Mustafa by Joseph Marshall



Mustafa shares new single “Gaza is Calling,” which arrives today alongside a Hiam Abbas-directed music video. The song, which was written in 2020, chronicles the story of one of Mustafa’s childhood friendships that was affected by the kind of violence perpetrated against working-class communities worldwide and the plight specific to Palestinians. All net proceeds of “Gaza is Calling” will benefit the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund.

Speaking about the song, Mustafa shares:

Gaza is Calling is about my first experience with heartbreak in friendship. I was 11 when I met this boy from Gaza. We were inseparable. With him I shared one of the deepest loves I’ve ever known, he grew up alongside me in a housing project in Toronto. And not even this love was a match for the violence we were up against; the one in our new home, the one that followed him from Gaza like a cold wind. In the end it was all the bloodshed between us that didn’t allow us to see each other without tears appearing, and one of the last notes he sent to me was about how we would continue on in another life.

The string sample is the Arabian nostalgia that we share, the autotuned Arabic I sing is the balance we tried to reach being boys of cultural empires in a small hood, and the Oud is the instrument of our homelands, Sudan and Palestine.

The video for “Gaza is Calling” prominently features Palestinian model Bella Hadid and teenage Gazan rapper MC Abdul and was concepted by Mustafa and Hadid in 2021. While much of the video was shot as early as April of 2023, it also features footage captured on the ground in Jenin as recently as last week, again speaking to both the timelessness and timeliness of its message.

Speaking further about the video, Mustafa says:

“I reached out to Bella in 2022 about the Gaza is Calling short film. I wrote a story about a grief that meets you on whatever land you escape to. In it we follow Bella Hadid and Mc Abdul of Gaza as they journey through their grievances. A parallel story of Israa Ahmed and her younger brother plays out. Israa and her brother engage in the ruins & danger of a refugee camp in Palestine as Bella and Abdul engage with memorabilia & guilt in the western world. Hiam Abbas directs. Israa and her brother are still in this camp in Jenin, Palestine today. The hope is that this serves as a stark reminder that every path is ours, every child is ours, & every war is ours to answer for & speak against.”


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