At Blue Wave Voiceover we’re focused on elevating authentic voices from the Middle Eastern and North African / MENA community so they can give voice to their experiences and the issues they care about.
The federal government has historically categorized people who have origins in the Middle East and North Africa as white although they do not identify with the white experience, leading to underrepresentation. According to this PBS News Hour article, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines “white” as anyone with origins in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. For decades, representatives from this community have called for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to be recognized as a new category in the United States Census to inform funding, gain access to research, allocate resources, and develop policies to serve the MENA community.
The Diversity of the Middle East
Spanning Asia, Europe, and Africa, the Middle East comprises countries that represent a diversity of languages, religions, and cultural traditions. Over the past years, the Middle East has witnessed an expansion of their political presence in the United States, embracing its heritage while actively engaging in global affairs. As the world becomes even more interconnected, its impact on pop culture, politics, and language continues to grow and leave a lasting impact on American culture.
The Middle East region is comprised of countries and a British Overseas Territory that vary in size, population, and cultural heritage including Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. As the birthplace of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, these faith traditions have strongly influenced Middle Eastern history and culture.
Arabic is the primary language in the Middle East and includes various dialects spoken in different countries. Additional languages spoken in countries throughout the Middle East include Hebrew, Turkish, and Kurdish.
Growing MENA Representation
According to a 2018 report, the Arab American Institution Foundation estimated the Arab American speaking population at more than 3.6 million people. Since the 1880’s with the first wave of migration, immigrants moving from the Middle East to the United States have brought and shared their culture, traditions, food, and perspectives. The second wave of migration came following political turmoil including the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 and then the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965 brought a third wave of MENA immigrants to the United States. Like many immigrant communities, motivations for moving to the United States include seeking economic opportunity to pursue a better life for themselves and for their families. In addition, political turmoil and civil unrest in their countries have prompted many to seek refuge in the United States with the promise of freedom and hope. A report from the Migration Policy Institute noted that close to 30 percent of immigrants from the MENA region live in California or Michigan.
Voting Power in America
According to a report from the Arab American Institute, 40% of Arab Americans surveyed identify as Democrat compared to the 24% who identify as Republicans. In states with large Arab-American populations like Michigan, California, and New York, the community has become a large voting bloc with significant voting power to influence outcomes in local, state, and national elections. Candidates have spoken on issues that resonate with the Arab-American community including immigration reform and foreign policy related to the Middle East, and according to PBS, cities such as Dearborn and Hamtramck in Michigan have begun providing ballots in Arabic. Recent elections in these cities have resulted in electing their first Arab American mayors. In 2022, five Arab Americans were elected to the US Senate, representing South Dakota, Maine, Michigan and New Hampshire.
In Pop Culture
In addition to gaining prominence for international events, the Middle East’s influence on pop culture continues to grow. Arab-American actors, filmmakers, and musicians have made incredible contributions with television shows like Mr Robot, which aired from 2015-2019 and starred Rami Malek and created by Sam Esmail, who both come from immigrant Egyptian families, and Monk featuring Tony Shalhoub. Musicians like DJ Khaled, whose parents are Palestinian immigrants, and Paul Anka, whose parents were of Lebanese descent, have made significant contributions to the music industry. Comedians including Mo Amer, and Ramy Youssef have also paved the way for diverse representation.
Highlighting Middle Eastern and North African Voiceover Actors
We’re proud to feature voiceover actors representing the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) community. Bringing in an authentic voice to your project ensures that you bring a cultural sensitivity and understanding so that your message resonates authentically and avoids unintentional misrepresentations or cultural insensitivity.
If you’re looking for a Middle Eastern or North African voice actor to reach this audience with a campaign, please contact us at email@example.com. We’re happy to provide you with all the information and voiceover samples that you need!