Portland rapper and poet Munye Mohamed makes art about hard topics such as racism and injustice. So far, people have been eager to hear what he has to say.

The Somali-born Mohamed, who performs as Shine, released a video for a song called “Aspirations” in April that got more than 1.6 million views on YouTube. He released his debut album, “Aspirations 2,” in October. On Saturday, he’ll be headlining a rap show at Mayo Street Arts in Portland.

“I try to talk about real-life things, how Blacks are mistreated, racism and discrimination,” said Mohamed, 29. “Being Somalian and not born in Maine, people underestimate you. I’m a musician and an activist, and I want to be a voice for the community.”

Mohamed will headline the venue’s New Starz on Mayo Street show. The evening features several other rap performers, including KSL, Superstar Freddy and AB the King. The show will be hosted by Neeko Brown and will run about two hours, with an intermission.

Mohamed said he’s grateful to Katie Page, program manager at Mayo Street Arts, for reaching out to him to organize this how and for making a place for local rappers on the venue’s stage.

Mohamed moved from Somalia to the United States at the age of 5 and grew up in Portland. Before making music, he was drawn to poetry. He performed spoken word pieces at open mic nights at local venues, including Dobra Tea, Mayo Street Arts and others. In 2011, he was a regional finalist in Maine’s Poetry Out Loud, a competition for high schoolers.

He’s been performing and recording rap since 2015 and is currently working on another album, “Aspirations 3,” at Anchour Studio in Lewiston. He hopes to release it in April.

Saturday’s show is open to people 18 and older, and a sliding scale admission policy is available for those who can’t afford the $15 to $18 ticket prices. People attending must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test. Masks are required when not actively eating or drinking.


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