At the event at Penn on Thursday, Narcy read an excerpt from his book, Diatribes of a Dying Tribe. It detailed the identity struggles he felt trying to figure out how to be an Emirates-born Iraqi who had immigrated to Montreal. He recalled coming home to his house in Canada and seeing rude, racial writing scrawled on the garage door and remembered his struggle with answering the question, “Where are you from?” He addressed this at his concert too, saying, “It’s hard enough trying to figure out who I am as a rapper, let alone a Muslim, let alone a Canadian, let alone an Iraqi!”
|One of the spoken word poets|
At the concert on Sunday, the inspiration continued through spoken-word poetry put on at the beginning of the concert by several students who had refined their performances during a private workshop with the Narcicyst. One was a Native American student who talked about his experience being off the reservation and in a city; another was an African-American who talked about the stereotypes that exist within his community. All of their stories were interesting and a reminder of the complex issues that every student seems to experience.
It was a reminder for me that you never know the experiences of the people you walk past every day. Even when you try to guess who someone is—which is often done in earnest between Penn students—you don’t know their background or upbringing, and in fact you might be shocked to hear their real story. It reminds me of a favorite quote of mine: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” The Narcicyst, in some ways, expressed this when he introduced himself at the concert, saying, “You can call me whatever you want, just please nothing negative.” Overall, his performances in Philadelphia were informative and inspiring for me, helping me connect better with the other students who surround me.