We need to come to terms with one thing, as MENA region people we feel over the moon when one of us reaches stardom and makes it big in the west. From Mo Salah to Nadine Labaki, we just can’t get enough when we hear their names called for an award or a medal.
Even if they are from an Arab country but have never visited it, we still can’t get enough of Arab and North African artists and celebrities getting recognized by big entities and brands overseas.
Negative connotation aside, this is the case with Mustafa The Poet, whose talent, vision, and words got him to open for one of the biggest fashion houses in the world.
Mustafa Ahmed was born in Toronto, Ontario to Sudanese parents. He performed an original piece called “A Single Rose” when he was in the seventh grade. The piece got a lot of attention, earning him high praises at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in 2009. During this time, Mustafa was known for writing poems about poverty in Africa and the Regent Park, Toronto’s oldest housing project.
He had a rough upbringing in his hometown, where he attended Regent Park Duke of York Public School. Despite his young age, Mustafa was a witness to gun violence and street gangs.
Mustafa first gained recognition in 2014 at the age of 18, by being featured on Lorraine Segato’s single “Rize Time,” a remix of her band’s own song “Rise Up,” in which he performs a spoken word poem on the prelude. He gained national recognition for a poem that was shared by Drake on his Instagram in Jan. 2015 in which he tagged Mustafa. In 2016, Mustafa was appointed to Justin Trudeau’s Youth Advisory Council, advising the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada on policies and programs that are important to them.
On March 10, 2020, Mustafa released his single debut, “Stay Alive.” The single was dedicated to those he’s lost to gun violence and was known for capturing Regent’s Park resiliency. Last year, on May 28, Mustafa released his debut album “When Smoke Rises.” Described as ‘inner-city folk music,’ the album was written and produced with Simon on the Moon and Frank Dukes, along with James Blake, Jaime xx, and Sampha, among others.
All of that and Mustafa is just getting started. His come-up is prevalent to all and we can not wait to witness what the future holds for him.
At Paris Fashion Week, Louis Vuitton presented the last men’s collection designed by its late Artistic Director, Abloh. He designed the fall-winter 2022 collection and its presentation format, which was carried out by the creative teams and collaborators that he continually worked with at the Fashion house. The show unfolded within a mesmerizing sky blue ‘Louis Dreamhouse™’, complete with a surreal arrangement of elements such as a long banquet table, a half-sunken house, a set of stairs, and a bedroom.
The show opened with a cinematic prelude directed by Caleb Femi; the score was composed by Tyler, the creator with arrangements by Arthur Verocaiis, narrated by Mustafa The Poet, and performed by the Chineke! Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, with creative direction by Benji B.
Mustafa posted the video on all his social media. Expressing his gratitude for the amazing opportunity to work on this highly artistic endeavor with other big names. In true Mustafa style, he goes on in the post intellectually explaining how the experience was behind the cinematic video on Virgil’s work saying “I opened Virgil’s final Louis Vuitton show. My gratitude knows no end, Virgil’s essence makes death feel so small, as it should- because it’s every day, and it’s what happens after it and the worlds we build around it that matter most. To know him is to feel seen by him.”