Supaman, a world-renowned hip-hop artist and Apsáalooke fancy dancer, visited pupils and staff at Sussex School on Thursday for a performance focusing on lessons in inclusion and humanity.
Students filled the gymnasium floor but spent very little time sitting. Most were on their feet, dancing and interacting with Supaman’s performance.
“When you step out of your comfort zone and allow good things to happen, you show that respect, you show that honor, you show that kindness and love to your friends and family,” Supaman said. , also known. as Christian Parrish takes the gun.
Throughout her performance, Supaman included lessons relating to Native American culture and history. He explained to the students that the United States was founded on the attempted genocide of the indigenous peoples already residing in the territory.
“But as you can see, the Native Americans are still here, moving in the right direction,” Supaman said, then asked if any students there were Native Americans.
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“Look around you, because there are natives here. Every breath they take is in defiance of a system that didn’t want them here,” he continued. “You are resilient, you are strong, you are connected to this land here.”
The Sussex school invited Supaman to perform after discussing how they could better explore issues of diversity, inclusion and equity with pupils, said Joellen Shannon, the school’s principal.
At first, she planned the experiment to be for middle schoolers, but Supaman suggested that the whole school be involved.
Sussex is an independent school in Missoula with educational opportunities for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school focuses on developing critical thinking, creativity, courage, and citizenship through the arts, the outdoors, and a unique curriculum.
Supaman also performed a fancy dance for the students in his ornate regalia consisting of colored glass beads, eagle feathers, furs and fringe.
Throughout his time on campus, he encouraged onlookers to turn to their neighbors and offer compliments and hugs.
“We live in a crazy world, you know. We have war, we have politics, you have pandemics and things like that,” Supaman told the students. “It’s important that we love each other and enjoy life to the full right now, because we don’t have yesterday, we don’t have tomorrow, but that’s what we have, right now. , in the present moment.”
Later, he asked the students what kind of music they liked to listen to. After hearing what they liked best, he asked who liked to listen to all kinds of different music, because that’s his kind of people.
He encouraged students to be open-minded with all kinds of people, just as they are open-minded when listening to different styles of music.
“If you can hang out with people who aren’t like you, hang out with people who don’t believe in the things you believe in, who don’t pray like you pray, hang out with them,” Supaman mentioned. “When you do that, you open your mind and open your heart to each other’s humanity. We are all human.
Supaman played a live beat in the gym on his loop station doing beat-boxing and creating different sounds with his voice. When the beat was ready, he started rapping over it.
After performing, he shared his story as an artist. Eventually, he was connected with Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas to collaborate on a “Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” music video in support of the protests on the Standing Rock reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The clip won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Video with a Social Message in 2017.
Before concluding in Sussex, he invited seven students from the audience to join him on stage to produce a beat on his looping station. After that, he called all the teachers on stage to present their dance moves in front of the students.
Myles Livingston, a sixth form pupil at Sussex, received a CD from Supaman when he visited the school. Livingston was a fan of Supaman before his visit and was very excited about the performance that day.
“That’s kind of cool because there aren’t a lot of Native Americans in my school, so that was really great to hear that,” Livingston said.
Livingston is from the Kalispel tribe and has been performing the grass dance at powwows since he was in kindergarten, he said.
“I’m so happy with how it all turned out. It was really applicable to all kids, which is kind of fascinating that he’s been able to do that – to capture the interest of those young kids as well as older students,” Shannon said.
Supaman is about to release a music video for a song called “Alright”. It was created through a partnership with the Montana Film Office and is a “Back to the Future” themed video, he said.
He has also released a new album called “Medicine Bundle” and is on tour. He has a clothing company called Good Medicine Clothing.