Remie Akl

Between Poet and Popstar: How Remie Akl Embodies the Rebellious Spirit

A look into the Lebanese artist’s creative practice

Remie Akl

A singer, visual artist, poet, and actress, Remie Akl is by all means a force to be reckoned with. The brown-haired, sharp-lipped Lebanese artist is a rebel too. Irrespective the medium, her witted, and unapologetic rebellion against all forms of injustice shows through. Patriarchal mentalities, corrupt systems, and social media are first on a list of subjects she’s tackled so far—and it seems, she’s just getting started. 

It’s only in 2020 that Akl caught the eye of a wider audience. But in Lebanon, her poignant words, published in a series of five videos at the height of the October revolution of 2019 had made her an illustrious figure amongst the Middle Eastern nation’s defiant youth. 

The 28-year-old has garnered over 70,000 followers on Instagram since then, and whilst her poetry remains centric to the majority of her work, she’s attributed to herself the qualities of a rising pop artist with a music video for her single ‘Unfollow Me’. Working with an exclusively Arab cast and crew to produce it, the Ain el-Remmaneh native is seen dancing to a commercial tune as she belts light-hearted lyrics, akin to pop culture’s typical love-song tropes.

“It is intended as a simple, quick, sarcastic and entertaining message to lovers,” Akl explained in a statement upon releasing the music video. In the same statement, she also made her artistic practice clear. “I’m not a singer, I’m not a dancer, I’m not an actress and I’m not a director, I am an art performer and a digital visual storyteller.”

The music video was released in June, 2020. Fast forward to August 4, just hours before the Beirut explosion, Akl published another piece of work, titled ‘Musical Pause’, where she returned to her labyrinth of classical Arabic contention, with a visual story calling on the Lebanese youth to consider their lifestyles and take anti-governmental action

“Why did change not happen? Because you’d rather eat lettuce every day of the week. Get drunk on Saturdays. Feast on Sundays. Go back to eating lettuce on Monday,” reads the poem. “Why has nothing happened? Because you’ve given up. Lazied Up. Afraid and cowardly,” she continued.

Just two weeks later, on August 18, Akl directed her words to the Lebanese president in a film. “Dear President, we only hope for one thing: that you leave,” she wrote. The film that followed was directed at the remainder of Lebanon’s corrupt leaders.  

What’s to come from her in the future? We can only guess that, whatever it may be, it won’t be short of rebellious.

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