Contributed by Ramona Ridgewell
On Friday night March 7th, there was an all Native hip hop concert at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center to benefit the Seafair Pow Wow. Due to budget cuts last year, Seafair Pow Wow did not take place. A group of Native Hip Hop artists decided to try to make a difference and help make it possible to have the Pow Wow this year by donating their time and talent to put on this fund-raiser concert.
Daybreak Star was filled with Elders, families and young people all enjoying the gathering. It was a family event aimed at drawing young adults into the Native community in Seattle.
The artists talked to agreed this was a great opportunity for them to get together and meet other people trying to do the same thing. They included headliners G-Field, Sista Hailstorm, Jacmov JayT, Native Style 1, Mista Chief, Stryk-9, M.U.S.T I Mind and Lady Belknap, who was also the Emcee. There was an open-mic session where other artists were able to show their talents; Salish Son with Di Jules, Ears Mysterious, Anaya Dreamwalker with Blakseminole Khmetikan, and Epidehmik with Phillosophy.
Lady Belknap, came up with the idea of a benefit concert and was instrumental in making sure it took place. She warmed up the crowd and introduced the artists. She started the concert off with Shady Lady, a song about drugs and abuse. Then she sang My Moccasins, which asks people not to judge others.
M.U.S.T I Mind followed with soulful number called Substance, and the more up tempo Black Board Pt. 2 and Brutal Influence. He enjoyed the event and stated the concert was a great opportunity that gave him extra exposure and allowed him to associate with other Natives doing Hip Hop.
Later, Sista Hailstorm hit the stage and the audience rallied behind her. Her powerful performance included Front Lines, about the genocide of Natives. She followed with spkrboxx and They Ain’t Ready. Then guest Julie C joined her for a rollicking Rise & Decolonize. Sista Hailstorm shared some of her thoughts :
“I thought the event would be a good way to bridge the struggling African American community with the struggling native community in the city of Seattle bringing them in the same room in order to lessen the gap between them and through solidarity of art, music and movement of both cultural backgrounds. A much needed support system power in numbers and we can’t get any bigger than unifying to of Seattle biggest communities.”
G-Field closed the show with a performance that include the slow and easy Town Bizness and finished with About to go H.A.M., a fun song about picking up girls. He explained, “It felt good to meet other native MCs from the Northwest and share the stage with them.”
Helping to make the show a success were DJ Too Quick, who never missed a beat getting the next song up, and Shigg Says Radio, who, during a live broadcast of the show, interviewed all the artists. Daybreak Star provided crucial security with the assistance of 206 Zulu.