This is one of my favorite issues. I likely say that often; however, I’m so serious this time.
Sometimes when we choose a destination to cover, we really don’t know much about that country except for the fact that we want to go! As the editor, it’s my job to dig, plan and dole out assignments. I research culture, history and art, contact scholars and professors and figure out all of the places Griots Republic readers would want to visit while traveling there.
While researching for this issue, I came across a theatre production entitled “Malcolm X Speaks” at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Of course, this information sent me down a rabbit hole. I needed to learn more about Malcolm’s time in Beirut. Enter Daniel Drennan ElAwar, founder of the artists’ collective Jamaa Al-Yad. His insight on the production and on Malcolm X’s time in Beirut was immense and I thought, “I’ve gotta get him to write for GR!” Thankfully, we got him.
Of course, Malcolm in Beirut lead me to other crossing points in Lebanese and Black American culture and history. I quickly found Ralph Johns and his work with the Greensboro Four, then an excellent article about how the Lebanese became white, by Dr. Akram Fouad Khater, a professor of history at North Carolina State University. I always assume, sometimes poorly, that if I love the information, then you’ll at least like. So I contacted Dr. Khater immediately and well…he’s in this issue too.
I could go on and on about all of the historical and cultural information I found on Lebanon and how it endeared me to the country even more. But know that at some point I had to dig myself out of that rabbit hole. Not everyone travels to learn about history. Enter Food, Tattoos, Fashion, Poetry, Cosplay, and Clubbing. Oh, Yea! All of that is in this issue too, with a dash of sightseeing!
I’m loving it and as usual, the staff hopes that you’ll love it too. Send us a note and let us know.