Social media’s rising stars see Bassem Youssef as inspiration

A band of rising stars on social media are looking to follow Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef

Hind Mustafa - Al Arabiya News
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Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef is now a household name in the Middle East – and a band of rising stars on social media are looking to follow in his footsteps.

Several young people who post videos on sites like YouTube and Instagram were referenced as “new media personalities” at this week’s Arab Media Forum (AMF) in Dubai.

“Bassem Youssef’s program is amazing, with the way it presents political satire,” said Abdulaziz bin Baz, who has close to 25,000 Twitter followers, and 772,000 followers on Instagram.

Bin Baz, an Emirati in his early twenties, gained popularity through his short humorous videos posted on Instagram, which discuss everyday social matters in a satirical and spontaneous manner.

His popularity was evident by the amount of ‘selfies’ his fans requested to take with him at the AMF.

Bin Baz considers television to be a platform in which he would like to continue his career. He had previous experience in writing scripts and scenarios for his short videos.

Adam Saleh, a Yemeni-American in his early twenties, said Bassem Youssef has gained popularity in the United States as well as the Arab world.

“I see Bassem Youssef as an inspiration… a lot of people look up to him in America too, and he’s my idol,” Saleh said.

Saleh is based in New York City, and gained international popularity through his short videos posted on Instagram, which mostly portray – in a humorous manner –issues faced by Muslim Arabs in the United States.

He has around 309,000 followers on Instagram and 69,400 on Twitter.

Saleh is already following in the footsteps of Bassem Youssef, with a fledgling television career in the United States.

“I just got signed with Amplitude Productions and we’re looking at our own TV show… in America,” he said.

Saleh said the TV program will “not be a talk show,” and should start being aired in 2015. He did not disclose further details.

While Saleh may not face severe restrictions on his content in the U.S., he is considering moving back to the Middle East within five years, and will have to see what the region has to offer him then.

Adam Saleh was featured as a “new media personality” at the Arab Media Forum held in Dubai. (Photo courtesy: Twitter)

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