According to United States and Canadian censuses, there are over 6.2 million people who identify as Native American or First Nation Canadian. In spite of the fact that they make up only 2 percent of the population, Native North Americans experience alarming rates of suicide (over 4 times the national average), are 2.5 times more likely to be the victims of sexual violence and often suffer adverse health effects from environmental disasters. For the first time, the untold stories behind these statistics will be brought to life in the documentary film Rebel Music: Native America.
In November, Native American Heritage Month, the stories of Frank Waln, Inez Jasper, Nataanii Means and Mike Clifford, young Native American activists and musicians, will be at the center ofRebel Music: Native America, an introduction to a side of Native America rarely seen. The film showcases the four as they draw from their heritage, using art to expose and overcome issues affecting their communities, environment and selves.
In a first for MTV, the nearly 30-minute premiere episode of Rebel Music‘s second season will debut exclusively on the brand’s Facebook page on Thursday, November 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT. The premiere will be followed by airings on mtvU, MTV2, Centric, Epix 2 and Epix.com. It will also debut for free on leading digital download and streaming platform partners including iTunes, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Verizon Flexview, and Xbox Video.
“We are proud to be able to articulate one of the great untold stories of America with the support of the Native American community,” said Nusrat Durrani, SVP of Viacom Media Networks, GM of MTV World and the creator of the Rebel Music series. “Viewers in the U.S. and beyond will be surprised and moved by the young artists in this film who are taking charge of their destiny and creating a new narrative for their people.”
Rebel Music: Native America is one of a six-part series of documentary films about youth, music and global social change, focused on youth protest movements in the most challenging and turbulent parts of the world. The five subsequent episodes will be released in the spring of 2015 and build onRebel Music‘s first season, which debuted on mtvU, MTV‘s 24-hour college channel, and is now available to own on iTunes and stream on Netflix. The second season will feature stories from Iran, Myanmar, Senegal, Turkey, and Venezuela.
Rebel Music: Native America is co-directed by Native American filmmaker Billy Luther, whose work has debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The second season is being executive produced and developed by Nusrat Durrani, SVP of Viacom Media Networks and GM of MTV World; David Sable, Global CEO, Y&R and chairman of the NY Philanthropic Advisory Board of UNICEF, activist and acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey whose renowned street-inspired vision helped create the visual identity of the series, including a new second season poster. The incredibly talented punk singer-songwriter Laura Jane Grace of the band Against Me! – who TIME Magazine recently called “the most visible transgender woman in music today” – performs the theme song and serves as Music Director for the second season.
“Viacom has long been a pioneer in shining a light on those who have been made to feel invisible,” said Carl Folta, Viacom Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications and Social Responsibility. “Rebel Music: Native America continues that tradition by highlighting the resilience of an undiscussed and marginalized people. We hope the film will inspire audiences and empower them to act.”
“We’re so excited and proud to launch Rebel Music: Native America on MTV‘s Facebook page, bringing poignant, original long-form content directly to our largest social community,” said Tom Fishman, Vice President of Content Marketing and Fan Engagement for MTV. “We look forward to a rich and timely social conversation ensuing as we both celebrate and reflect on Native American Heritage month.”
Rebel Music: Native America features musician/activists:
* Frank Waln: A passionate and provocative Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist who uses his music and activism to fight against the destruction of the environment and cultural heritage.
* Inez Jasper: An award winning pop music powerhouse who uses her platform as a public figure to shed light on the epidemic of missing and murdered Native women.
* Nataanii Means: A budding activist and passionate hip-hop artist (and son of American Indian Movement luminary Russell Means), who uses his music to fight against the spread of suicide on Native reservations.
* Mike Clifford: A Pine Ridge Reservation rapper who works with Nataanii to inspire Native youth with his message of perseverance and resistance.
“It’s amazing how sensitized we are to wrongs around the world, ignoring the injustices perpetrated right under our noses here at home,” said Billy Luther (Navajo/Hopi/Laguna Pueblo), co-director of Rebel Music: Native America. “It was an honor to help bring attention to Native American and Indigenous issues in the first episode of the new season of Rebel Music. Instead of dwelling on victimization it was so exciting to focus instead on young voices singing out and busy being the change that we all want to see happen.”
As part of Rebel Music‘s RebelED, episodes from the second season will be accompanied by lesson plans with a teacher’s guide and background history to bring these topics into the classroom. The materials will be available for free download at www.rebelmusic.com/edu. In partnership with Viacommunity, the umbrella for Viacom’s social efforts, lesson plans will be distributed to 2,000 schools across the country through the Get Schooled Foundation, a national non-profit dedicated to increasing high school graduation and college attendance rates, founded by Viacom in partnership with the Gates Foundation.
Following the Rebel Music: Native America episode, viewers will be guided to a custom resources atwww.lookdifferent.org that will shine a light on issues impacting the Indigenous community and provide ways for individuals to take action. The resources represent another step in MTV‘s multi-year, anti-bias “Look Different” campaign that works to engage young people to recognize and challenge hidden biases that exist around us all.
Beginning in November, each new episode, plus extended interviews, articles, opinion pieces, music videos, and additional content will be available at http://www.RebelMusic.com.
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.