Staying true to YOUR voice

Rapper/Somali-antiviolence-advocate K’naan recently had a post in the New York Times about the importance of staying true to your voice and ideas.

Read the whole thing here; it’s worth it.

If you’ve never heard of him, K’naan is a rapper from Somalia.  He was on one of the last flights out of Mogadishu before the country exploded in civil war in 1991.  He lived in a Somali community in Toronto, where he put out several small albums.  He got a lot of attention with “Wavin’ Flag,” which was used for the 2010 World Cup.

Earlier this year, he put out an album featured Jay-Z and Nellie Furtado, and it wasn’t nearly as good as his other albums – but it got a bigger audience.  In his essay, he talks about why. While he focuses on music, I think it’s something to keep in mind when it comes to our stories too.

Here’s the song “Fatima,” which I think is one of his best.  And here he is performing “Is Anybody Out There.”

What do you think about his decision to publicly try to reclaim his walk?  What would you do in his situation?  How important is it to stay true to your voice and your ideals compared to being successful? Can you sell out for awhile, get successful, and then come back to your ideals with a bigger audience – and would you ever do that?

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