PHILADELPHIA, March 20, 2018 — Recognized for his potent poetry and witty wordplay, acclaimed Syrian-American hip-hop artist Omar Offendum takes center stage with Intercultural Journeys (IJ) on Sunday, April 8 for his performance, SyrianamericanA. Tracing the lines from Harlem Renaissance great Langston Hughes to Syrian poet Khalil Gibran, Offendum guides listeners across a compelling poetic pathway in this beat-driven performance.
“The part of my life featured in SyrianamericanA is intimate and passionate—it’s a reflection on the history of my country, of my family, being erased and bombed away. There’s an extra sense of responsibility in our current moment, and my dedication to these stories stems from a sense of loss of the beauty found within Syrian culture,” says Offendum. “Hip hop can be an immense force in bringing people together, bridging cultural divides in a thoughtful and intriguing blend of personal and political.”
Born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington DC, and living in Los Angeles, Omar Offendum’s artistic output speaks to people across the globe. He has been featured on several major news outlets, toured the world to promote his ground-breaking music, lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions, and most recently been involved in creating several critically-acclaimed songs about the popular democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East & North Africa.
In the week preceding his performance, SyrianamericanA, Offendum will take part in educational and community-based events. On Thursday evening, April 5, at the Penn Museum, Offendum joins curator Lauren Ristvet as she gives a tour of the exhibition Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq. Offendum will offer a short performance inspired by the exhibition, and the two will lead a conversation highlighting diverse connections between artistic and historic worlds. Additionally, Offendum will spend a week with the students of Bodine High School, exploring the intersections of poetry and song, as well as give a student-centered performance at Swarthmore College.
“Omar’s lyrical style, filled with contemporary and historic references, is magnetic,” says Carly Rapaport-Stein, Executive Director of Intercultural Journeys. “Juxtaposing the rich history of Syria and his exceptional poetic voice, Omar’s performance will be a timely and powerful artistic journey across cultures and mediums.”
SyrianamericanA will be held on Sunday, April 8 at 7:00PM in the Ibrahim Theatre at the International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street. For more information and tickets: interculturaljourneys.org/syrianamericana.