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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 10: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally at the Target Center on October 10, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images).

Trump Attacks Ilhan Omar & Minnesota's Somali Community In Disparaging Anti-Immigrant Campaign Speech

Trump stepped up his demonization of Minnesota's Somali community in front of a braying crowd of MAGA-hat wearing supporters.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota and—in typical white-nationalist fashion—used a significant portion of his speech to disparage the local Somali community, and once again take shots at the state's Somali-born Representative Ilhan Omar.

"As you know for many years leaders in Washington brought large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers," said Trump, echoing the countless anti-immigrant statements he's made in the past. "You should be able to decide what is best for your own cities and for your own neighborhoods and that's what you have the right to do right now, and believe me, no other president would be doing that," he added as his supporters cheered him on.


READ: Op-Ed: In Defense of the Black Boogeyman

He took direct cracks at Omar—going as far as to display images of the Democratic congresswoman on the venue's jumbo screens, while he referred to her as an "America-hating socialist" and "disgrace." Going further to add: "How do you have such a person representing you in Minnesota. I am very angry at you people right now. She is a disgrace to our country. She is one of the big reasons that I am going to win and the Republican party is going to win Minnesota in 13 months."

He assured attendees that he would further tighten immigration policies and "give local communities a greater say in refugee policy and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls."

Omar—who has been subject to verbal abuse from the president both in speeches and on Twitter on several occasions since assuming her post—responded to Trump's remarks last night writing, "Minnesota stands for peace, equity and justice—everything you're against. While you spew hate, we will keep fighting for the America we deserve."

Several commentators have blasted Trump for his hate-fueled remarks and have spoken out in defense of Omar and Minnesota's Somali community, which is the largest in the country.

This type of rhetoric has harmful, real-life implications for the Somali community. As Huffington Post reporter, Ryan J. Reilly pointed out, three Trump supporters were convicted last year for planning a terrorist attack against Somali refugees in Kansas.

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim, editor of Sahan Journal which covers immigrant and refugee issues in Minnesota, shared a passage from the book Border Wars: Inside Trump's assault on Immigration, which reveals what appears to be a longstanding hate from Trump towards Somali refugees in particular.

Earlier this year, several right-wing officials, including Trump, accused Omar of anti-semitism for tweeting criticism of pro-Israel lobbyists and saying that American support for Israel was primarily about economic gain. This fueled, what amounted to, a right-wing led smear campaign against her, with several members of the Republican party calling on the congresswoman to resign from her post.

"American public politics revolves heavily (but not exclusively) around an idea of citizenship that excludes and criminalizes Black people," wrote OkayAfrica Contributor Zoe Samudzi in an op-ed following the incident. "It invites people to participate in our public disciplining and Omar's Somali, Black Muslim, and refugee identities make her a beautiful target for bipartisan political point-scoring."

Interview
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Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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