Hip Hop as dusty foot philosophy: Engaging locality

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Global Linguistic Flows: Hip Hop cultures, youth identities, and the politics of language, 2009, 1, pp. 25 - 42
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When asked what he means by the Dusty Foot Philosopher (the title of his recent CD, which received a 2006 Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year, and was nominated for the inaugural Polaris Music Prize), Somali-Canadian MC K'Naan explains that this is both how he sees himselfand a broader image of global representation. When images of Africa are shown on charity television (the most common means by which people view Africa, he suggests), the camera always kind of pans to the feet, and the feet are always dusty from these kids. What they're trying to portray is a certain bias connected to their own historical reasoning, and what I saw though instead, was that that child with the dusty feet himself is not a beggar, and he's not an undignified struggler, but he's the dusty foot philosopher. He articulates more than the cameraman can imagine, at that point in his life. But he has nothing; he has no way to dream, even. He just is who he is. (K'Naan Interview, April 25, 2004)1
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