In a socio-political climate that saw Brexit happen, women being forced off beaches in France for wearing burkinis, and a rise in populist governments in Italy and Denmark, Europe’s xenophobia is hard to ignore. And platinum-selling Italian rapper Ghali has never shied away from confronting it.
With Tunisian origins, discrimination and racism were a regular occurrence growing up, making xenophobia a clear-cut attribute to European society for the 26-year-old rapper, who turned to music to shed light on the matter.
The subject also came to be the central focus in a short film starring Ghali. ‘The Performers’, as its titled, is part of the visionary series Gucci has produced in collaboration with GQ and Vogue.
In the film, the rapper returned to his native country, Tunisia, alongside his mother, pushing a message of unity as he raps in Arabic and Italian before telling his story in English.
“If you know my story, it would be difficult to have hope,” he says before continuing to reflect on his personal journey that saw him and his mother homeless at one point whilst his dad, who abandoned them when he was a child, was imprisoned.
“Don’t be shy about your own story” he continues, “Tell that story in stories of discrimination. That’s important.”
“I learned that I could win my social battles through music and that, instead of violence, my weapons would be the words and lyrics of the songs. I started writing for homework assignments, now I write hits for the whole of Italy,” he explained further.