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Jan 07, 2022
Wrapping up our Top 10 Week, today's Daily Dose turns its attention to the upcoming faces in the world of arts and culture. Some of the names below you will know. Many you won’t. All of them are doing trailblazing things in their own spheres and are likely to break big in the near future. From models to musicians to social media stars, here, in no order of priority, are the people we recommend you keep an eye on as the year ahead unfolds. Once more, dear reader, we look to you to guide us: send along your top tips for success stories in the world of the arts (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll feature your recommendations here next week. Enjoy the read, and happy Friday!
1 - Ali Malik (comedy)
The son of a Pakistani British mother from London and a father from Pakistan, Ali Malik’s first comedic turn unfolded in that most nonjudgmental of spaces: the shower. The first-generation Americans’ experiences have been similar to many others in his shoes, with his parents spending much of their time working to create a secure future for their children. Now approaching 30 and based in Los Angeles, Malik’s upbringing not only features in his material but also contributed to how he discovered his love for comedy in the first place. Rarely allowed to listen to music as a child, “I was able to download comedy albums instead, and I would obsessively listen,” Malik tells OZY, citing legends like Russell Peters, Dane Cook and Gabriel Iglesias as inspiration.
She is a heavy critic of Barack Obama’s drone strikes, dared to challenge the ethics of Beyoncé and was one of the first rappers to advocate for defunding the police. Plus, there's that very public spat with J.Cole. To say Chicago rapper Noname is on the radical side would be a drastic understatement, but the truth is she just wants … truth. All she cares about is spreading knowledge, which is why she founded Noname’s Book Club to lift up marginalized writers.
3 - Halima Aden (modeling)
The 24-year-old Somali American grabbed headlines by becoming the first model to don a hijab and burkini for the cover ofSports Illustrated. Aden is a genuine trailblazer. She had negotiated a contract that would see her only work with agencies that let her wear the hijab and work only with female stylists. It worked, but only temporarily: In 2020, she quit modeling to protest the industry’s exploitative practices, “taking one for the team,” she says, to help others feel more comfortable about speaking up. Industry issues aside, Aden still hopes to represent Somalia in the Miss Universe pageant. While it would be a first for a contestant to compete while wearing a hijab, that doesn’t scare Aden, who has made a career out of breaking down barriers.
4 - Michaela Coel (acting)
The British daughter of Ghanian immigrants broke through with her Channel 4 sitcom Chewing Gum, a coming-of-age tale about a young Black woman finding her voice and sexuality in “hilariously filthy” fashion, as the Guardian put it. And her 12-episode HBO series, I May Destroy You, quickly became a must-see show. Playing the protagonist, Arabella, Coel tackles the trauma of being sexually assaulted — a battle she fought herself after being drugged and assaulted in 2016. The 34-year-old East London native forces her audience to confront uncomfortable topics, and it’s resonating with British and American viewers alike.
5 - Mickey Guyton (music)
Last year, country superstar Morgan Wallen laid bare the genre’s long-standing problems with race and representation when a video emerged of him shouting a racist slur. It’s the same genre Mickey Guyton has devoted her career to. One of the few Black artists in country, Guyton minted a minor viral hit in 2020 with the personal, passionate and bold “Black Like Me.” It tallied hundreds of thousands of views and streams, but it didn’t make a dent on the country charts. Now Guyton has a second chance to win the song the attention it deserves, with “Remember Her Name” making her the first Black woman to be nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards later this month.
6 - Seema Hari (social media)
In a country where fair skin is an obsession among many, this dark-skinned beauty is going down a different road entirely. Seema Hari is confronting colorism in India’s modeling industry with full force as an ambassador for the advocacy campaign Dark Is Beautiful, a social media presence and as a writer. Growing up, Hari faced bullying and harassment for her dark skin tone. But she didn’t let the naysayers dim her light. Instead, she shines as a model, DJ, activist and engineer. Her Instagram is a gold mine of content celebrating dark skin tones while addressing issues such as India’s caste system and transphobia.
7 - Bobby Cash (music)
As a child growing up in Uttarakhand, Bal Kishore Das Loiwal was immersed in music, and his love of country music was established early thanks to a relative in Nashville who sent the family daily doses of American country tunes. That led to him taking his nicknames, Babu and Kish, and combining them into the stage name “Bobby Cash” before performing his first gig at Rodeo, a Tex-Mex eatery and hub for expats in Delhi, in the ’90s. The managers were so impressed they offered him a regular spot. A member of the audience, an Aussie film producer, reckoned Cash was “fair dinkum” — the real deal — and invited “the Indian Cowboy” to play at the Southern Hemisphere’s hippest country festival in Tamworth, New South Wales. More than two decades later, the unlikely country star, now 61, was included in 2018’s Rockumentary: Evolution of Indian Rock and continues to perform live shows.
8 - Han Shimei (poetry)
The factory cook was sold to her husband by her struggling family. Today, she’s emerging as China’s unlikely new poetry sensation. Each morning, she wakes up in her village in central Henan province to a flood of comments on her musings from the previous day, which she posts on Kuaishou, the popular, TikTok-like app. For Han, the poems are an outlet from a mundane life between the factory and the shoes she crochets in her free time. It turns out her writings are just what many other Chinese people need as the country recovers from recession and the pandemic.
9 - Thuso Mbedu (acting)
Twice nominated for International Emmy Awards, this South African is on the cusp of a Hollywood breakout. Mbedu, 30, generated tons of buzz following the run of the Barry Jenkins series, The Underground Railroad, on Amazon Prime last year and for which she was recognized by the Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards and the Gotham Awards for her compelling performance. But the best is yet to come: Up next is a role alongside Viola Davis in the historical epic, The Woman King, set to screen in September.
10 - Antibalas (music)
Antibalas’ 2021 Grammy nomination was more than a half-century in the making. The versatile New York-based group, which features as many as 19 members, has only been around for two decades, but its music channels the great Fela Kuti — with a dash of kung fu teaching. Starting in the late ’60s, Kuti became Nigeria’s greatest sonic export by pioneering Afrobeat, a hybrid of traditional Yoruba music, funk and jazz. Antibalas’ first Grammy nomination last year, for Best Global Music Album, Fu Chronicles, came in a year when Kuti himself was shortlisted to be enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He ultimately lost out, but is sure to be back.
After a multi-decade career in Hollywood, Julie Delpy has learned more than a few things about what it takes to stay relevant and get paid. First an actor, then a writer, director and producer, Delpy’s got advice for anyone trying to come up in Hollywood today. Her latest project, On the Verge, follows four women as they navigate the highs and lows of their midlife crises. Delpy has fought to tell authentic stories about women for decades, and now she sits down with Carlos Watson to talk about how she got here and where she’s going. Check it out.
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