Sanaa Hamri: Mariah Carey and Prince Encouraged me to Switch to filmmaking

Sanaa Hamri, a successful movie director in Hollywood originally from Tangier, Morocco, was Simo Benbachir’s guest in the 13th episode of his series “Nayda F’Hollywood”.

Sanaa talked about her famous series “Empire”, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the United States as one of the most watched series. Sanaa said she found herself in this project because it revolves around art and music, two fields she has always appreciated. This has made her approach to directing very sincere, adding that she is very happy about working in television.

She explained that a large part of her talent is due to her father, a painter known in Tangier. And while the latter sketches his characters with a brush, Sanaa does the same with a camera. She also stated that she went to the American school of Tangier before moving to the United States.

Hamri started her career in the field of editing and she worked on many music videos, which will later pave the way for her to meet with the American star Mariah Carey. According to Sanaa, Mariah was surprised to meet a woman in an editing studio for the first time, adding that she collaborated with her in many music videos, as she had done with Gizi and Baffie. It was thanks to Mariah Carey that Sanaa became involved in filmmaking.

Sanaa Hamri was the reason behind the choice of the name “Morocco” for Mariah Carey’s son. Since their meeting in New York, Mariah never stopped questioning Sanaa about Morocco, until she invited her to travel there together. “We spent a few days in Marrakech where Mariah admired both Moroccan cuisine and culture. And when she returned to New York, she decorated a room in her house with Moroccan designs and furniture, and she also named her son Morocco,” says Sanaa.

Sanaa also told Simo about her relationship with the famous artist Prince, whose death was a shock to her. “I met him when I was still working on music videos. We collaborated together and he also encouraged me to get involved in filmmaking. He believed in my talent and told me that I was doing a good job. He was a serious and caring man. And if you noticed, he started wearing ‘djellabas’ and ‘caftans’ in his last years. It was all because of me. I also encouraged him to make a video clip in Marrakech with Salma Hayek,” says Sanaa.   

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