middle Earth”

The Middle Geeks Episode 8: The State of MENA Representation in Hollywood and Star Wars

It’s the most wonderful time of the year on The Middle Geeks! Star Wars time! But is it really though, with the latest release of The Rise of Skywalker? Swara and Mae discuss, getting into what they liked about the film, as well as the issues they had with it and the Sequel Trilogy as a whole. Note that this is a SPOILER discussion. But before that, we get into the month of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) representation highs and lows, from the high of having an Arab-American hero introduced to Marvel Comics to the low of Aladdin star Mena Massoud not getting a single audition due to Hollywood racism, even after his film made a billion dollars. We still have a long way to go!

Continue reading “The Middle Geeks Episode 8: The State of MENA Representation in Hollywood and Star Wars”

The Middle Geeks Episode 2: ‘Jinn’ and Teenagers Kissing, Oh My!

In the second-ever episode of The Middle Geeks, we cover Netflix’s new original series Jinn, their first ever Arabic language series! Did we enjoy it? Did it present an authentic Middle Eastern experience? Should we be outraged by teenagers kissing as many in Jordan apparently are? Additionally, we talk about how we’ve been enjoying DCTV this season on the CW, what we think it could do better, and what we’re looking forward to. Enjoy!

We are a proud member of the Hard NOC podcast family.

Continue reading “The Middle Geeks Episode 2: ‘Jinn’ and Teenagers Kissing, Oh My!”

Welcome to The Middle Geeks!

Welcome to The Middle Geeks! In our very first episode, Mae and Swara introduce the podcast and discuss our feelings on Middle East and North African (MENA) representation in popular media. We also review the live action remakes of Aladdin, discussing what we think it did well, how it could have done better, and how the unfortunate Orientalism of the film conveys how Disney and the rest of Hollywood need to do better on Middle Eastern inclusion.

We are a proud member of the Hard NOC podcast family.

Continue reading “Welcome to The Middle Geeks!”

‘Aladdin’ Cast and Creatives on Adding Inclusive Stories for Women and People of Color

Disney’s Aladdin will be the first live-action Disney film that showcases people of color in starring roles. The cast and creatives of the film know this and appreciate the effort. Starring Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud as the title character, British Indian Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and Will Smith as the Genie, Disney wanted to be sure the characters in the beloved story represented the Aladdin origin story (which also included East and South Asian origins) as well as the animated film.

“I think it is critically important to be able to pull stories and colors and textures and tastes from around the world,” said Smith during the Aladdin press conference. “I think that in this particular time in the world, that kind of inclusion and diversity will be a critical part of turning our connectivity, because we have more connectivity than ever, but transitioning that connectivity into harmony is going to be really critical. And, I think these kinds of interactions in these types of movies are a powerful global service. It was critical and important to me. I spent a lot of time in the Middle East also. So this one particularly was critically important in that way.”

Continue reading “‘Aladdin’ Cast and Creatives on Adding Inclusive Stories for Women and People of Color”

Hard NOC Life: A Whole New Podcast

With Disney’s live action remake of Aladdin about to hit theaters worldwide, Keith is joined by Swara Salih and Mae Abdulbaki to discuss the film’s issues with representation and announce The Middle Geeks their new podcast on the Hard NOC Media network!

Continue reading “Hard NOC Life: A Whole New Podcast”

The Live Action ‘Aladdin’ Doubles Down on Orientalist and Colorist Trends

Aladdin is one of my favorite films of all time. It gave me, as a brown Middle Eastern kid, heroic representation that’s always stayed with me. I’ve already written at length for about my overall very complicated feelings on the live action remake. While the new trailer is solid, it’s also given more insight into the problematic trends this live action movie seems to perpetuate. Overall, I have little to no confidence that this film will improve upon the problematic aspects of the original (besides the welcome addition of having people of color play the main roles), and in fact will double down on more troubling aspects.

Continue reading “The Live Action ‘Aladdin’ Doubles Down on Orientalist and Colorist Trends”