Kadim Al Sahir is on the cover of the Fall/Winter 2020 issue of Vogue Man Arabia. The Caesar of Arabic song and Iraq’s ambassador to the world opens up about his road to success, not shying away from the tough times while embracing and appreciating the good. He offers a clear-eyed and honest vision of his journey and heritage, from growing up in poverty in Iraq to singing to millions today. “I was raised in an environment that instilled many good values, such as self-esteem and respect for others,” he shares. “I carried Iraq with me to the most remote corners of the world through my voice, drawing the best picture of it so people can understand that Iraq doesn’t deserve war.”
Photographed in the artist’s residence in Spain, the cover story also focuses on Al Sahir’s passionate work ethic. From crafting songs for more than 20 years before releasing them (“Zidini Eshqan” was composed when he was 16 but only released when he was 36), to tattooing the melody of his hit “Madrasat Al Hob” on his chest (composed during 42 days of bombing of Iraq) to ensure the song would not be lost even if the manuscript was, Al Sahir shows a dedication to his craft that few contemporaries can rival.
The new issue also targets the topics of male toxicity and mental health. “Revealing vulnerability is at the heart of reframing masculinity,” says editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. “In 2016, the World Health Organization reported an estimated 793 000 deaths by suicide worldwide. Of those, the vast majority were men,” he says. “It is time for men to embrace their psychological well-being.” We speak to experts to find out how men can start talking about mental health and reaching out for help, which will have far-reaching consequences not only for men, but for the world. One of the most damaging effects of toxic masculinity is domestic and gender-based violence, an issue woefully under-explored and exposed in the region. We look at the causes and possible solutions for this scourge, which is, ultimately, men’s responsibility to eliminate.
Also in this issue, Emirati entrepreneurs embrace their heritage and talk about their business, including perfumer Asim Al Qassim, luxury shoe designer Salem Thani Al Remeithi, and serial entrepreneur Anas Bukhash, who believes “Impossible is nothing. The attitude of the UAE is of a go-getter country.” Riyadh-based creative director and design consultant Koran Dasoar reveals his eclectic taste, and we explore the thriving world of gaming and esports in Saudi Arabia – and how some players are raking in big cash prizes. Further afield in the region, Saudi new face model Domie Alsalim and Saudi photographer Hayat Osamah unveil fashion’s new mood in the Kingdom they call home, while regional designers offer a fresh spin on wardrobe staples.