By Sarah Zahaf
With the COVID-19 crisis still ongoing and with many of us staying at home as a result, there is no time like the present to explore YouTube channels to keep us entertained, motivated and inspired. Here at Sekka, we have cultivated a list of nine different Youtube channels from the Arab Gulf States that you can binge watch this year, the contents of which vary from travel and lifestyle vlogs to personal discussions to interview-based shows.
The Anas Bukhash Channel
The most watched videos on this channel are those under the segment of “#ABtalks”, a 2019 YouTube show created and produced by Anas Bukhash, an Emirati host, entrepreneur and speaker. Each episode is a raw interview between Anas and a guest about the guest’s childhood, personal background, career and more, shining a light on the personal lives of government officials, celebrities and social media influencers that is often not visible to the public. Previous guests have included the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs Noura Al Kaabi, Kuwaiti social media influencer and entrepreneur Ascia Al Shammari, Palestinian TV host and journalist Mustafa Al Agha and Egyptian actress Nour Al Ghandour. Between 20 minutes to an hour and a half long, episodes of the show, which are called “Chapters,” have mainly been conducted in Arabic; however there are also English subtitles and English episodes available on the channel.
The Omar Farooq Channel
This YouTube channel was created and produced by Omar Farooq, a Bahraini filmmaker taking the Arab world by storm, and has become most famous for his“Omar Tries” videos, which showcase his experiences of trying out different professions or activities. In some of his most recent videos, Omar documents his experiences as a flower seller, tv host and a beekeeper. On this channel, Omar also documents his visits to unusual locations. Over the last year, for example, he took us on an exploration of a COVID-19 infested Bahrain and a post-blast Beirut. His videos are primarily in Arabic and are under an hour long.
The Thmanyah Channel
Thmanyah, which translates to ‘Eight’ in Arabic, is a new media platform that was founded by Saudi entrepreneur Abdulrahman Abumaleh in 2015. On its YouTube channel, Thmanyah presents informative and entertaining content through its various segments and programs, which include the “Sowalif Business” program, the “Socrates” program and the “Fnjan” program. Hosted by Mashour Al Debian, the “Sowalif Business: program highlights the journeys of Saudi businessmen and women from different sectors. The “Socrates” program, hosted by Omar Al Jeraisy, is dedicated to discussing the changes that Saudi Arabia is undergoing. The “Fnjan” program, the most popular of all the programs, is hosted by Thmanyah’s founder and tackles a wide range of topics, from the making of Khaleeji soap operas to the importance of providing sexual education in schools. All of the aforementioned programs, which are available in Arabic only, can also be tuned into through podcast formats. Also on the channel are the Thmanyah documentary films, which include documentary films about the lives of Malcolm X and Edward Said as told by their surviving family members and friends.
The Fly With Haifa Channel
This vlog-based channel by the Dubai-based Palestinian traveler, TV host, fashion designer and self-proclaimed dreamer Haifa Beseisso is dedicated to documenting her travels all over the world, as well as covering lifestyle topics. Haifa started this channel in 2014, after she quit her job and decided to roam the globe in order to shatter stereotypes about the Middle East and highlight our common humanity. Since then, she has visited tens of countries, introducing us to different cultures and people along the way and sharing her different experiences in each with us, which have ranged from eating bugs in South Korea to visiting refugee camps in Jordan. Her lifestyle vlogs cover a variety of topics, such as the secret to confidence and how to think like a millionaire. Haifa’s vlogs are primarily in Arabic, but many feature English subtitles.
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The Hala Kazim Channel
“Hala & Life” is a YouTube show hosted and produced by Hala Kazim, an Emirati host, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. In this recently created segment on her YouTube channel, Hala Kazim, she features special guests to talk about socially important topics that are not often widely discussed in society. These have included guests who have talked about their personal experiences with various hard-hitting topics, ranging from sexual assault to addiction to adoption. Each episode is 15 minutes to two hours long. Her episodes are most often hosted in Arabic, however, they also feature English subtitles, and some episodes have been conducted in English.
Hala also offers other videos on her channel, Hala Kazim, apart from “Hala & Life.” On her segment “Journey to Change,” she talks about and explains to her audience various topics ranging from reactions in certain situations to receiving compliments to noticing red flags.
The Fahad Sal Channel
If you are looking to be entertained and to enjoy a few laughs, then look no further than Fahad Sal’s channel. The young Saudi’s vlog-based channel was launched in 2011, and features a wide range of topics and his personal experiences, from his weight loss journey to learning about the dialects of different Arab countries, all of which are presented in a light and comedic style. Most recently, Fahad explored trying out dishes various Arab countries are known for. The vlogs on this channels are primarily in Arabic and are usually under 15 minutes long.
The Jalsat Karak Channel
“Jalsat Karak”—Arabic for “Karak Session”— is an Oman-based YouTube channel that was launched only a year ago. The channel is home to an interview-based show of the same name hosted by Mohammed Al-Hinai, which features guests that discuss a variety of topics, including the realities of journalism in Oman and the difference between celebrities and social media influencers. Guests have included Omani journalist Fatima Al-Arimi, Omani designer Hajar Belouchi and Omani artist Mohammed Al Kindi (who is more famously known as “Chendy”). Episodes range from 30 minutes to an hour and a half long, and are also available in podcast format for those on the go.
The Lulu Al Khattaf Channel
Like the Fly With Haifa and Fahad Sal channels, Lulwa (Lulu) Al Khattaf’s YouTube channel is also a vlog-based channel. Through her vlogs, Lulwa, who is a travel and lifestyle vlogger from Kuwait, documents her life and experiences traveling the world. The vlogs on her channel are mainly categorized on the basis of the countries she has visited, which include Mexico,Turkey, Poland and Hungary. Through her vlogs, she unveils the activities, culture, monuments, hidden locations visitors to the country could explore. One of her vlogs in Turkey, for example, showcases a mall just for veiled for women. Her channel is a great way to escape the reality of our current world by traveling across the globe through her videos. All her videos are in Arabic, and are under an hour long.
The Shog Al Maskery Channel
This channel documents the experiences, thoughts and questions of Ashwaq (Shog) Al Maskery, a 27-year-old Omani Creator for Change on YouTube whose real face we intriguingly never get to see. One of Ashwaq’s most famous segments on her channels is her #Perspective segment, in which she asks the Omani youth for their opinions on topics of importance to them, including feminism and women’s rights, social media activism and beauty standards. In her solo videos, Shog also sheds a light on issues such as dealing with overwhelming positivity and self-love and acceptance. All videos are primarily in Arabic and are under 20 minutes long.
Sarah Zahaf is a Chinese-Algerian writer and a student studying International Relations and English at the American University of Sharjah. She is passionate about diversity in culture, arts and literature. She is currently interning at Sekka.
The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.