While the hip-hop scene has long had an obsession with material wealth, an internationally renowned rap artist from the US with a chequered past and a consumer lifestyle exhibition in the UAE don't appear to be an obvious union. But this Eid al-Fitr, a five-day event in Dubai hopes to change this when it welcomes Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson to the stage.
The rapper, who has sold over 15 million records worldwide as well as launching a successful film career and several businesses since he shot to fame almost 10 years ago, is due to perform on the last evening of Shoppiesta, being held at Dubai’s Meydan. The event, which bills itself as the UAE’s “first ever annual consumer fair” plans to showcase various electronics, home appliances, health and beauty brands, alongside hosting a series of evening concerts.
50 Cent, who will be flying into Dubai with a troupe of 20 team members, is set to perform on stage on September 4 for an hour and organisers claim he’s putting together a surprise package just for the event. “It’s going to be an exclusive show just for Dubai,” said Radhesh Menon, Shoppiesta’s director. “He should be performing several songs he hasn’t played in the Middle East before.”
While regional rap fans may rejoice at 50 Cent’s first performance since he played in 2007, Bollywood fans might be disheartened to hear that Shah Rukh Khan, who was also set to headline Shoppiesta, has pulled out. The ‘We R.One – Live in Concert’ show would have seen Khan appear alongside Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal, his co-stars in the upcoming film Ra.One. But the date clashed with Kapoor’s filming schedule and the concert – which requires all performers – has now been cancelled. However, Menon says that they’re still hoping to bring W R.One over to Dubai. “We’re now looking at October.”
Despite the lack of Bollywood’s biggest name, fans might be appeased by performances from Priyanka Chopra, Shahid Kapoor and Malaika Arora Khan, who have all been confirmed, as has rising starlet Jacqueline Fernandez. There are also concerts from renowned Indian ghazal singer Hariharan and Shankar Mahadevan, both set to play on September 3, which is dedicated to Indian music.
The first three evenings of Shoppiesta will be focussed on Arabic, Filipino and Persian music, respectively, with the likes of Nancy Ajram, Filipino R&B popper South Border and iconic Iranian singer Googoosh all set to take the stage.