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Selena Gomez Is No Longer Most Followed Celebrity

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Selena Gomez is no longer the ruler of Instagram followers. The 26-year-old singer was dethroned by soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo roughly a month after announcing she was taking a hiatus from the social media platform.

As of Tuesday evening, Ronaldo boasts approximately 144,580,697 Instagram followers — roughly 175,000 more than Gomez, who has been holding the title of “most followed” celebrity Instagram user for the past two years. Gomez replaced Taylor Swift as the most popular Instagram user with more than 103 million followers back in December 2016, according to People.

But Selena loves the buzz and all the attention, and she’s expressed that herself one time: “I love being able to have a say in all of that. Especially having being raised in it.”

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Amr Diab on a Global Display Through Spotify’s Billboard in Times Square

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Spotify continues to show its commitment to the Middle East and North Africa region, this time by proudly projecting an image of Egyptian singer and MENA superstar Amr Diab on a Spotify billboard today, stealing the spotlight in New York City’s Times Square, one of the most iconic neighborhoods and sights in the Big Apple.

In a bid to reach the millions of lovers of Arab music living outside the MENA region, Spotify launched last year with a globally accessible Arab hub as part of their Global Cultures initiative, which is instrumental in connecting the music and culture of the Middle East and North Africa, with listeners everywhere. With Spotify’s global and local editorial team’s collaboration, Diab’s songs were included on various international and regional playlists, where his music continues to spread around the globe.

Diab’s appearance on a Times Square billboard demonstrates Spotify’s dedication to putting MENA talents on the world stage and marks the first time an artist, singing in Arabic, has been featured on this international landmark.

Commenting on the brand’s commitment to supporting regional talent and Arab music, Claudius Boller, Managing Director, Spotify Middle East and Africa, said, “Bringing the world to artists and artists to the world is a fundamental part of what Spotify is about. Experiencing Amr Diab’s devotion to Arabic music for nearly four decades straight and witnessing his fanbase expand across the world is beyond incredible. Today we are celebrating Diab’s legacy and we are proud to see him shine so brightly – literally – on the global stage.”

Whilst Diab’s MENA based fans have proudly followed his decades-long career, he is no stranger to the United States. The legendary artist has been busy projecting his steamy Mediterranean grooves across the world and has a massive listening base in the USA, which became the number one country streaming his music on Spotify, followed by Sweden and Germany.


“Music is a language that speaks emotions and not only words. I am blessed to have touched people around the world with my music,” Amr Diab tells Spotify. “Spotify has allowed so many artists to connect with fans beyond borders and I am glad for that.”

Diab’s global appeal can also be witnessed in Spotify’s latest marketing campaign, which features a series of fun videos set in different places around the world where non-Arabs are attempting to sing along to the icon’s latest and greatest tunes.

“What Amr Diab was doing, from the beginning, really, was look to the Mediterranean for his sound,” explains Saeed Saeed, a prominent music and culture commentator. “He took Arabic pop music into a new direction, so for that he’s deeply important,” Saeed says.

A 2013 tour celebrating Diab’s glorious career saw him playing sold-out concerts as far off as Australia, Romania, and Greece. He was even recognized by Guinness World Records in 2016 for the record-breaking number of trophies he has taken home in the annual World Music Awards.

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Menna Shalaby Will Be Awarded the Faten Hamama Excellence Award at CIFF

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Cairo International Film Festival announced that Egyptian actress Menna Shalaby will be granted the Faten Hamama Excellence Award, on the opening day of the ceremony, in recognition of her remarkable cinematic career.

The opening ceremony of the festival’s 41st edition will take place on November 20 till the 29th, commenting on the announcement, Shalaby said, “in the last few years, I was granted many awards in Egypt and abroad, and even though I value them all and regard them as a drive to resume my artistic career, nothing can compete with being honored at my own country’s biggest festival that will always have a special place in my heart.”

Mohamed Hefzy, president of the CIFF, pointed out that not all actresses can win such a prestigious award and only few can bear the name of the Arab screen’s lady, Faten Hamama.

“When I was starting out as an actress, I used to dream of receiving an invitation to attend the opening ceremony with my name on it, so you can imagine the extent of my joy and pride when, 20 years later, I receive an invitation in the name of the honoree Menna Shalaby. It makes me even happier and prouder that the award bears the name of the exceptional artist Faten Hamama, with whom I am honored to share a profession,” Shalaby said.

 

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Ahmed Amin Will Be the Lead Star of Netflix’s First Egyptian Series ‘Paranormal’

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Netflix has confirmed that Egyptian actor and writer Ahmed Amin will play the lead role of the first Egyptian Netflix series ‘Paranormal.’

The show is a horror series and is scheduled to enter the production phase next month, marking the third Netflix Originals acquisition from the Middle East. 

The streaming giant described the series as its “first foray into Egyptian drama.”

Amin will play the role of Dr Refaat Ismail, who stumbles upon into a series of supernatural events, while trying to unravel the unknown mysteries behind a one of a kind case.

“Amin brings a level of authenticity and a powerful on screen presence that we felt was the ultimate fit for the portrayal of Dr. Refaat Ismail,” said producer and director Amr Salama. “With such a strong local cast paired with striking special effects, we can’t wait to get production underway…”

In an attempt to stay “true to the books,” the series will be shot in locations in Egypt “reflecting Netflix’s commitment to creating authentic Egyptian content for global audiences to enjoy,” the streaming giant said in a statement released on Saturday.

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