CHICAGO: The Ray Hanania Radio Show, a weekly program sponsored by Arab News, kicked off its third season on Thursday with an explosive episode last night. It featured as its first guest Syrian American Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah, who was controversially banned from the White House Eid celebration.
During his appearance on the show, Khairullah slammed President Joe Biden, saying it is his responsibility to end the “racism” and “discrimination” against Muslims and Arabs that is a part of the system.
The Ray Hanania Radio Show, which first aired in October 2020 ahead of the US elections at the time, hosts a wide array of guests tackling crucial topics in the Arab world.
One such topic tackled this season is the recent Netflix docuseries controversy surrounding the casting of Adele James, a Black actress, as Cleopatra, whom historians agree was of Greek origin.
The furor came from Egyptians and other Arabs accusing the producers of the film of appropriating their culture. The Ray Hanania Radio Show thus hosted world-renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass who set the facts straight.
“Cleopatra was a Macedonian…I really think that the reason this film is shown now (is) because some people want to say that the origins of Ancient Egypt were Black,” he said on the show, adding, “I don’t think it is fair to make a documentary to show that Cleopatra was Black. This is changing history.”
Continuing with the topic of Arab representation in Hollywood was Arab News’ very own Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas.
On the show, Abbas cited Arab American writer and academic Jack Shaheen and his book “Reel Bad Arabs,” which says that, out of 1,000 films, Arabs were only presented or portrayed positively in 12 percent of them.
“As Arabs, we should not wait for Hollywood, and we should not wait for people with Orientalist agendas to tell our story. We should be the masters of our own destiny, we should be the masters of our own storytelling,” Abbas said.
“I’ll tell you one more thing before we conclude. Actions speak louder than words.”
The Ray Hanania Radio Show is broadcast live on WNZK AM 690 Radio in Greater Detroit and on WDMV AM 700 in Washington D.C. every Wednesday at 5pm EST / 12am KSA, also available on all Arab News podcast channels.