Tamer Nafar - Biography
Tamer Nafar is a musician, actor, screen-writer, and social activist. Nafar grew up in Lyd, a mixed city of Palestinians and Jews 20 minutes from Tel Aviv, home to one of the largest drug markets in the Middle East. As a teenager, Tamer discovered hip-hop and became the world’s first Palestinian rapper. His lyrics and activities reflect the Palestinian struggle, women’s rights, and the promotion of alternative art within a conservative society.
In 2000, Tamer formed the first Palestinian hip-hop group DAM, One of their first singles “Min Irhabi” (Who’s the Terrorist) was downloaded over a million times, making DAM a household name among youth throughout the Middle East. Rolling Stone in France distributed the song within one of their issues, and the track has been featured on various compilations. The French paper Le Monde called DAM “the spokesman of a new generation”.
DAM’s albums (Dedication – 2006, Dabke on the Moon – 2010, Ben Haana Wa Maana June 2019), as well as numerous singles and music videos. The group has toured to audiences around the world for more than a decade, playing shows throughout Europe, North America, and Asia.
Nafar has collaborated with countless local and international artists, including filmmaker Udi Aloni, and hip-hop artists like MBS, DJ MK, Dead Prez, Pharaoh Munch, Talib Kweli Mos Def and many more. DAM has also produced soundtracks for film and TV including the hit show Arab Labor and the internationally acclaimed documentary Slingshot Hip Hop.
Tamer has also used music and art as a tool for social activism. In 2004, DAM released the single Born Here, followed by a major campaign launched by Nafar to bring awareness to the disparity of Arab communities within Israel. The campaign received impressive media attention and eventually prompted increased investment by the municipality for the Arab sector of Lyd. In 2013, Tamer directed the photography campaign Room No 4 ( www.roomno4.org ) to protest child arrests in East Jerusalem, and in 2014 DAM released the video Who Are You directed by Oscar nominated Palestinian filmmaker Scandar Copti. The video was accompanied by a viral social media campaign for women’s rights in the Arab world.
As an actor and a writer, Tamer’s work has appeared in numerous plays in Israel/Palestine and Europe. He has performed alongside veteran Palestinian directors Norman Issa and Nizar Zoabi in Anton Chekhov’s plays and was recently featured in “Aunti Adipos-A Memorial for Shulamit” by Udi Aloni at the National Theater of Mannheim alongside Israeli actor Itay Tiran and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek.
Most recently, Tamer starred in the feature film “Junction 48” directed by Udi Aloni and written by Nafar and Oren Moverman. The film won the Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival and Best International Film in Tribeca, and 2 Awards in “Slovakia Art Film Festival”, Junction won as the Best Film and Tamer won as the Best Male Actor. The movie will be released in theatres in the US and Europe in 2017.
In 2018 Tamer released 3 singles, Johnnie Mashi which was a local hit, Solo with Haitham al Shomali that reached 10 million Youtube views in a few months & Salam Ya Sahbi, and won the man of the year in A-Shams Radio Station.