By Rayana Khalaf
“I’m afraid to say what’s in my heart,” sings Lebanese artist, Khansa, in his new music video, echoing the concerns of many Arab youths struggling with their sexual identity.
Khansa teamed up with Lebanese musician, Mohamad Zahzah, to produce Khayef, a rendition of Egyptian singer Mohmad Abdel-Wahab’s Khayf Akoul li fi Qalbi (I am afraid to say what’s in my heart,) with an original music video that is nothing short of brilliant.
The music video, which was recently shared on YouTube and Facebook, was directed by Mohamed Sabbah and produced by Spotless Mind Films. It tells the story of a young boy with a passion for belly dancing, struggling to express his true identity.
With a cinematic storytelling approach, the video sheds light on gender fluidity and nonconformity, as well as the struggles many youths face when it comes to gender identity.
It also showcases the Arab society’s perception of effeminacy and androgyny, encouraging people to embrace their true selves.
Inspired by Khansa’s personal experiences, the video includes footage of a young boy belly dancing while his family applauds him.
Khansa, going by his stage name, told StepFeed how as a child, he used to put on dance performances during family gatherings.
However, as he grew older, societal norms began “caging his physical expression,” as he was often told things along the lines of “don’t dance like a woman, you are a man, you need to be tough.”
The Khayef music video features a young man who appears afraid to express himself around his family, only to break free from social shackles towards the end of the video and dance freely.
“When you acknowledge who you are beyond your features and finally embrace your art and your true self, you allow your body and soul to celebrate. This is the transcendence it [the video] talks about,” Khansa explains.
He adds that he found dance and body language the ideal tools to deliver this message and celebrate what he calls “transcendence”.