On the streets of Los Angeles the city seen by many as the entertainment capital of the a billboard of a Somali band is and the message on it is attracting passers by.
On it is an image of Wayaaha Cusub band members with the message ” I’m With The Banned” in reference to the controversial travel restrictions on migrants from six mainly Muslim countries introduced by President Donald Trump.
Wayaaha Cusub a Somali pop band started in 2004 by a group of young Somali refugees has gone international.
A collabo with popular American hip hop artiste Desiigner is topping the music chart lists in North America and Europe taking the group to heights they had they never imagined in their humble beginnings.
And to add to that a documentary film about the group shot and produced by Hollywood’s top companies Universal Movies and BMI is about to be released in the worlds movie capital.
“This is a whole new level for us.It is just amazing to see our billboards in Los Angeles and New York. Most important it feels good that we are good ambassadors for Somalia” Shiine Akhyaar the band leader told Radio Dalsan from Rotterdam Netherlands in an exclusive interview.
From February 2017 Sportify company managed to link Wayaaha Cusub with top international artistes for recordings and the making of a film on the impact of travel ban by the US on the six Muslim countries of Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Iran and Yemen.
“We shot the film partly in Netherlands and in Toronto. The aim of the film is to put across the message to Trump and the world that we are human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity” Shiine said.
“Through this film we are telling the world that not all Somalis are terrorists or pirates or human smugglers. We want to change that perception” Shiine told Radio Dalsan.
“The governments of the six countries have not spoken out against the travel ban. As artistes it became our responsibility to represent our countries. And we are honored to represent Somalia” Shiine said.
“It feels great for me to fight for the dignity of my country and Somali people by creating awareness through the film and our music. We are making the issue international” he said.
“We are victims of terrorism back in Somalia. We need to show the American government the need to change the new laws so that no human being can be denied basic human right of movement” Shiine said.
The song Durbaa Kaa Li Tuuma featuring Desiigner is translated as “Play the drum and clap for us” and is a soundtrack of the film I am for the banned.
” We have had a good reaction from the release of the collabo with Desiigner. Getting a lot of positive response. People want to know about the Somali language and Somalia. I met on the streets of Rotterdam white people listening to it. Doing the collabo with the American star has made us and Somalia known” he said.
Among the producers and songwriters who worked with Wayaaha Cusub have produced for Justin Bieber and Beyonce.
Wayaaha Cusub which translates to the New Generation was started over a decade ago with the aim of seeking a reconciliatory Somalia which has been ravaged by a civil ear since 1991 following the fall of the Siad Barre government.
” We are now taking that message internationally. It is a fulfilling task for us. I am so happy and I feel am on top of the world by highlighting the issues touching Somalia and Somalis” Wayaaha Cusub female member Felis Abdi told Radio Dalsan.
The film is to be released from September in Hollywood.
” We are well prepared for the premiere of the film. We hope to perform in a big concert in the US.