So there's a new kid on the CairoScene block. Is Hassan Hassan jealous? No. Yes. Maybe?
On Saturday morning, best friend/CairoScene editor Dalia Awad decided to cancel our pool plans. She said things like “I have to edit an article/Do we have to go right now?/I can’t be bothered to shave my legs,” and my maid was stalking me (she just appears in every room I walk into and it’s super creepy) so I was too flustered to argue and decided to avoid everyone for a few hours. When I checked my phone I had 15 texts from Dalia asking if I had died or if my dog had eaten me and so many people texting me about this article she had just published (by so many I mean two).
“Why is he doing what you’re doing!?” one text exclaimed dramatically. Another bluntly said “I don’t like this.” Was I supposed to be offended? Was I supposed to be upset? I didn’t get it; all of this hoopla (yes, yes, two people, I get it, relax) over this kid’s first fashion article. Maybe I should be offended. Maybe I should be upset. But I had to wear clothes that involved buttons and Dalia was coming down for lunch so I got over it. Then Dalia and I had this conversation in her car:
H: So many people texted me about that article.
D: How many?
D: What did they say?
H: They asked me why he’s jacking my style.
H: Whatever. Is it good? I’m funnier, right?
D: *sigh* Yes. *holds back eye roll*
H: I don’t get it, why does everyone think I should care?
D: Do you care?
D: I don’t believe you.
H: Should I care? I don’t care. Why would I care?
D: Because it’s your thing.
And it was my thing. But that didn’t mean it couldn’t be someone else’s thing as well. So I read the article on my phone and I giggled a few times and got over myself. It was in the same format. It was funny. It was about fashion. That was about it. I couldn’t be the only person to write sarcastic blogs about idiots on the red carpet. I shouldn’t be. I have always found this one of the strangest things about working in Egypt. In seven years of working in Egypt, one of the unspoken rules of life was that certain things were only allowed by certain people because you couldn’t step on their toes/territory. The person hired to be the stylist was the only stylist on board. The person who did celebrity interviews was the only person who could do celebrity interviews. The person who set up the event was the only person to set up the event. It involves so much politics and drama and talking that it usually seems easier to just shut up and not do it. This is all bullshit.
These “rules” that say that I’m the only person who can write about fashion and that I should be offended if someone else gives it a shot is bullshit. One person monopolising an arena and deciding that they are the only person that can is the reason we don’t have any kind of creative industry. Because for some reason there is all this backstabbing and insecurity and all this other bullshit that dictates that if they do it, no one else can. Not going to lie; I have looked at Egyptian artists and read a few blogs that have left me in a jealous frenzy, asking everyone if I was better or not, but I would never want anyone to stop. I would never talk shit about it; I would never be like, THEY MUST STOP, I WILL CRUSH THEM! When they create things, it makes it easier for me to create things and vice versa.
So stop with the bullshit of ‘I’m the only one that can do this’ or ‘they trying to copy my swagger.’ It’s fucking amazing that this younger crop of kids is doing things I couldn’t have done when I was 20. That there are all of these platforms and things popping up that allow them the space to express themselves. Just because someone else is doing something similar, it doesn’t negate what you’re doing. The sooner we realise that the more people doing their thing, the better, and the sooner we shut the fuck up about it, the sooner we’re going to grow, develop and, most importantly, have a choice. This is how the creative quality of things improves, by other people pushing you to do better. This is how you build an industry; by more than one person doing the same thing. This is how you build a community of artists, writers, fashionistas, bloggers, photographers and, hopefully, less DJs. So go forth and write, draw, design and all that other crap – just as long as you don’t do it better than I do.