Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! Sicangu Lakota hip hop artist and music producer Frank Waln has a dreamy new music video, for a track called “Good Way,” featuring Gunner Jules and Rollie Raps.
In this gorgeous, sunlit clip, the three men—outfitted in basketball sneakers and T-shirts with Native pride messaging—adorn themselves with jewelry, shoot hoops and run through a meadow, laughing. Since we live in a country where people are adamant about not giving up their racist sports logos, it’s not the way we usually see American Indian men… and that’s the point.
“Good Way” represents the side of Indigenous boys and men that doesn’t often get portrayed in the media. We are often portrayed as bloodthirsty savages that rarely smile and exhibit no emotion. Indigenous people are often portrayed as less than human in western media. “Good Way” is about us, as Lakota men, laughing, smiling and enjoying life together, being human beings. Gunner and Rollie come from the same reservation I do (Rosebud Reservation) and I’ve known them for over 23 years. We’ve struggled, healed and grown in our own paths together but music was always the thing that brought us back together as a community.
In addition, the director of the video, Tomás Karmelo Amaya, is Yaqui (Yoeme), Zuni (A:shiwi), and Tarahumara (Rarámuri), which means that even the visuals are part of the message. As Waln puts it:
Everything about this project from the music production/audio engineering, to the directing/filming/editing of the video is completely Indigenous made. What that means is there is no colonial filter. What you are seeing is a truly Indigenous representation of how Indigenous men see ourselves. We are human beings…
This is a positive portrayal of healthy, Indigenous masculinity.