Radio Host, writer, screenplay writer David Rabadi is about to launch a new and super FM radio show, but that’s not all, soon to be released is his brand new manuscript where he will be exploring a touchy and delicate subject ….David is the first openly “Out” Arab in Westchester New York. An advocate for Middle Eastern gays, he shares his journey in his new book and screenplay.
“You and I Matter” the new radio show will debut November 5 at 7pm on WFDU.FM. It will be a current and relevant show with guest stars, music and innovative topics discussed regarding the world, the people in it, and most importantly respect for one another.
I spoke with David in depth regarding his story…..
For starters tell us about your new radio show?
I am so excited about the show. It’s called You and I matter and it debuted on wfdu.fm , November 5 at 7pm. I basically started to reflect on all the things happening in the world with the whole movement with Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, LGBTQ Lives Matter and feel every single body on the face of this earth matters. Why is it so hard for us to accept, appreciate, agree and agree to disagree and still respect one another. Violence is not the answer. So I decided to create a space where people can come voice their opinion’s, talk about their struggles and have no fear in being judged, as we’re all one human race at the end of the day.
How long have you been interested in having a radio show, and how did you first begin?
I have been doing internet radio for about a year and a half. I got the opportunity when I met John Anello, the President of City World Radio Network. I have a background in writing for an online publication called LA Splash and he felt like my personality would be great for radio. He gave me a shot it was a lot of fun and in networking and meeting a lot of people in the entertainment industry I was referred to Duff Sheffield who manages the station 89.1fm and he offered me to bring my show “You and I Matter” over to there sister station wfdu.fm
What will your new show be formatted around ?
It’s a variety show. I will have on guests from all walks of life and there will be music from different genres and decades.. Anybody that knows me knows I love to explore, learn and need versatility.
Aside from your radio show, you are currently working on a book, briefly describe the premise, and what influenced it?
The book is a memoir about my life. I am the first Jordanian to come out as a gay Arab in Westchester, New York. I talk about the struggles, the culture, and finding myself. I am very proud to be the first that built the courage to come out, but I feel sad for the ones that are trapped in fear of being disowned and ostracized. I know what it feels like. I lived it and I am also very lucky I have a loving family, although it’s still a bit of an issue for my parents, but at the end they didn’t turn their back on me and I am grateful for that. There are people that get killed and jailed in the Middle East and that hurts my heart. I am blessed, I am an American and can express myself freely to an extent that doesn’t put me in danger, but I know I can never visit any part of the Middle East and feel safe as an open gay Arab. I am praying Queen Rania can influence King Abdullah to allow LGBTQ people co-exist in Jordan. Then other parts of the Middle East can follow. I know I dream BIG!
It takes a real man to stand up not just for themselves but to a whole society and culture that doesn’t allow it. How did you build the courage?
You are going to have to read the book. But I will say it was the hardest thing I have ever done and I don’t regret a thing in coming out.
You are somewhat of an advocate, can you please describe why?
Well, when I was a little boy I knew I was different. I have three brothers and one sister and I always gravitated towards being around my sister instead of playing cops and robbers, GI Joe, or whatever boys play with. I disengaged from my brothers and felt more comfortable with my sister. I also have two female cousins Suhair and Linda. Suhair is like a big sister/ mom and introduced me to middle eastern music and taught me to belly dance. Linda is younger and we refer to each other as soulmates, we have a very strong bond. As a child, I would play with her Barbie dolls. I was this little boy that felt very displaced because I didn’t do or like what other little boys did. There wasn’t anyone I could relate to and I had built in fear of expressing myself coming from a Middle Eastern culture where we are taught to suppress our feelings. What I was feeling was definitely not right in living within the middle eastern culture. About 8 and half years ago I took a stand and came out. It was a debacle of epic proportion, I put my life on line and could have been killed. I thank God I am alive. But I wanted to live authentically. I didn’t want to live a double life and so many men and women are forced into marriages and have kids just to show face and not bring shame making them too scared to live authentically. I just couldn’t be that person. We are given one life and I want to live and embrace who and what I am not who and what a culture or people think I should be.
Are you currently working on any other projects?
I am actually working on two projects. One is a campaign called Shadow or Shine for the organization Westchester Disabled On the Move Inc. The campaign will bring awareness of people with disabilities in being treated with equality. I am challenging Heather Thomason who will be kicking off the campaign with me to Shadow or Shine in a video.
The second project is a screenplay I wrote titled “Pyschosis.” Donald Cato who is a writer and director read the script and offered to come on board as a writer to make some edits that he knows would make the script ready for production. So I am very thrilled about that. I wrote it almost 12 years ago, it was my first attempt at writing a screenplay, so knowing I did a good enough job to have someone like Donald come on board to me is amazing.
Do you have a hero?
That is a good question. Whenever I hear the word hero I think of Mariah Carey’s song who’s music in many ways has helped me cope with feelings of not fitting in and often times displaced. My hero would have to be myself. I never really relied on anybody to save me. I am a loner in many ways but I did look up to my sister Rana a lot, she is a strong assertive woman that was an example of courage for me. I witnessed things she encountered in her life and how she reacted to situations. Her strength and patience has influenced me to always try my best.
How would you describe your personality?
I have an adjustable personality. I surrender to the environment I am in. There are times I am funny, outgoing and then there are times I am reserved and quiet. I am very thoughtful and giving and in the past there were times I was an asshole when provoked but now am at a place where it’s very hard to provoke me to be an asshole. I realize that is giving someone else your power.
What are you last words to the readers?
To never give up. Always try your best and don’t take the nonsense that people project personal. You and I matter! Peace and LOVE!
Follow on Twitter @DavidZRabadi