MTV World's music documentary series Rebel Music kicks off its second season with the voices of Turtle Island's original peoples—the revolutionary sounds of "Native America".
What does it mean to be Indigenous in the 21st century? More importantly, what does it sound like?
These are questions we've been asking since RPM started and every day we see the evidence all around us. Native artists are everywhere—making incredible music, building community, raising each other up, raising awareness, and kicking ass.
That's what the Indigenous Music Renaissance is all about.
And we're not the only ones who can see that Indigenous artists are the ones innovating, experimenting and leading the way forward. Like A Tribe Called Red's Bear Witness reminds us, "Our culture has always grown, our culture has always adapted. We're trying to get everybody else to catch up with where our culture is today."
Enter MTV World's Rebel Music—a Shepard Fairey-exec produced experiment in soundtracking the rebellious spirit and creative innovation of artists around the world who are driving political change by raising their voices in song:
The anthems of protest rise up in underground punk-rock shows in Yangon. Revolutionary hip-hop in the barrios of Caracas. Drumbeats in Istanbul street protests. The pulse of electronic dance music across Native American communities in North America. The soundtrack is global. And the noise is amplifying as youth connect with each other, onstage and online, and find their collective strength to ignite change for the future on a surge of sound and ideas.
After a globe-spinning circuit in its first season (now available on Netflix), Rebel Music returns with a whole new set of adventures in sonic revolution. But before looking out to resistances elsewhere, the show turned its focus to the lands on which America was founded, and the Indigenous nations and peoples of Turtle Island who continue their struggles to be seen and heard.
In the season premiere, "Native America", Rebel Music follows Frank Waln, Inez Jasper, Naát'áaníí Means, and Mike Cliff (aka "Witko")—leading voices and rising stars of a new generation of Indigenous artists that are actively contesting stereotypes, challenging power, and claiming the right to tell their own stories, on their own terms. Meet the artists from the episode.
But, as we know, the conversation doesn't and shouldn't end there. The "Native America" episode comes fully loaded with additional digital content from across the NDN spectrum, including: interviews with A Tribe Called Red, clips of Supaman's now legendary "Prayer Loop Song", features on the 'Native Warhol' Steven Paul Judd, comedy crew the 1491s, photographer Matika Wilbur, and Lakota rock duo Scatter Their Own.
Which is as it should be.
For Indigenous Peoples, art, culture, activism, and resistance are inextricably linked. And our presence and music are here to stay.
Everybody else, time to catch up.