Q&A with K'Naan
If you're a soccer fan and you haven't heard the music of
I sat down with him during a stop in Baltimore on his recent tour. We talked about a number of topics, including the global power of soccer, Africa's moment,
I know this sounds insane, but it was like a return home. People were lined up by the sides of the streets. I didn't expect it. I went to try and be as private as possible, so my trip was secret. Only my family knew. I landed and someone snapped a photo at the airport and it got published in the three major newspapers the next day. And everybody knew I was there. I would be with some security and walking the street and there would be people lining up to shake my hand and say thank you for what you do. It was powerful.
It's everybody with a gun. It's five-year-old boys standing in front of your car with an AK47 pointed at you. It's a woman carrying a child and over back hangs a machine gun. That's a different kind of life. And we're used to that. We live in that, where we walk out of a home and the house next to us explodes and we move with no reaction to that. When you get to that point of desensitized violence, the American culture of violence becomes a little more comfortable for you.
There are also things that are happening. There are foreigners who are coming from all over the world who are interested in seeing what townships are. At first I didn't know how I felt about this, because now they're organizing bus tours to visit these places, and people are inviting foreigners into their homes. But now I see that as a positive. It's showing the world what is up with this place, but it's also showing the world to persevere beyond all of this. It's teaching the world something. It's positive on so many levels: some economic empowerment for the people who live there, but also emotional empowerment for the people who don't.