Italian rapper Amir Issaa visits the University

Genevieve Block, Staff Writer

The University welcomed Italian rapper Amir Issaa on the weekend of Nov. 9. Throughout the weekend, Issaa spoke about his career, his message, and his life as a second-generation immigrant in Italy. He spoke at an Italian workshop during the afternoon on Nov. 9, and spoke at a lecture that evening. Issaa then performed a concert at Uptown on Nov. 10. This event was arranged by the University’s Italian Studies program, and specifically, Professor Anna Paparcone.

At the lecture, Issaa discussed his career thus far, the influential people in his life, and his views on immigration and hip-hop culture. Issaa was born and raised in Italy as the son of an Egyptian father and an Italian mother. He explained how, growing up with this identity, he often felt out of place in Italy because people did not recognize him as being a true Italian. Specifically, he commented that on a trip to Egypt, people accepted him solely for his looks because he looked like an Egyptian. However, he was unable to connect with the Egyptians because he was not familiar with their language nor their culture.

On the other hand, Issaa is a native Italian speaker and understands the Italian culture, but is not accepted because of his looks.  “Old people from Italy don’t accept the changes. My [maternal] grandfather doesn’t even accept my father because he is Egyptian. But despite this, I am hopeful for the future,” Issaa said.

“I thought his presentation was really good because he brought up serious topics, but was able to lighten the conversation very easily,” Jackie Helm ’21 said.

Issaa also explained how he expresses his frustrations towards society through his music. He does not choose to rap about topics similar to those found in top songs in America, but rather uses his voice to fight for a change.

“My identity is that I am human. My race is the human race. If you are born in a country you should automatically have the citizenship, and I fight for this and other topics like this with my music. I use my music to respond to negativity I see in society,” Issaa said.  

“Amir Issaa’s presentation about his music showed me how important it is to be passionate about your work. His love for music is obvious just by watching him rap a few verses, and inspired me to find a job that I love,” Caitlin Ward ’22 said.

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