It's been a year since the release of Mo Muse's debut album 'The First Generation LP' and some of the things we have just been talking about - family, 'home' and a sense of community are also themes in his music. They all hold up, perhaps more-so given the events since its release.
"My story in the First Generation LP isn’t a story that is uncommon, whether it be the migrant community, the black community, the refugee community, the Muslim community. So, a lot of people did take that album quite personally. And I’m really glad they did, because it was an album that was really personal for me at that time and at that moment too."
Muse says his identity "stands at an intersection between being black and being Muslim as well." So much as he was advocating hard for justice to be brought to the mosque shooter, he has the same feelings watching the Black Lives Matter movement from afar and "just losing count man" of the unarmed black people that keep getting killed.
He pauses when asked if he thinks that the conversations around race that are happing today in New Zealand would have been happening even five or ten years ago.
"I’m not too sure about that. I definitely feel more empowered to have these conversations. I feel that a lot of my conditioning was to keep your head down, get on and make something of yourself within New Zealand society. But when something as tragic as what happened last year in Christchurch happens, that all goes out the window because you can be doing every single thing right and still be murdered in your place of worship. You know what I mean. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d feel as empowered if a tragedy like that didn’t happen. Which is even sadder because you never want to fix the bridge once it’s broken."
"A lot of people are really beginning to reshape their idea of what a New Zealander is and what a New Zealander looks like. That’s been the thing which has challenged people the most, and I’m really glad."