After an extensive interview process, which siphoned through a short-list of 200 candidates, Juno-award winning rapper Shadrach Kabango won the throne in studio q. After the q’s reputation plummeted alongside the public shaming of its former host Jian Ghomeshi, an ugly scar was left of the face of CBC radio. However, an ugly face in radio has never been hard to overcome. Fortunately for the show, the same proved to be true for the scars left on the q’s reputation after Ghomeshi’s dismissal. Beneath the unattractive shell of the fallen q, the producers realized a chance to rebuild, revitalize, and reinvent. The door to host one of Canada’s most prized radio shows was left wide open and they needed to fill the position with a very particular type of individual.
Although Shad has never worked as an interviewer during his fruitful music career, he beat out life-long journalists, well-known CBC radio hosts, and famous Canadian comedians for the job. So, what makes Shad qualified to succeed this prestigious position?
It’s no surprise that feminists and moral crusaders were attacking CBC after the Ghomeshi scandal. Neither is it coincidental that the next host of the show would be one of the most outspoken feminists in the Canadian music world. One of Shad’s biggest hits “Keep Shining” is about the value of women in our society, how women should be treated as equals, and how more strong women need to use their voices in the rap scene.
“There’s no girls rapping so we’re only hearing half the truth
What do we have to lose? Too much
Half our youth aren’t represented… The better halves of dudes.”
- Shad “Keep Shining”
Shad’s strong moral stance doesn’t end on the topic of feminism. He also delves into civil rights, for all races. Shad’s song “Brother” explores how African-Americans are negatively portrayed in the media and how the black youth need to fight so as not to be absorbed into a damaging stereotype. He refers to the way in which African-Americans are portrayed as “Blacksploitation” and suggests that the best form of protest is for African Americans to follow their passions, and understand that they can expand well past their given label.
“With mental slavery, the shackles is loose
And it’s hard to cut chains when they’re attached at the roots
So what the new black activists do for our freedom
Is just being them, do what you’re passionate to.”
- Shad “Brother”
One of the most lucrative songs off of Shad’s most recent album is titled “Fam Jam”, which is a celebration of multiculturalism in Canada. His lyrics follow the stories of immigrants who had to work harder than the average Canadian to get an education, support their families and work their way up into powerful positions in society. The song pays homage to former refugees, fresh off the boat Canadians and even to the First Nations people.
“From donated clothes to caps and gowns
It’s a little shout to my black and brown folks
That know the game, not in class to clown
Had a funny accent, look who’s laughing now.”
- Shad “Fam Jam”
He is the encompassment of Canadian values wrapped up into one very talented, very clever, and very humble individual. For these reasons, along with his already huge fan base he was the perfect candidate for the hosting position. This decision has diversified the image of the q, and twisted the once dire circumstances of the show into a positive story. Although the show will never be the same as before the Ghomeshi scandal, the q has been granted a second life. Alongside his inspiring and thought-provoking music, Shad has found another means of positively influencing his Canadian fans. He was just the type of person the q needed in order to clean the slate and move on.
- Zack Gelmon