On Friday night, March 7, 2014, 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 I 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. There was also 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 also EmCeed the concert, warming up the crowd and introducing the artists. She started the concert off with Shady Lady, a song about drugs and abuse. Then she sang My Mocassins, 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 told me the concert was a great opportunity that gave him extra exposure. It also 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. Later Sista Hailstorm shared her thoughts with me, “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 told me, “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.
Plans are in the works to do another show.
All photos by Ramona Ridgewell, Copyright © 2014 Ridgewell Services, LLC. All rights reserved