Michael Kiwanuka: 'I Toed The Line Of Nowhere' : World Cafe The "Black Man In A White World" singer discusses his bicultural upbringing and the ways in which his music and his identity intersect.

Michael Kiwanuka On World Cafe

Michael Kiwanuka On World Cafe

"I felt like I toed the line of nowhere," Michael Kiwanuka says of his upbringing as the child of Ugandan refugees in England. Phil Sharp/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Phil Sharp/Courtesy of the artist

"I felt like I toed the line of nowhere," Michael Kiwanuka says of his upbringing as the child of Ugandan refugees in England.

Phil Sharp/Courtesy of the artist

Playlist

  • Jimi Hendrix, "Are You Experienced"
  • Jimi Hendrix, "Purple Haze"
  • Michael Kiwanuka, "Cold Little Heart"
  • Michael Kiwanuka, "Black Man In A White World"

On the breakout single from his 2016 record Love And Hate, Michael Kiwanuka declares "I'm a black man in a white world." He repeats the refrain over and over again, with crystal clarity. He's staking a claim at the very personal place where his music, color and identity intersect. And it's taken him a lifetime to get there.

Kiwanuka was raised in the U.K. by Ugandan refugees. ("I felt like I toed the line of nowhere," he says of his bicultural upbringing.) He's a Hendrix-head who loves folk-rock, but whom the music industry has always wanted to pigeonhole as a soul artist. In honor of Black History Month, we asked him to talk about his own history — and how it shaped "Black Man In A White World." Listen and download the complete conversation via the player above.

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