'Take a minute' is a thought-provoking tune, released in 2009, by Somali-born Canadian hip-hop artist K'naan. An autobiographical tale, the song expresses K'naan’s gratitude toward the places and people in his life who have inspired his survival and successes.

I’m just gonna take a minute and let it ride

Activity steps
  1. Play Take a minute, inviting those who feel comfortable to close their eyes while listening.
  2. Walk through the Take a minute handout and play the song again. 
  3. In small groups or pairs, discuss  the questions below.
  4. Follow up with a debrief of the discussion and art activity.
Reflect and discuss

Coping with stress
I’m just gonna take a minute and let it ride/I’m just gonna take a minute and let it breeze
I take inspiration from the most heinous of situations/Creating medication out my own tribulations

  • How would you describe the ways K’naan chooses to deal with stress? Are they effective?
  • How do you deal with stressful situations? Where did you learn those strategies?
  • What inspires you? Give examples.

Dear mama/you helped me write this/by showing me to give is priceless
Dear Africa/you helped me write this/by showing me to give is priceless

  • What does K’naan mean by “to give is priceless”? Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  • What human qualities do you feel are priceless? Why?

Racism and injustice

How did Mandela get the will to surpass the everyday
When injustice had him caged and trapped in every way
How did Gandhi ever withstand the hunger strikes and all
Didn’t do it to gain power or money if I recall/It’s to give; I guess I’ll pass it on

The singer praises historical figures for the way they handled and overcame historical injustices based on racism.

  • Who do you look up to? Why? 
  • Are some ways of dealing with racism and injustice better than others? Explain.
Get creative! 
  • Create a space for literally ‘writing on the wall’ by making a graffiti wall with 6 or more blank poster boards taped together. 
  • Express your feelings about people you admire and issues you feel strongly about.