Q&A with Hamda Yusuf for the Seattle Globalist

Talking with Hamda at UWPublished by the Seattle Globalist:

Meet Hamda Yusuf: She’s 19, she’s a local slam poetry champion, and she wants to be the US ambassador to Somalia.

At the Youth Speaks! Poetry Grand Slam last month, most of the poems performed on stage were punctuated by supportive hoots and shouts of, “Youth speaks!” from the packed crowd, culminating in rowdy choruses of applause. But only a few poets earned multiple sets of straight 10s from the judges.

One of them was Hamda Yusuf.

Incredibly, only ten years ago she didn’t speak English. Her family had just migrated from Somalia.

Today she’s a 19-year-old UW freshman pursuing a degree in international studies. But she already has a wealth of global experience under her belt, having lived on three continents.

After advancing through the preliminaries, Yusuf took the opportunity at the Grand Slam final to evoke ancient Somali traditions and stoke the crowd’s indignation at Islamophobia. What set her apart, though, was the earnest humor and moments of mundane Americaness mixed into her poetry—all delivered with a sublime confidence.

Read the rest here.

New hip-hop tackles white privilege

As a kind of update to a heavily-trafficked list of decent white rappers I posted a while ago, I want to shout out two new songs directly addressing white (and light skin) privilege and its role in hip-hop culture and society at large. Credit to these guys for taking on a difficult subject and shedding light. There is way too much 50 Cent and Soulja Boy on the radio here in Haiti… Listen: Wale’s “Shades featuring Chrisette Michelle” and Macklemore’s “White Privilege.” (Macklemore is white and from my hometown of Seattle.)

7 White Rappers Way Better than Eminem and Asher Roth

Hip-hop was born of racial consciousness. You can’t divide hip-hop from the social and political circumstances from which it came. There may be new occupants in this house called hip-hop. Most of the people who built this house of hip-hop would say, everybody is welcome in this house, but the people who built it were people of color… you go into somebody’s house, then you gotta respect that. If you don’t have that [racial] humility, you won’t have the foundation that provides.

I’m not sure that Eminem and Asher Roth occupy a healthy space in the “house of hip-hop,” as Dan Charnas calls it in Jay Smooth’s latest video. Continue reading “7 White Rappers Way Better than Eminem and Asher Roth”

Another racist Stride gum commercial

I was about to watch a program on Hulu last night when the site asked if I’d like to watch a single long-form advertisement instead of several short ones throughout the show. I went with the first option. What followed was a three-minute long mock-infomercial for Stride gum, presenting 17 absurd uses for a stick of gum.

The whole ad is stupid, but the scene at the 2:10 mark bothered me. Continue reading “Another racist Stride gum commercial”