Sneaky Showbiz


Non-Fiction - Music/Entertainment
254 Pages
Reviewed on 09/23/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

I’ve never been a fan of magic, and when it comes to black magic, well I’ve always figured that’s the domain of fantasy fiction writers and filmmakers…that is, until I read Sneaky Showbiz by Simo Ben. Now I am seriously wondering if the downturns in my life were the result of bad choices, or is it just possible I’ve been the victim of black magic? If I lived in Morocco, I would definitely come to that conclusion! But for readers to fully grasp the extent to which black magic can disrupt lives, you have to read this book that Simo Ben, an entertainment reporter, took seven years to write. What he shares is mind-boggling. 

Picture using a corpse’s hand to stir the popular dish of couscous to close a husband’s eyes to a cheating wife. Yes, Moroccans…many of whom are Muslim… believe that works. Or how about adding corpse water to someone’s coffee? Why corpses? Because “Everything that surrounds a corpse is priceless in the world of magic.” That priceless factor affords a sorceress like R’kia a lucrative income. Much of what Simo Ben shares with readers comes from countless hours hiding behind a curtain while he observes R’kia in action, meeting with those desperate for her spells. People seek her services…and pay big money…in hopes of attaining fame and fortune. Jealousy of others’ looks, wealth, and possessions is another prime reason for paying someone like R’kia to cast a spell. 

But this is just a fraction of what will keep readers spellbound…pun intended…in Sneaky Showbiz. What is even more astonishing is the hypocrisy of Moroccan society, a factor that repulses both R’kia and Simo Ben. For instance, while virginity is highly prized and demanded of young women by their families, prostitution is rampant! And if anyone thinks the families aren’t aware of what their daughters do at night, think again. With such high poverty, for far too many it’s the only way to eat and pay rent. Then there’s the “fake success” of the many young women in the entertainment business. What younger girls aspire to as they follow these models and actresses on social media is a far cry from reality. Honestly, you just have to read this book to understand why Simo Ben has titled his expose Sneaky Showbiz.

Both the author and R’kia won’t spare your sensibilities or sensitivities when it comes to the language they use. So brace yourself. Ben is a great writer, but the presentation is raw in its honesty. Toward the end of the book. Simo Ben mentions a movie, Much Loved, that portrays the prostitution elements in Moroccan society. As this aspect was almost as incredible to me as black magic, I decided to watch some of that film before writing this review. Phew…eye-popping!

Vincent Dublado

You’ve seen how western celebrities have the inclination to slap a fellow celebrity onstage. You’ve also seen how they get into catfights and disparage each other through song lyrics. That is Hollywood for you, but it is nothing compared to what author Simo Ben exposes in his book Sneaky Showbiz. Where he comes from, celebrities don't slap each other onstage as they do in Hollywood. Instead, they cast black magic spells on each other backstage. He invites you into the world of Moroccan show business, an industry rife with villains who have mastered the arts of manipulation, backstabbing, jealousy, hate, rivalry, and cruelty. Through exclusive access into this dark, hidden world, the author reveals what lies beneath a society focused on appearance, and it will open your eyes to the sordid reality that in a world where winning is everything, any method employed, including the dark arts, is acceptable.

Simo Ben gives you a fair warning at the beginning of Sneaky Showbiz. Its subject matter deals with sensitive themes that may not suit your reading taste. On the other hand, you are treated to a one-of-a-kind nonfictional account that you don’t get to read every day, an exposé set against the backdrop of the majestic beauty for which Morocco is famous. Ben doesn’t stop there, as his writing gives you a closer look at the role of magic in developing countries. This powerful narrative serves as a counter force, a strategy of resistance, especially for women to protect themselves, reverse domination within a relationship, or regain their power. It is a provocative symbol of feminist struggle in a society where gender equality is taking small steps. To read this book is to understand Morocco better by delving into the role of the supernatural as a mechanism to curb inequality. It strikes a good balance between interesting and intriguing, and if you are open to the idea of challenging your sensitivity, you should read this book.

K.C. Finn

Sneaky Showbiz is a work of non-fiction in the music and entertainment subgenres. It is aimed at mature readers and was penned by author Simo Ben. The book is a discussion on the relationship between the world of Moroccan show business as it appears to the general public and the dark, twisted, and often occult activities going on behind the scenes. With a deep dive into the black magic rituals being done to keep people in power and a thorough exposing of the secretive world that exists underneath the layer of glitz that most people see, this book lays bare some bizarre and deadly secrets.

Like a lot of westerners who spend time and energy thinking about and discussing the lives of the Hollywood elite, it’s very easy to miss that there are many countries out there with their own arts and entertainment scenes that are every bit as cutthroat as our own. More so, it transpires, in the case of the Moroccan showbiz scene as author Simo Ben lays bare in this haunting and no-holds-barred revelation of the occult practices behind some of the notable success stories in Morocco today. The truth at the heart of the matter comes with some very serious content warnings. Sneaky Showbiz leaves no shameful secret unshared as it exposes the stardoms made and the lives ruined along the way. It exposes a side of stardom that many never knew existed and it does so with the gravitas that the subject matter rightly deserves. Overall, Sneaky Showbiz is a terrifying read that is deftly laid out by a skilled writer.

Foluso Falaye

Sneaky Showbiz reveals what Simo Ben discovered about the Moroccan showbiz world and those who utilize black magic to achieve greater recognition and power. Simo, a Moroccan who now resides in the US, had the opportunity to learn about sorcery from R'kia, a woman referred to as the "queen of Moroccan sorcery". Simo was fascinated at the horrifying lengths individuals will employ to become famous. They came to R'kia for a variety of reasons, including ways to extort wealthy foreigners, kill off competitors, win over crushes, live opulently and become celebrities. The book not only uncovers the fascinatingly dark realm of sorcery but also provides an unvarnished and unabashedly aggressive portrayal of Moroccan society, discussing hypocritical social customs and the numerous explicit and hidden horrors.

When a journalist writes about something surprising, you may anticipate a delicious and intriguing piece. This is precisely what you get when you read this compelling, educational, and even disturbing work. Simo Ben's bravery astounds me, speaking his truth and revealing the reality of celebrity behavior in this social media era, despite a threatening backlash from online trolls and religious extremists. He conducts a detailed investigation of conflicting opinions on a variety of issues in Morocco, including prostitution, taboos, alcohol, religious events, sexual abuse, virginity, fraudulent models, and homosexuality. This is unusual and high-quality work! It's a page-turner that tackles and exposes topics that many people are afraid to confront. With scathing words, Sneaky Showbiz promotes honesty and reason in a culture plagued by excessive materialism and deceit. Prepare to have your mind changed if you previously doubted or did not believe in sorcery!

Essien Asian

Born to Moroccan parents but having the unique advantage of experiencing life in Morocco and also Europe, Simo Ben has his fair share of experiences when it comes to the secretive world that is the Moroccan showbiz scene. His investigative talents and dislike for certain habits common to the people of his home nation motivated him to carry out this exposé on what people do not talk about publicly when you come home. The sorcery and debauchery that are kept far away from prying eyes and how the Moroccan government's archaic laws have only served to encourage this dark practice. His book, Sneaky Showbiz, comes courtesy of an informative interview with none other than the queen of Moroccan dark arts, R'kia, a compendium of knowledge unlike any other.

Sneaky Showbiz is quite the book. Simo Ben uses a conversational style of writing that entices a reader from the offset, tingling the senses. His language goes from informative and formal to something close to sarcastic on so many occasions it's impossible not to pick up his frustration with his people's antics. There is so much detail in this book it is creepy, to say the least; dead body parts, weird animal organs, it's all there. By the time you are done reading this book, I am pretty certain you will not look at couscous the same way again. Sneaky Showbiz is a long-overdue book. It's about time someone exposed the underhanded habits of the unscrupulous individuals in the industry, and no one does it better than Simo Ben.

Leila Jamai

I can't wait to read it!

James Pine

I just ordered one! I'll post my review when I finish reading it!

Chris

First off, wow! This book left me speechless throughout multiple points and reveals shocking revelations on dark magic's hold on Moroccan society. I have only really heard about Morocco through picturesque views of the beaches, the crowded markets, the rugs as well as the other societal taboos, but originally wrote off those taboos.

But I was surprised how Simo Ben's exposé sheds light onto what happens behind closed doors with people who might be friendly to your face but are bad mouthing you and trying to ruin you behind your back. What a shock!

The author's voice is truly magical (pun intended!) in the way that his conversational tone weaves the stories together and makes it feel as though the reader is in the room with the author. Simo Ben's connection to the story main sorceress creates playful back-and-forth dialogue that will make laugh, shudder, and at some points wince as they discuss the harsh realities that are connected to the seedy entertainment industry.

Note, this book lays everything out there and is not for the faint of heart, so keep that in mind when observing some of the content warnings. Overall, if you're looking to a book to 1) blow your mind 2) offer you a new perspective that might challenge previously held stereotypes and 3) help you escape from your everyday troubles, then this book is for you.

Samantha Williams


This is a perfect read and a powerful story that will make you think, if you consider Hollywood dirty, I didn’t even know that Moroccan celebrities exist; yes, it’s so filthy. “Sneaky Showbiz” is the first and not the last Moroccan I read.

Paul S

Crazy stories!
Crazy book!
Crazy author!
I loved this book!

Sara John

This book is gonna drive you into a world of sorcery previously unknown. The least I can say about Moroccan showbiz is that it is a big mess.

Nandini

This was a great book and it was very enlightening. I came to know about the Moroccan black magic practices because of this book. I knew that Moroccan women are oppressed, I knew this because of a novel that I had read this year, but this book gave me more details about the oppression that Moroccan women face. It also gave an account of how hard it is to be a journalist in Morocco. And most importantly, the book spoke about how celebrities and common people alike use magic to do all sorts of things like break the bond between two lovers, make a man impotent, make your husband love only you, etc. The reasons behind women resorting to magic were also discussed in the book. The book also revolved around R'kia who is regarded as the queen of Moroccan sorcery. This is a must read for everyone. Especially, I would recommend this book to people who are interested in magic, journalism, feminism, etc.

Eric


I liked this book. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the daily challenges that people in Morocco and the Middle East face and what their celebrities do to destroy each other. The style is easy to follow and captures my attention. I finished it in one weekend.

Vanessa

Jaw-dropping

Haley C

As an American, my mind was blown reading this book. I didn’t grow up learning too much about Moroccan culture, but this book definitely presents Moroccan culture in an interesting light. Usually, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to things about witchcraft, sorcery, voodoo, etc. but this book had my full undivided attention.

It is a shockingly entertaining read about the lengths that people go to in order to get what they want without working hard for it. The conversational dialogue makes the stories digestible, quick to get through, and hilarious to read in your head to where it feels like the narrator is in your head as you read along.

The transitions from story to story leave you wanting to keep turning the page until you realize that you’ve reached the end. Simo Ben’s release totally blew away any expectations and can’t wait to see what else this author has up his sleeve. Think twice before eating a stranger’s couscous…now, I know I will.

Karen

A bold book, well intentioned!
Excellent work of non-fiction. Absolutely love it!

Maria

If you think Hollywood is a stage, wait until you read “Sneaky Showbiz.” You will be tongue-tied

Carla

I truly enjoyed this book, and the people in it were exciting. I like Simo’s writing style and enjoyed the cultural information included throughout the book. I also very much enjoyed the juicy stories of these co-called Moroccan celebrities. I’m sure she’ll hide forever!

Steve Theirrien

I first learned about Moroccan witchcraft when French Montana escaped death in Morocco, where they fed him Moroccan black magic. Very Creepy but real! I couldn’t put the book down, no cap!

Lynn O’Connell

Morocco: The Sorcery Land

Sneaky Showbiz will take you on a trip to Morocco between magic and power, dangerous liaisons, and how far Moroccans could go to make their lives easier. I’ve been told that Morocco is called “The sorcery land,” one of the reasons I picked up this title to read it.

Melissa Garcia

The best book to learn about Moroccan sorcery

Ahmed Tlemsani

I could almost hear the author's voice while reading this book. It just seemed so honest. If you like his reporting as I do ( If you're Moroccan, I'm sure you enjoyed at least one of Simo Benbachir's controversial interviews in Morocco), you will enjoy this book, although it's sometimes challenging.

Camilia

We all know that Moroccan sorcery is on another level.

Catherine Challies

This is a fantastic read