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Mustafa Shares Powerful New Single and Video 'Gaza Is Calling' Starring Bella Hadid

The song, written in 2020 as a tribute to a childhood friend of the Sudanese-Canadian songwriter, is accompanied by a video featuring current footage from the West Bank city of Jenin, with all net proceeds going to the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund.

Mustafa

Mustafa

Joseph Marshall

Acclaimed Sudanese-Canadian musician and poet Mustafa has released an impactful new single and video, "Gaza Is Calling."

The song, originally written in 2020, tells the story of Mustafa's childhood friendship with a boy from Gaza, while the accompanying video, directed by Palestinian actor Hiam Abbas, features model Bella Hadid and Gazan rapper MC Abdul in a powerful story about grief and displacement.


"'Gaza is Calling’ is about my first experience with heartbreak in friendship," Mustafa says in a statement. When he was 11, the singer formed a deep bond with a Palestinian boy in the Toronto housing project they both lived in. "Not even this love was a match for the violence we were up against," Mustafa explains. "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."

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The song finds Mustafa singing over a gently-played Oud — "the instrument of our homelands, Sudan and Palestine," Mustafa says. "Gaza is calling, it's been years since you've been back," he sings to his friend in the chorus, "every time I say your name / there's a wall that's in the way."

The video follows a narrative led by Hadid and MC Abdul as they gaze at old photos and sit with grief together, intercut with a simultaneous story of Israa Ahmed and her brother, two children in a Jenin refugee camp that's marked by destruction. Though worlds apart, the two stories are visually knit together through parallel images: Hadid embraces Abdul, and Ahmed embraces her brother.

After the second chorus, a heady beat enters for the last 45 seconds of the song, as Israa Ahmed lets out a scream. The edits in the video get faster, cutting between fires, graves, stretchers and old photos, driving home the song's intensity and urgency. Though much of the video was shot in 2023, some of the Jenin footage is as recent as last week. Ahmed and her brother remain in the refugee camp.

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"The hope is that this serves as a stark reminder that every path is ours, every child is ours, and every war is ours to answer for and speak against," Mustafa says.

Net proceeds from "Gaza Is Calling" will go towards the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund, which is providing food, health care and other services in Gaza, where 37,000 people have been killed by Israel since October, following Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israel, which killed 1,200 people.

Musicians in Canada and across the globe have been speaking out against the war in Gaza, where the International Court of Justice ruled it "plausible" that Israel has violated the Genocide Convention.

Earlier this year, Mustafa also held a benefit concert for Gaza and Sudan, featuring performers like Stormzy and Daniel Caesar, as well as penning a letter to Justin Trudeau last fall. His debut album is expected later this year via Arts & Crafts.

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Stream "Gaza Is Calling" here.

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Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services
Rb Hip Hop

Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services

There's a more explicit Biggie verse in the vault, according to the NBA legend.

Shaq’s classic with Biggie is finally available on streaming services. The news was broken by FakeShoreDrive on X earlier this week, and the Hall of Fame big man confirmed the news Thursday afternoon (June 13).

The year is 1996 and Shaquille O’Neal and the Notorious B.I.G. are two of the biggest figures in their respective fields. Shaq was entering the last year of his deal with the Orlando Magic before he headed west to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 1995-1996 season. Biggie was getting ready to release his sophomore album, Life After Death, while in the throws of a beef with 2Pac. Big name-dropped the NBA player on the song “Gimme the Loot” off his debut album, Ready to Die, and the two had a mutual respect for each other ever since.

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