Maya Diab: The Lebanese Star Who Joined Humanitarian Volunteers After the Beirut Blast



Early Life and Education
 
Maya Diab was born on November 12, 1980 in Achrafieh, one of the oldest districts in Beirut, Lebanon. She grew up in a Greek Orthodox family, and is the youngest of four children. She has one elder brother called Ghassan, and two elder sisters called Mona and Grace. She would study radio and TV media at the Lebanese University.
 
Break into Entertainment Industry
 
In 1996, Maya appeared on the Lebanese TV competition called “Studio Fen” (Art Studio), where she competed in the fashion-modelling category and won. She would make a second appearance in the show in 2001, where she would win the media presentation category. That same year, she would join the Lebanese pop band The 4 Cats,where she replaced one of the three original members who left in order to pursue other works.
 
Years of Struggle Followed By Stardom and Success
 
The frequent changes in the band’s line up made it hard for it release consistent songs and albums. The years 2002 and 2003 were low points for the band, as they only released one non-commercialised album and two music videos. However, that would soon change in 2004 when the media company Rotana   signed the group. Thanks to Rotana’s marketing and promotion, the group would regain popularity in Lebanon and become a household name in other Arab countries. Under the Rotana label, the group released three successful albums, Ya Antar (2004), El Donya Heik (2005) and Wallet Kteer (2007). The group also starred alongside Egyptian actor Hani Ramzi in Assad W Arbai Kotat (The Lion and the Four Cats), where they played themselves.
 
Solo Career
 
In 2010, after nine years with the group, Maya decided to leave The 4 Cats in order to pursue a solo music career. She would go on to have a successful solo career, releasing a myriad of hits such as Gatifin (Pickers), Aywa (Yes) and Shaklak Ma Btaaref (It Looks Like You Don’t Understand). Furthermore, many of her music videos have receive millions of views on YouTube. In 2015, she released her first solo album entitled #MyMaya. 
 
Her Response to the 2020 Beirut Explosion
 
Following the 2020 Beirut explosion, Maya would go out to the streets and help young volunteers clean off the rubble and the glass, which flooded roads and pavements in the blast’s aftermath. She would also help associations and charity foundations that were helping those affected from the blast. One of the charities that Maya was supporting is the DAFA foundation, which was founded by former Lebanese MP Paula Yacoubian to help underprivileged families and individuals. Coincidentally, Yacoubian would resign from her parliamentary position following the blast, and called for a new government. Diab was equally critical towards the state apparatus as she took to Twitter to say that the state was one made of “dogs and talking animals”, and implied that it did not represent the people of Lebanon.