Rap Comes to Remittance Justice Campaign

ACORN International Canada Financial Justice Remittances

New Orleans   On ACORN International’s Remittance Justice Campaign too often “civilians,” regular citizens, don’t have a clue about the predatory costs of moving money backwards and forward between where families and workers are now and their home country.   All of this made it exciting to get emails in recent days from ACORN Canada organizers, Jill O’Reilly in Ottawa and John Andersen in Vancouver, that a popular Somali-Canadian rapper maned K’naan had put out a song on YouTube about remittances, called “Fifteen Minutes Away.”

The politics weren’t perfect but he hit the high note, that it was “whack” to see how much it costs and implicitly that remittances were necessary for survival, which made the predatory practices of Western Union possible because a financial lifeline could be just “fifteen minutes away.”  K’naan’s rap includes “protest poetry,” so we have high hopes for him in the future.  Our favorite lines were right up front:

Im sending this one out to anyone who’s had to wait on a money transfer, yea its kinda whack when they charge you like 10 percent on the dollar but you know how good it feels when they say..

You can pick it up today, its 15 minutes away.
You can pick it up today, its 15 minutes away.

Below find this catchy theme song for the Remittance Justice Campaign, and the Wikipedia entry on K’naan which makes it clear that this is an artist of the people, who still “gets it!”  We’re reaching out, but we need a lot more like him!

K’naan’s Wikipedia Entry:

Born in Somalia,[3] K’naan spent his childhood in Mogadishu[4] and lived there during the Somali Civil War, which began in 1991. His aunt, Magool, was one of Somalia’s most famous singers.[5] K’naan’s grandfather, Haji Mohammad, was a poet. He is Muslim,[6] and his name, Keinan, means “traveller” in the Somali language. He spent the early years of his life listening to the hip-hop records sent to him from America by his father, who had left Somalia earlier. When he was 13, K’naan, his mother, and his three siblings, older brother, Liban, and Sagal left their homeland and joined relatives in New York City, where they stayed briefly before moving to Canada, to the Rexdale neighbourhood of Toronto,[7] which has a large Somali community. His family still resides there.[8] There, K’naan began learning English, partly by listening to hip hop albums by artists like Nas and Rakim. Despite the fact that he could not yet speak the language, the young K’naan taught himself hip-hop and rap diction, copying the lyrics and style phonetically.[9] He then also began rapping.[10] While growing up in Rexdale, K’naan lost many friends to murder, suicide, prison and deportation.[11]