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Can we not respect each other / I don’t like the acting game /
Let’s not hide, let’s uplift each other / I still believe that we can change.

The chorus to “We Can Change” came almost verbatim from the conversation Lul Omar and I had when we co-wrote the song. Among other things, we talked about Omar’s experience of going through lockdowns during the Corona pandemic. She hadn’t experienced racism before in Denmark, but at one point, her community in Aarhus inadvertently became a spreader of the virus. During that time, she did experience comments that were directed at her solely because of her background as a second-generation Somali immigrant.

Co-writers at work.

But the problems that Lul Omar experienced in daily life were centered more around negative social control in her immediate community. She experienced a shadow society where everyone was watching everyone and where youths and young adults exerted a form of control over each other. She was very reflective of this situation, as she had previously founded the Najima Association, which worked to support children and young people with dual cultural backgrounds in Denmark.

Omar’s own childhood was characterized by neglect, violence, abuse and mental illness at home. Her mother left her father due to violence, and she grew up with two brothers and a sister in a social housing project in Aarhus. Until she was sent to be re-educated in a village in Somalia, which didn’t end well. She eventually returned to Denmark, but since then often had trouble coping with everyday life.

Her experiences made her feel like she no longer belonged in any culture, when she wrote “We Can Change” with me. But despite this, she believed and believes in the best in people. She is against dishonesty and “acting,” and believes that: “We need to lift each other up. I believe we can change,” as we hear in the chorus to “We Can Change.”

Listen to “We Can Change” here:

Music video:

Shortly after the songwriting session, Lul Omar was the victim of a violent assault. She survived but was hospitalized and underwent surgery. She has now moved to another city but has chosen to be cited publicly as co-writer of her song.