Let’s go! YallaPunk’s Rana Fayez on building community and thriving in 2018
Founded in 2017, YallaPunk is an intersectional, trans-affirming performance festival and conference which celebrates the creative achievements of Middle Eastern and North African people in Philly and beyond. Here Imani Roach chats with YallaPunk’s founder, DJ and journalist Rana Fayez, about what to expect from this year’s festival (August 31 - September 2).

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Rana Fayez, DJ, journalist and YallaPunk founder. (Image via generocity.org)
Rana Fayez, DJ, journalist and YallaPunk founder. (Image via generocity.org)

Growing up in Southwest Virginia, as the child of Arab immigrants, Rana Fayez got involved in the local punk music scene by attending basement shows. Needless to say, she knows what it feels like to be the only person in the room who looks like her. Maybe that’s why she has been so successful at building a community for people who rarely feel seen, let alone welcome. While she founded YallaPunk in 2017 as a festival to combat negative portrayals of North African and Middle Eastern people, she has grown it into a much-needed local community with a global impact. She was kind enough to sit down with me during the ramp-up to this year’s festival, which happens August 31-September 2nd at venues throughout the city, to talk about migrant histories, making space for queer voices and more. How does the name “YallaPunk” encapsulate Fayez’s mission? Listen to find out. Imani interviewed Rana at CultureWorks on August 17th, 2018; the podcast is 28 minutes long.

For tickets or other information about this year’s Festival, visit the YallaPunk website.

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