DJ Khaled is not welcome in Palestine, says cousin and Dubai Bling star Fadie Musallet

The reality-TV personality and social entrepreneur says he is hurt by DJ Khaled's silence regarding the Israel-Gaza war

Fadie Musallet, DJ Khaled's cousin, who made an appearance on Netflix's Dubai Bling. Antonie Robertson / The National
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DJ Khaled will not be welcomed in Palestine, according to cousin Fadie Musallet.

Speaking to The National, he states the Palestinian-American Grammy Award winning hip-hop artist's silence on the plight of his homeland during the Israel-Gaza war will not be forgotten by those enduring the onslaught on the ground.

Musallet's remarks come after he returned from what he describes as his monthly visits to the West Bank where his mother resides. “Khaled always wanted to go to Palestine, but I don’t think he can come there now,” he tells The National. “They are really hurt by the lack of support, they really feel like they have been let down.”

Musallet also shares that anguish. As an established event producer and social entrepreneur, he understands the risks celebrities face when commenting on the current war. But the scale of destruction and lives lost – more than 33,200 Palestinians reportedly perished in the conflict – are impossible to ignore.

"At some point there must be a stage where you have to ask yourself how much money is enough, you know what I am saying?" Musallet says. "And I know that Khaled is not afraid to use his important voice as he did before, during the Black Lives Matter protests. So what has changed now? We are all humans at the end of the day and when it comes to Palestine, we are talking about people that are our own blood.”

Attempts by The National to contact DJ Khaled for a response have been unsuccessful.

Musallet opines that reckoning is in store for those artists and entertainers who financially benefited from touring the region, yet remained silent during the conflict. He admits that he's personally reappraised some of his existing professional and personal connections within the entertainment industry in light of the conflict.

Taking names out of his contact book is a significant move for someone who has built his stature in part due to his stellar rolodex.

Ever since moving to the UAE eight years ago, he built a career as event manager and celebrity booker. He was also behind the team bringing the popular band Kiss for their record-breaking New Year’s Eve concert at Atlantis, the Palm in Dubai.

Musallet is also the founder of The Giving Family, a charity organisation serving meals to blue collar workers in labour accommodation in Dubai. He says their latest Ramadan campaign saw the organisation welcome more than 5,000 volunteers who served over 300,000 meals throughout the holy month.

That proximity to stardom coupled by a congenial low-key demeanour made him a compelling, if not enigmatic cast member during the first season of Dubai Bling in 2022.

"As someone who understands branding, I was not surprised at all that the show became a success. You can tell the Netflix guys knew what they were doing just by naming the show Dubai Bling," he says. "The show is a bit of click bait and I do feel they wanted me to, I guess, supply more drama in the show, but I just wasn't the kind of person to give them that."

Musallet says it was his mother, residing in the West Bank, who convinced him to leave Dubai Bling after its debut hit season.

"She wasn't a big fan and she was really brutally honest with me," he recalls with a chuckle. "She told me how she didn't send me to Dubai to cause drama on some TV show. So after the first season, she said 'well, that's enough of that'."

While the programme offers an entertaining, yet skewed version of the Dubai lifestyle, Musallet says Dubai Bling captures that entrepreneurial spirit coursing through the city. That sense of opportunity is what convinced him to move to Dubai from Miami and leverage his entertainment industry contacts to launch a successful career, and convinced celebrities to spend time in the UAE.

In what has to be one of the coolest gigs in the country, Musallet would often take the likes of LeBron James and Will Smith on tours of Dubai during their free time.

“I almost look at my job at times as a kind of entertainment concierge,” he says. “Oftentimes, these celebrities will only stay here for a day or two max so I try to create these itineraries that make them see different facets of Dubai, from the must-see attractions to places that only those who live here know.”

These include private visits to At The Top viewing deck at Burj Khalifa and the Museum of the Future and a desert safari, this is followed by a trip to Bur Dubai to sample the grilled dishes of Al Ustad Special Kabab, established in 1978, one of the oldest Iranian restaurants in Dubai.

“I took everyone there from Steve Harvey to Floyd Mayweather and they all love it,” he says. “And it is these things I take pleasure in the most because it does show this side of Dubai and the UAE, where it's cosmopolitan and people of all cultures live together with no issues, that is important…. It’s not just about the bling.”

Updated: April 17, 2024, 10:25 PM