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Haifa Wehbe

Wehbe (Arabic: هيفاء وهبي‎) is a Lebanese model, actress, and singer who rose to fame in the Arab world as runner up for Miss Lebanon and later through the release of her debut album Houwa El-Zaman (هو الزمن It is the Time).Haifa Wehbe was born in Mahrouna, a small Shia farming town in Southern Lebanon. She grew up listening to jazz and R&B. She began to work as a model at a young age and won the title of Miss South Lebanon at the age of sixteen.[1] Wehbe won an ancillary title at the Miss Lebanon competition, which she had to relinquish when it was discovered that she had already been married (at age 18) and had a baby girl called Zeineb, disqualifying her. She also made a name for herself when she starred in a music video clip for the singer George Wassouf. By 1996, she had appeared on over a hundred magazine covers.

Wehbe is married to Ahmed Abu Hashima and is currently living in Egypt with him.
In 2002, Wehbe released her first album, titled Houwa El-Zaman (هو الزمن, "It Is Time"), which became a commercial success, in part thanks to the popularity of her first single "Agoul Ahwak" (أقول أهواك, "I Say I Love You").

Her second album Baddi Eesh (بدي عيش, "I Want to Live") was released in 2005 and lived up to expectations due to the success of its lead single "Ya Hayat Albi." Released after the assassination of Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri, the title single of the album is about "freedom, considered to be among the most basic of human rights".[3] Her follow-up single became her biggest hit to date, "Ana Haifa" (أنا هيفاء, "I Am Haifa"), which became her novelty song. In 2006 she released a follow up single "Bus al-Wawa" (بوس الواوا, "Kiss the booboo"), from her upcoming album Baby Haifa, to be released at the end of 2008 or early in 2009. The song was later used in a Pepsi advertisement. The song was also voted Song of the Year in 2006 by Radio Scope and Sawt Al Musika.[4]

Wehbe was the first Arab artist appear on the Italian TV channel Rai Uno at Piazza Navona in Rome, performing in front of celebrities and fashion designers. Haifa Wehbe has also performed with artists from outside the Arab world. On June 10, 2006, Wehbe became the first artist in the Arab world to perform with rapper 50 Cent when she performed the opening act for his first concert in Lebanon, at BIEL in Beirut. On July 4, 2008, Wehbe released the album Habibi Ana (حبيبي أنا, "My Love") which contains 15 songs including the single "Mosh Adra Astana".

Wehbe released a children's album titled Baby Haifa in March 2010 under Rotana Records.[In July 2005, Wehbe, along with 14 other celebrities from the Arab world, appeared on the live pan-Arab reality series Al-Wadi (Arabic: الوادي The Farm‎), based on the French reality show La Ferme Célébrités. Wehbe's role featured songs from her then new album.

Her other non-musical works include a number of movie roles and work as a television host.[citation needed] Wehbe has also designed her own selection of diamond jewelry.[citation needed] She has been a spokesperson for Pepsi, and worked on Pepsi ads with football star Thierry Henry which were aired on Lebanese television during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Wehbe starred in the Pepsi-produced film Sea of Stars released in 2008, along with Carole Samaha, Ahmad el Sherif, Wael Kfoury, Brigitte Yaghi, and Ruwaida al-Mahrooqi.[6]

Wehbe was scheduled to work on the movie "Baby Doll Night", but canceled due to her overbooked schedule. The singer will be starring in another movie with producer Muhammad Al Sabki.

In April 2010, Wehbe was featured on French DJ David Vendetta's album Vendetta on the song Yama Layali.[
Wehbe is a Shia Muslim, and has three sisters, though Haifa's mother is Egyptian. Wehbe's brother died at the age of 24 during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.[8][9][10] Wehbe's adopted daughter has been living with her father since her parents divorce. In 2008 Wehbe's daughter was married in a private ceremony. As of 2010, Zeinab Zaza and her father are living in Kuwait.

In 2005, Wehbe announced her engagement to a Saudi businessman Tariq Al-Jaffali. After only a few weeks, she and her fiancé decided to split for personal reasons and family issues.

On June 25, 2007, Wehbe survived an accident while filming a music video for the song "Hasa Ma Bena" in Lebanon. In the video, a single engine airplane was to chase Wehbe as she drove a car. However, the airplane inadvertently hit the car, taking off the front windshield of the convertible she was driving.[11] Despite the severity of the accident, Wehbe suffered only minor cuts and bruises.

Wehbe married Egyptian businessman Ahmad Abu Husheima on April 24, 2009 in Beirut.[5] Among the guests at the wedding party were singer Anastacia[12], Nawal Al Zoughbi, Najwa Karam, Ragheb Alama, Ahlam, and Sherine.During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, she left her home, in Verdun, Beirut and moved to Egypt for the duration of the conflict.[3] In a concert in the Lebanese town of Jounieh, Wehbe congratulated Hassan Nasrallah for his stand against Israel during the war.[9]

In a further interview with Reuters, Wehbe stated that Israel attacked Lebanese civilians intentionally while Hezbollah attacked only military targets:

I believe the whole world knows who started this war and who aggressed on whose land. There isn't a war that starts from nothing and he who begins is the unjust one.[13]

Wehbe also refused to perform at any concert during the 34 days of the war including fundraisers, saying that there were more ways than one to show support for Lebanon.Wehbe wore a shirt with the face of President Michel Suleiman during her performance at the election celebrations in downtown Beirut.

Lebanese newspapers said scores went onstage when Haifa appeared, despite attempts by police to prevent them from reaching the pop star.[14] She also sang the Fairuz classic "Ya Hawa Beirut" ("Oh my love Beirut"), which is nostalgic song written during the Lebanese Civil War that reminisces on the "Glorious Days" of Lebanon prior to 1975.Wehbe was ranked 49th in the 2006 Edition of the Top 99 Most Desirable Women by the website AskMen.com.[15]

Some in the more conservative Arab countries deem her revealing outfits scandalous. One Bahraini member of parliament called her a sexual singer who spoke with her body, not her voice. Wehbe said she was aware of the efforts to ban her from performing at the concert but had chosen to ignore their attempts to silence her.

"I am a performer and not a politician," Haifa said. "I know my fans want me and I am there for them. I am not concerned with the other issues."[16]

In April 2008, the Islamist-dominated parliament of Bahrain passed a motion urging the government to ban Haifa Wehbe's show in the country.[17] As a result of the motion, Wehbe performed in Bahrain with more modest dress, wearing a long green gown with a low V-neckline during the performance.[17]

One fan, 37-year-old Adel Surour, commented on the event: "Her performance was measured compared to her usual demeanor. Haifa Wehbe was dressed modestly. She was almost veiled.
In 2009, lyrics in one of Wehbe song's Baba Fein (from her unreleased 2010 kids album) seemed to refer to nubians as monkeys. Exact translation:Where is my teddy bear and the Nubian monkey?.[18] Black Egyptians accused the artist of racism and singing a song that fueled racism and discrimination against them.[19] In 2010 a lawsuit filed against Wehbe was dropped.

Another serious incident occurred after the 2009 Egypt–Algeria World Cup dispute, adding to the diplomatic tension between the two countries. Wehbe was heard live on her phone to an Arab television show, allegedly insulting the Algerian fans at the match as thugs and their actions as terrorism against Egypt and Egyptians. Many Algerians felt insulted by Wehbe's comments and went on to interpret that she was calling the Algerian people terrorists and scum.[20] Wehbe went on to make statements that she would not be performing in Algeria anytime soon, because Algerians "...wouldn't understand her music". Algerian officials and many Algerians responded to Wehbe's statements stating she would not be welcome in Algeria anyway.[21] Algeria's cultural minister stated that Wehbe would be banned from performing in Algeria for insulting Algeria and the Algerian people regardless of whether she apologizes.[22]

Wehbe went on to explain her initial comments to Lebanese host Tony Khalife, saying that she didn't mean to offend Algerians or Algeria as a country but was condemning the actions of a few Algerians during the match. She then added saying: "I couldn’t help it but cry when I saw the blood of an Egyptian woman on the stadium.2002:The "Golden Lion" Award in Egypt.[4]

2004: Best Young Female Arab singer in Egypt.[24]

2005:The Oscar for "ninashnash" for her song Baddi Eesh from her second album.[4]

2005:The "Murex d'Or" award with the title "Best Artist of the Year".[4]

2006:The "Murex d'Or" award with the title "Best Artist of the Year".[4]

2009: The "Murex d'or" award with title "Most Popular Lebanese Singer"[25]

Sea of Stars (produced by Pepsi) - released July, 2008
Dokkan Shihata - June 2009
2002: Houwa El-Zaman (It is Time)
2005: Baddi Eesh (I Want To Live)
2008: Habibi Ana (My Love)
2010: Baby Haifa [Children's Album]
Soundtracks
"Agoul ahwak"
"Wa7di"
"Ma Sar"
"Ya 7ayat albi"
"Bedi 3ich"
"Ragab"
"Ana Haifa"
"Leik el wawa"
"Naughty" (radio single only)
"Mosh Adras Astana"
"Ma t2oulch el 7ad"
"Hasa Ma Bena"
"Yaben el Halal"
"Baba Fein/Lama El Shams Trawa7
"Enta Tany"
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