Babylon & Beyond

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LEBANON: Pop sensation and sex symbol Haifa coming to America

February 15, 2010 |  7:07 am


There's something old-fashioned about Haifa Wehbe's over-the-top sex-kitten image, a tawdry glamour that appeals to both men and women and has helped make her a household name throughout the Arab world.

Now, Haifa is preparing to bring her "natural oozing charm," as her website puts it, to America, where she will perform four shows in late March in Las Vegas, Detroit, New Jersey and Houston, only her second swing through the U.S., her personal assistant confirmed to The Times.

Haifa, who has served as the face of Pepsi-Cola in the Arab world, was originally scheduled to perform with Lebanese singer Fares Karam in a number of U.S. and Canadian cities, but he canceled after members of his crew were unable to secure visas in time, according to Arab entertainment site Wikeez. The Canadian leg of the tour was canceled, and Karam was replaced by singer Tony Kiwan and comedian Elie Ayoub.

Haifa's second U.S. tour will likely include songs from her latest album, including her recent single "80 Million Feelings," which she dedicated to the people of Egypt in the wake of the Algerian-Egyptian soccer controversy and Haifa's own scandal over allegedly racist lyrics in her song "Where's Daddy?"

The 30-something Wehbe, a former model and beauty queen born to an Egyptian-Lebanese couple in southern Lebanon, has resided part-time in Egypt since marrying Egyptian businessman Ahmed Abu Hashima last year.

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Haifa Wehbe channels a Las Vegas showgirl during a New Year's eve performance. Credit: BloggingBeirut

Video: Haifa's single "80 Million Feelings" is dedicated to the people of Egypt. Credit: YouTube