As the world turned its eyes to the FIFA World Cup being hosted by an Arab country for the very first time, Egyptian football enthusiasts and music lovers looked forward to the World Cup songs and FIFA soundtracks that would be released in celebration of the event.
On 17 November, the FIFA Fan Festival Anthem, Tukoh Taka, sung by Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj, Colombian artist Maluma, and Lebanese singer and performer Myriam Fares, was released. However, within Egypt and the region, much of the feedback on the song consisted of harsh criticism of Fares’ performance.
View this post on Instagram
Although the song is the first World Cup song to feature Arabic, English, and Spanish lyrics, the Arabic part was heavily criticized by Egyptian listeners. Listeners said the song mirrors the stereotypical perception of Arabs widespread in the West, as Fares is seen dancing in a blue belly dancing costume in the desert, surrounded by men with their faces covered.
“Once I am back to teaching at Lancaster, I will schedule this video clip for my lecture on Orientalism and internalized colonial legacies reinforced by local actors!” tweeted Rahaf Aldoughli, lecturer in Middle East and North African Studies at Lancaster University.
Fares, who sings in a mix of Lebanese and Gulf dialect, was also criticized for attempting to imitate the Latin superstar Shakira in the 2010 world cup song, ‘Waka Waka’, for similarities in dancing styles.
— مها (@maha_alqhatni) November 20, 2022
On the other hand, others offered Fares congratulations and applause for her participation in the FIFA World Cup and for representing the Lebanese and Arab people.
“Great achievement by the Lebanese artist Myriam Fares. Congratulations on reaching the world in your own language and style,” tweeted Joe Attallah.
The song is currently trending number five on YouTube, and has garnered nearly 10 million views in two days.
Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.