“When I was growing up in primary school, they weren’t used to the African face or the African features. The only people I saw who looked like me or who I felt I could relate to were the Black Americans on TV,” says Auckland-based rapper Mazbou Q.
“It was a little bit of a dissonance I was facing because I was like, why are they cool, and I’m really not cool? These people on TV, everyone would want to be like them, dress like them, talk like them. But when it came to an actual African diaspora here, it was like ‘oh you've got juju lips, you've got a big nose.’”
In this episode Guled Mire joins fellow Black New Zealanders and hip hop artists Mazbou Q, JessB and Mo Muse to talk about how their art, race and mental health intersect, whether that's not wanting to burden your refugee parents with your mental health experiences, or trying to find acceptance in Kiwi culture through playing netball, which as JessB says, "for a girl is one of the most Kiwi things you can do."
Growing up, hip hop was the only place they saw people who looked like them. These artists have diverse styles but they share a common message: the importance of representation to positive mental health, and the power of music in helping process their experiences, identities, and sense of belonging to Aotearoa.
Third Culture Minds is a mental health series exploring the experiences of New Zealanders from migrant and refugee backgrounds, hosted by Guled Mire. You can check out the full series here.
Made with support from the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.