Drake Dishes on His Racial Identity in Canada

Posted by Vinnie Yuen & filed under Music.

Esther Frid holds "El Atardecer de la Vida," a book she wrote about the stories of seven senior Latin American women living in Canada

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Music video by Drake performing Headlines. (C) 2011 Cash Money Records Inc.

In an interview with the Village Voice blogs, hip-hop artist Drake talked about his Canadian perspective on race and his background.

Do you see greater racial divides in America compared to Canada? Drake seems to think so.

When asked how race and identity plays out in Canada, Drake said he sees a lot of segregation in the United States compared to Toronto:

Like when you go to LA and it’s like, ‘This area’s Mexican, and this area’s white.’ That’s crazy to me because in Toronto we have cultural areas—’OK, this is Little India, this is Chinatown, this is where there the Greek people are’—but it’s not segregated. It’s not like you can’t go there and participate in the culture. So it’s a bit different. I think Canada’s very accepting.

Drake also said he identifies with a mixed race background instead of being just one race, and people embrace that. Drake referred to “the light-skinned complex” he confronts in America, in which people make identity assumptions based on his skin colour. Girls would notice he would talk to dark-skinned girls, and to that he says, “Why? I talk to any girl!”

I wouldn’t say segregation is non-existent in Canada, but I’ve never spent a significant amount of time living in the United States to notice the difference. I do appreciate that people feel comfortable enough to participate in each other’s culture, whether it’s through restaurants and food or in ethnic festivals.

Have you experienced a significant difference between the U.S. and Canada when it comes to race?

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About Vinnie Yuen

Vinnie Yuen
Vinnie is a 1.5 generation Chinese Canadian who calls Hong Kong and Vancouver home. She likes story-telling and writing about relationships, gender and identity. Vinnie has a Master of Journalism and B.A. in English Literature from UBC.

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