In 1992, at age 17, Hamri emigrated from her native Morocco to study theater at Sarah Lawrence College. Shortly after receiving her degree, she trained under legendary music video cinematographer Malik Sayeed. Under Sayeed's tutelage, Hamri was given the video-editing job for the reggae/hip-hop fusion group Born Jamericans that ignited her subsequent career as an up-and-coming editor.
She made the transition into directing two years later, building a portfolio of artists including Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Dr. Dre, Mariah Carey, Brandy, D'Angelo, Missy Elliot, Christina Aguilera, DMX and Ja Rule. Her big break was a low-budget, hardcore Bronx rap video for LaFace recording artists 1 Life 2 Live for their song Blind Love, which caught the attention of Mariah Carey. She subsequently directed Carey's Thank God I Found You remix as well as her video for Don't Stop, featuring Mystikal, her video for Cry Baby, featuring Snoop Dogg, and Oh Holy Night, a Christmas video to benefit children in need. These projects were soon followed by videos for such artists as Destiny's Child, Common, Kelly Rowland, India.Arie and Jay Z.
Her most recent work includes Prince's Black Sweat and Musicology, both of which earned her MTV VMA nominations, and Call My Name and Million Dayz; the Notorious B.I.G. duet video Nasty Girls, featuring Diddy, Nelly, Usher, Pharrell and Jagged Edge; Mariah Carey's Bringin' on the Heartbreak, featuring Dave Navarro and Randy Jackson; Sting's Send Your Love; and Mary J. Blige's It's a Wrap.
Among her accolades, Hamri was honored with an NAACP Image Award in 2003 for India.Arie's Little Things, which was also nominated for an MVPA Award for Best Direction of a Female Artist. She was again nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2004 for The Truth. Hamri earned an MTV VMA nomination for Mary J. Blige's Come Close to Me, for which she also received an MVPA Award nomination for Hip- Hop Video of the Year. She received additional MVPA Award nominations for Hip-Hop Video of the Year for Heather Headley's He Is.
Sanaa Hamri Facts
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