Lebanese director Nadine Labaki enters Oscar race for film ‘Capernaum’

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki has entered the Academy Awards for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ for her for 2018 drama “Capernaum.”

The film, which has received international acclaim, follows the story of a destitute Beirut boy who files a lawsuit against his parents for raising him into a life of pain and suffering.

Labaki confirmed the Oscar submission with a post on Facebook.

“We are incredibly honored to represent (Lebanon) in this year’s best foreign language (Oscar) race,” she wrote. “This is a film from the heart – and we’re very grateful for everyone who supported the film and its message.”

RELATED: Sony Pictures acquires Lebanese film “Capernaum” ahead of Cannes

In May, Labaki made history as the first Arab woman to win the prestigious ‘Jury Prize’ during the Cannes Film Festival in France. She was also the second Arab woman to be in the running for the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes festival.

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki said she is proud to represent Lebanon in this year's Oscar race. (File photo)
Lebanese director Nadine Labaki said she is proud to represent Lebanon in this year’s Oscar race. (File photo)

Labaki received a 15-minute standing ovation at the premiere of ‘Capernaum’ at Cannes. She told Agence France Presse that she feels strongly about the political and social messages in the film.

“I’m thinking of the notion of borders, of having to have papers to exist, of being completely excluded from the system if you don’t have them,” Labaki said. “(I’m thinking) of the maltreatment of children, modern slavery, immigrant workers, Syrian immigrants — all these issues where people find themselves completely excluded from the system because it is not capable of finding solutions.”

Rapper Cardi B wears two dresses by Lebanese designers to VMA’s

Cardi B turned heads at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards while wearing gowns by not one, but two Lebanese designers.

It was her first red carpet appearance since giving birth to her daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus who was born on July 10, according to Rolling Stone.

The New York native and rapper marked the occasion by stepping out onto the red carpet in a fitted velvet dress made by Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran.

Cardi B wore a fuschia dress by Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran. (MTV Press)
Cardi B wore a fuschia dress by Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran. (MTV Press)

Jebran is a haute couture designer who was born in Lebanon and has gained global renown. According to the designer’s website, his work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, and he has gone on to style Mariah Carey, Janelle Monae, Kendall Jenner and more.

Later in the evening, Cardi B accepted the Best New Artist award in a gorgeous strapless red dress artfully cut to flare out in rippling waves by Beirut-based label Azzi and Osta.

Cardi B wore a red strapless dress by Lebanese designer Azzi and Osta. (MTV Press)
Cardi B wore a red strapless dress by Lebanese designer Azzi and Osta. (MTV Press)

The Azzi and Osta fashion house was established by designers George Azzi and Assaad Osta, both honed their fashion skills by enrolling in the international fashion education group Esmod Beyrouth in 2004 and went on to become assistant designers at the fashion house of legendary Lebanese fashion behemoth Elie Saab, according to their website.

Cardi B is best known for her recent hit “I Like It” and U.S. Billboard Hot 100 topper “Bodak Yellow.”

Lebanese-American singer Bazzi performs at MTV Video Music Awards

Lebanese American singer Bazzi — a rising star in the Billboard charts — performed Monday at the MTV Video Music Awards during a pre-show event.

Andrew Bazzi, 20, known professionally as ‘Bazzi,’ is best known for his song “Mine,” which peaked at number 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Bazzi also gained popularity when his hit song appeared as part of a Snapchat lens filter.

Bazzi arrives on the red carpet during the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (MTV Press)
Bazzi arrives on the red carpet during the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (MTV Press)

The rising artist was born in Dearborn, Michigan, home to one of the largest populations of Arab Americans outside of the Middle East.

During an April interview with USA Today, Bazzi spoke out against President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration.

“I’m very heavy into that culture,” he told USA Today in April. “It’s so incorrect what’s going on (politically), and I think it’s good for Lebanese-Americans to have someone they can look at and let them know that someone’s supporting them.”

Bazzi performs 'Mine' at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (MTV Press)
Bazzi performs ‘Mine’ at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (MTV Press)

Bazzi began his singing career in 2012 when he began posting covers of songs on his YouTube channel. In November 2014, he moved to the Los Angeles area to pursue music full time.

He released his debut studio album Cosmic in 2018.

WATCH: Bazzi Performs ‘Mine’ at MTV Video Music Awards Pre-Show:

Celine Dion wears power suit by Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz

Iconic singer Celine Dion wore a bright yellow power suit by Lebanese fashion designer Rabih Kayrouz during a visit to Southeast Asia.

The Canadian songstress posed for an Instagram photo while sitting on the edge of a window in Bangkok, Thailand.

Dion was in the country as part of her 2018 tour in seven cities across the Asia-Pacific region.

In an Instagram post, Dion said her power suit was designed by fashion house Maison Rabih Kayrouz, which was established in Paris in 2008.

Dion also recognized the other designers in the Instagram post, including her Prada shoes and earrings, Chloe sunglasses and Jennifer Fisher earrings.

Celine Dion wore a yellow power suit made by a Lebanese designer during a visit to Thailand. (Instagram/Celine Dion)
Celine Dion wore a yellow power suit made by a Lebanese designer during a visit to Thailand. (Instagram/Celine Dion)

Designer Rabih Kayrouz was born in Lebanon and immigrated to Paris to study at a well-known fashion school in Paris. He returned to Lebanon and specialized in designing evening gowns and wedding dresses.

In 2015, Kayrouz moved back to Paris to open his own design house, which is located at 38 Boulevard Raspail in Downtown Paris.

VIDEO: Luciana Zogbi combines four trending songs in beautiful mashup!

Lebanese-Brazilian singer Luciana Zogbi combined four trending songs from the Billboard Hot 100 list on a beautiful mashup video posted on YouTube.

The singer included the songs:

  • Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” featuring Cardi B
  • Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood”
  • Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss”
  • Post Malone’s “Better Now”

WATCH: Luciana Zogbi combines four trending songs in beautiful mashup!

The independent multilingual singer shot to fame in 2014 after her cover of John Legend’s “All of Me” went viral, garnering more than 76 million views worldwide.

Zogbi has nearly 200 million combined video views on YouTube, and 1.8 million subscribers.

Lebanese-Brazilian singer Luciana Zogbi is known for her YouTube channel, which has more than 200 million total video views. (Facebook/Luciana Zogbi)
Lebanese-Brazilian singer Luciana Zogbi is known for her YouTube channel, which has more than 200 million total video views. (Facebook/Luciana Zogbi)

RELATED: WATCH: Lebanese-Brazilian singer back with amazing mashup!

She most recently explored a mashup with lyrics from Havana, Mi Gna, Mi Gente, New Rules, Strip That Down and IDGAF.

Vote for this Lebanese-Canadian beauty for Miss Universe Canada!

A Lebanese-Canadian beauty is competing in the Miss Universe Canada competition on Aug. 18 in Toronto.

Rita Houkayem is one of 46 contestants hoping to clinch the Miss Universe Canada title, and move on to the global Miss Universe Pageant.

Lebanese-Canadian beauty Rita Houkayem is one of 46 contestants hoping to become Miss Universe Canada. (Facebook/Rita Houkayem)
Lebanese-Canadian beauty Rita Houkayem is one of 46 contestants hoping to become Miss Universe Canada. (Facebook/Rita Houkayem)

Houkayem, who speaks four languages, holds a master’s degree in International Affairs. She works as a policy analyst for the Canadian government, where she focuses on information and communications technologies.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Height: 5’9
  • Hometown: Toronto, ON
  • Languages: English, French, Arabic, Spanish
  • Occupation: Public Servant

In an interview with Miss Universe Canada, Houkayem expressed pride in her Lebanese roots.

“I have also visited Lebanon numerous times and have fallen in love with it after every trip. It is one of the most intriguing places in the world as it has experienced centuries of conquest and turmoil but remains as one of the most vibrant places. Fun fact, it is the home of the Phoenicians, the civilization that created the foundation for the modern Alphabet and is characterized by charming ancient cities such as Byblos, which is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. To me, this little country conveys a message of hope and resiliency to the world, inhabiting people from eighteen different religious sects, coexisting peacefully despite all their differences.”

In the future, Houkayem hopes to become an international leader in education and development, and a UN ambassador for youth and women.

VOTE HERE: Rita Houkayem for Miss Universe Canada.

France’s former first lady performs at Beiteddine Art Festival in Lebanon

France’s former first lady Carla Bruni performed during the Beiteddine Art Festival at the 200-year-old Beiteddine Palace in Lebanon’s Chouf Mountains.

Bruni, who is married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was invited to perform during the event, which bills itself as “one of the leading festivals in the Middle East.” It was her first visit to Lebanon.

“Thank you beautiful Beirut for your warm welcome,” Bruni posted on Instagram.

The Italian-French singer-songwriter and supermodel is promoting her album “French Touch,” which was released in October 2017.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy was also spotted supporting his wife on an Instagram photo posted by the Beiteddine Art Festival.

The Beiteddine Art Festival posted a photo on Instagram showing former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attending the concert in Lebanon. (Beiteddine Art Festival)
The Beiteddine Art Festival posted a photo on Instagram showing former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attending the concert in Lebanon. (Beiteddine Art Festival)

The festival was attended by several Lebanese officials, including former President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

According to its website, the art festival is held in July and August, and celebrates the music and cultural contributions of Lebanese artists and global stars.

RELATED: Shakira brings her children to Lebanon ahead of concert!

Born in Italy, Bruni is best known for her career as one of Europe’s top models. In the 1990s, the 50-year-old superstar delved into singing and songwriting.

Lebanese singer Elissa reveals battle with breast cancer in music video

Lebanese superstar Elissa revealed her battle with breast cancer in an emotional music video for her latest single, “Ila Kol Elli Bihebbouni,” or “For All Those Who Love Me.”

Elissa shared parts of her journey in the 7-minute video, published by Arab record label Rotana.

The video starts with a clip of Elissa undergoing an MRI scan in December 2017.

“You know that moment when you wonder, ‘Will I ever see the people I love again? Those who love me back?'” she said.

The chilling narration shows the incredible courage of the 46-year-old singer, who still hosted performances during her battle with breast cancer.

WATCH: Elissa reveals battle with breast cancer in emotional music video:

“I do my radiotherapy session, I got to the studio, I finish another session,” Elissa recalled. “I rest for two hours, and go to the studio again. Once a week, I was going live on TV.”

The music video is the first time Elissa revealed her battle with cancer to fans.

The music video begins with video of Elissa undergoing an MRI scan. (Rotana)
The music video begins with video of Elissa undergoing an MRI scan. (Rotana)

“I’ve recovered, I’ve beaten the illness and I won,” she said. “Early detection of breast cancer can save your life.”

RELATED: WATCH: Elissa music video hits 3 million views in first week

On Instagram, the superstar said she wanted the video to be an inspirational message that cancer can be fought.

“This music video shouldn’t make you cry. It’s a reason to smile, be happy, and grateful,” she said. “We can fight cancer if we know about it in early stages. I love you all.”

Elissa, whose real name is Elissar Zakaria Khoury, is a popular Lebanese recording artist, and the first Lebanese singer to receive the World Music Award for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist in 2006.

She has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.

VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel’s hilarious exchange with a tourist from Beirut

A Lebanese tourist didn’t seem to recognize late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel when he walked up to her and introduced himself, the late-night star recalled during a recent monologue.

The tourist was taking a photo of Kimmel’s Hollywood star when the host decided to walk up to her and make her day. But it didn’t go as planned!

The fan was taking a picture of Jimmy Kimmel's Hollywood star when he approached her. (YouTube screen grab)
The fan was taking a picture of Jimmy Kimmel’s Hollywood star when he approached her. (YouTube screen grab)

He approached the woman and said, “Hi, I’m Jimmy Kimmel.”

The woman replied, “No you’re not!”

He asked where she is from, and she replied Beirut.

“You know, I am Jimmy Kimmel,” he said again.

“You wish you had his money,” she replied.

RELATED: Actress Shannon Elizabeth: I’m proud of the Lebanese side of my life

Kimmel said he was heading to the movie theatre when he noticed the woman and her child taking a photo of his star. He thought it would be a fun surprise to come up to them.

“I think I might need to hire a publicist in Beirut,” Kimmel joked.

WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel says a Lebanese fan didn’t believe he was Jimmy Kimmel:

Mia Khalifa to undergo surgery after hockey puck smashes into breast

Former Lebanese adult film star Mia Khalifa will undergo surgery after a hockey puck smashed into her left breast and ruptured her implant, the New York Post reported.

Khalifa was watching the Washington Capitals during a playoff game when a hockey puck came flying over the glass and toward her chest.

“It caught me so off guard and I had no idea it was coming,” the former porn star told Daily Star Online. “I grabbed my chest and I didn’t want to let go, because I felt like if I did let go blood was going to be everywhere.”

Khalifa, 25, said she plans to undergo surgery and repair the “deflated” implant at the start of next year.

She posted a photo on Instagram and wrote, “The good news is, I got a game used puck from a Capitals Stanley cup playoff game. Worth it.”

A standard hockey puck weighs between 5.5 and 6 ounces.

“They’re really heavy, it’s pure rubber, they go at about 80 mph,” Khalifa added. “My left breast is slightly deflated now.”

Former Lebanese porn star Mia Khalifa is set to undergo surgery after a hockey puck smashed into her left breast and damaged an implant. (Instagram/Mia Khalifa)
Former Lebanese porn star Mia Khalifa is set to undergo surgery after a hockey puck smashed into her left breast and damaged an implant. (Instagram/Mia Khalifa)

Khalifa said she left the porn industry after receiving death threats from terror groups, and called her porn career a “huge mistake.” She now co-hosts the Sportsball podcast on RoosterTeeth.com.

RELATED: Lebanese porn star Mia Khalifa sparks controversy in Lebanon

Her short stint in porn caused a stir in Lebanon after her parents announced they would disassociate themselves from her.

“It all started to spiral out of control when the death threats from ISIS started coming in,” Mia told disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong in an interview. “That’s when I stepped away.”