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Seattle rapper says Secret Service searched home after anti-Trump social media posts



Guled Diriye of rap group Malitia MaliMob says U.S. Secret Service agents searched his mother’s home in Kent — a move he believes was because of anti-Trump messages he posted on social media.

For years, Guled Diriye has been making noise in Seattle’s hip-hop scene, catching the eyes of a few national blogs and local fans. But recently the U.S. Secret Service has taken notice, too.

Like many Americans, Diriye hasn’t been shy about voicing his disdain for President Trump on social media. In December, Diriye, a Somali immigrant and U.S. citizen who performs as Chino’o Capo Gaddafi with his Malitia MaliMob group, filmed a music video for which they drew a Hitler mustache on a likeness of Trump and strung it up from a street sign along Rainier Avenue. Over the past few weeks, he has posted several pictures and videos from the shoot with anti-Trump messages on social media, teasing the new song, titled “Dum Dum.” It was the controversial social media promotion that Diriye believes led the Secret Service to his mother’s house Tuesday afternoon.

According to Diriye, two people who identified themselves as special agents came knocking on his mother’s door looking for Diriye, asking to search her Kent home. The two did not have a search warrant, according to Diriye.

The Secret Service is charged with protecting the president.

“I didn’t threaten the president, I didn’t say I was going to kill the president,” Diriye recalled Wednesday, still audibly rattled.

One of the agents left a handwritten note with their name and phone number, according to Diriye, who showed a photograph of the note.

The voicemail of the agent whose name was in the note was reachable through the Secret Service’s Seattle field office. When reached Wednesday on one of the numbers listed in the handwritten note, she initially denied knowledge of a home search in Kent. When asked about Diriye, she said she was only trying to locate somebody and declined to comment further.

A spokesperson for the Secret Service’s Seattle field office did not respond to calls seeking comment Thursday.

Diriye, a married father of four, was not at his mother’s home at the time. But his mother – who runs a daycare out of the house – was there with his sister and his children. Despite his mother’s objections, the agents, Diriye says, repeatedly asked to search the house. According to Diriye, they also inquired about his immigration status, though he says he and his family members are all American citizens.

Diriye’s sister eventually convinced his mother to let them in, saying they had nothing to hide. The agents eventually left, leaving behind the handwritten note with instructions for Diriye to call them, he says.

“My mom is terrified,” says Diriye, 30. “She’s thinking ‘Oh my God, they’re going to close my business.’”

Diriye contends that the agents were overly persistent.

Diriye’s family came to America when he was 7, fleeing Somalia to escape the terrorism that ravaged their native country. They arrived in the U.S. with all of their belongings in a single suitcase and eventually settled in Seattle.

“America is my home,” Diriye says. “I left Somalia, fleeing with my mother stepping over dead bodies, laying next to dead bodies. A lot of traumatizing [expletive], bro. … I appreciate being here. I love being an American. I’m proud of being an American. I would never even burn a flag like some people do, because I know what America is all about.”

After consulting with a lawyer affiliated with the local chapters of the Council on American Islamic Relations and the American Civil Liberties Union, he plans to release an edited version of the video. He describes its message as a “kumbaya” celebrating the idea that America was “built by foreigners” and that people of different backgrounds coming together is what “makes America great.” While Diriye says Trump isn’t mentioned by name in the song, the video’s incendiary imagery is a metaphor for how Diriye “feels as a black man in America.”

“We feel that we’re hung every day – in the streets being shot, being killed,” he says. “I’m depicting that through art. Every day we feel like we’re at gunpoint.”

Malitia MaliMob is a group formed by Diriye and Mohamed Jurato, aka J. Krown, bringing the perspective of Muslim immigrants to gritty struggle rap. Their 2015 album, titled “ISIS,” “stands in direct opposition to the Islamic State’s fascist fundamentalism,” according to a City Arts Magazine story at the time. The album received favorable local reviews, though the controversial title delayed its iTunes release.


Having left Somalia to escape terrorism, the self-described “dread-headed American kid from Seattle” takes offense to being investigated as if he were a terrorist, Diriye says.

“We hate terrorism. I can’t even go back to where I was born because every day there’s bombings,” he says. “Bro, we are anti-terrorist to the max. … For them to try to put me in that category, it’s heart-breaking, bro. It’s the worst thing in the world to me. I’m here because of these bastards. … How could you put me in the same category as these scum bags?”

Michael Rietmulder:; on Twitter: @mrietmulder. Michael Rietmulder is the Seattle Times music writer.

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Lame Jokes by RK Twins



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Somali-British poet Momtaza Mehri named young people’s laureate for London



THE GUARDIAN — The 24-year-old Somali-British poet Momtaza Mehri, who has been chosen as the new young people’s laureate for London, is hoping to spend her year in the role convincing young people “to see poetry as part of their every day, rather than in some dusty tome, or academic niche interest”.

Mehri, who has a background in biochemical science and wrote the poetry chapbook sugah. lump. prayer, has been shortlisted for this year’s Brunel African poetry prize and won last year’s Out-Spoken Page poetry prize. As laureate, Mehri hopes to encourage young people to voice their concerns and experiences through poetry.

The poet, from Kilburn in north-west London, was selected for the role by a panel of arts organisations and poets, and is, according to Spread the Word’s chair of trustees Rishi Dastidar, “an inspired choice” and a “poet to watch”.

“For young people to have an artist who is an ambassador for them, who brings their concerns, struggles and joys to those in authority, and the wider world, is vital,” Dastidar said. “Her poetry is precise and powerful, and rich with images that are haunting. She is not afraid to tackle the biggest of subjects, which, combined with her talent, is going to give the role a renewed sense of purpose and visibility.”
Mehri said she was exposed to oral forms of poetry by her family when growing up, but only began writing for publication around four years ago. “Over time I honed, or found, my voice, and that allowed me to feel comfortable, finding the poetic voice I felt was most suited to me. Obviously at the beginning you’re very much inspired by your influences,” she said. “I think the poetry I write is interested in questions or ideas around disruption or movement, whether it’s movement of people or places, movement between different ideas, between how things change over different generations, and in themes of migration and urban spaces.”

During her time in the role, Mehri will be looking to amplify the voices of Londoners aged between 13 and 25, “to let them lead conversations, to be as inspired by them as hopefully they can be inspired by me”. She will work with writer-development agency Spread the Word on youth-focused residencies across London, head a tour to six outer London boroughs, and co-host a special project for young London poets called The Young People’s Poetry Lab.

According to research from the National Literacy Trust, 84% of teachers who participated in a poetry programme for disadvantaged children in London schools over a five-year period said their writing skills had improved.

Outgoing young people’s laureate for London, Caleb Femi, said that “poetry has the potential to play a vital part in self-expression and artistic enjoyment in the lives of young people”.

“We need a dedicated person who can assist in integrating the joys of poetry into the everydayness of young Londoners,” he added. “We are extremely lucky to have a talented and dedicated poet such as Momtaza Mehri appointed as the new young people’s laureate for London. Her tenure is sure to be an extraordinary one.”

Mehri said that she wanted to: “Reach everybody, to allow people to see poetry as part of everyday living in London, and all the different poetry traditions that people bring to London.”

“I am very much aware of the fact that I came out of a very different poetic tradition, and what that’s brought to my writing of the English language. So I want to be aware of the fact that people are carrying different poetic influences, whether they consider themselves poets or not,” she said.

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‘I grew up in a refugee camp, now I’m on the cover of Vogue’



BELFAST TELEGRAPH — Halima Aden is used to firsts. She was St Cloud, Minnesota’s first Muslim homecoming queen, and St Cloud State University’s first hijab-wearing student senator. She was the first hijab-wearing contestant to compete in Miss Minnesota USA — she wore a burkini in the swimsuit round — and the first to be signed to a major agency, IMG, the industry colossus that also represents Miranda Kerr, Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne.

And last week the 20-year-old became the first hijab-wearing model to appear on the cover of British Vogue. “It’s taken 102 years for there to be a hijabi model on the cover,” Aden says. “People are very proud of this moment.” Indeed, by the time the issue appeared on news stands last Friday, the cover had already gone viral.

Alongside Aden, a Somali model born in a Kenyan refugee camp, appeared other faces rarely seen on the cover of a mainstream, European fashion magazine — the mainstream European fashion magazine — including South Sudanese Adut Akech, Indian Radhika Nair, Korean Yoon Young Bae and mixed-race, plus-size Paloma Elsesser. “I think the cover really was true diversity,” Aden says. “Not a matter of ticking boxes but really people from different religions, different ethnic backgrounds, all thriving in an industry that has brought us together.”

Officially she works in this industry: she has walked Milan Fashion Week catwalks for MaxMara and Alberta Ferretti, and for Yeezy, Kanye West’s fashion line, in New York. She has appeared on the front cover of Vogue Arabia.

Unofficially she is also a full-time ambassador for her faith, and for the hijab. This is inevitable, as Aden observes, matter-of-factly. “I’m the first high-fashion hijab-wearing model. Automatically, I know there are a lot of girls looking at me. I need to be a good role model, a good representative of my faith, a good ambassador to my community.”

Being this in the hyper-visual, exposed and exposing world of fashion does, though, invite scrutiny — from within and outside her community.

Aden admits she recently cleansed her Instagram (where she has 577k followers). “I really wanted to explore a new look,” she explains.

“But I noticed that my younger followers were messaging me and saying, ‘Hey, this isn’t stuff I can wear. You’re the only person in fashion that I can look to, and you’re wearing stuff I can’t wear’. When I noticed that, I was like: ‘OK, it’s true’. I was still covered head to toe but I was trying out shorter dresses with knee-high boots. Those pictures got 60,000 likes but I wanted to stay true to my original followers. There are a million other models who can rock the same outfit but there’s not anyone besides me who can say, ‘I’m going to wear modest fashion’. I owe it to these little girls.”

Aden was born in Kakuma camp, in Kenya, in 1997. “I grew up in a refugee camp — there weren’t really many highlights,” she deadpans.

“I remember having malaria what felt like every other week. I remember scorpion bites and my mum having to apply Colgate toothpaste. It had a cooling effect.” She shrugs off any sense of victimhood. “I remember a lot of good things. When you don’t know ‘the other’, you tend to appreciate life.”

When she was seven her family went in pursuit of this ‘other’ life: Aden, her mother and younger brother were granted refuge in St Louis, Minnesota. “It was such a big deal,” she says. “A lot of Africans have the misconception that in America money grows on trees. But the neighbourhood we were in was very impoverished. You heard gunshots at night. The school I went to didn’t have an English language learners’ programme so I just went to school and listened and went home.”

After six months her mother moved the family to St Cloud on a word of mouth tip. There, teachers “would always help me, after school, during my lunch hour”. Her English is natural, her accent American.

“My mum made this quick call,” says Aden. “’I raised these kids, I went through hell and back for them, and I don’t want to risk them ending up in gangs, or in prison, or not getting a proper education’. It was really brave. African mums — I’m telling you,” she laughs.

Being crowned her school’s homecoming queen was “a big deal”.

“I’d never seen kids who are Muslim up for that, so I didn’t even think it was a possibility.”

And indeed, symbolically, it resonates: a prom is the gala event for the all-American teen experience, and she is a young Somali-American wearing a hijab.

She’s diplomatic about racial politics in contemporary, supercharged America. “Because Muslims are such a small number — one per cent in America — a lot of Americans never get to interact personally with a Muslim person.

“If you see horrible stories day in and day out on TV, you’re going to have this deep psychological fear of Muslims. It’s not right but that’s the hardest thing to show people — we’re not all the same. But fear is also human nature.”

She entered Miss Minnesota USA partly because there were scholarships up for grabs, but: “I also wanted to show other women in my home state that I didn’t conform in order to fit in. I wore a bathing suit — but it was a burkini.”

What happened next is one of those star-crossed fashion coincidences: Carine Roitfeld, former French Vogue editor, saw the pictures of her at Miss Minnesota USA and asked her to appear on the cover of CR Fashion Book, her new project and an influential countercultural industry tome. Roitfeld’s endorsement led to the IMG contract, which led to everything else.

Still, Aden was “shocked” to get the call from British Vogue editor Edward Enninful. “I met him at the British Fashion Awards in December. He was like: ‘I know we’re going to work together’. But I never imagined it being a cover story.”

For her portrait inside the magazine, Halima’s aesthetic is arch fashion: she slouches and pouts, staring down the camera in a mohair cape and woollen trousers — both Dior — and Altuzarra cowboy boots. She says it is “one of the biggest blessings that has come in my career” — though her favourite moment of the two-day shoot was off-set, shooting the breeze with fellow cover star Adut Akech.

It transpired the pair had been born in the same refugee camp. “We had a moment like The Parent Trap: ‘How old are you? What do your parents look like?’ And it was our first time meeting. Just imagine — these two girls from this camp, reunited for the first time on the cover of British Vogue. I can’t make that up.”

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