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the head of a pink moose with green antlers is wearing a blue baseball hat with a gold chain with an "M" pendant on its left antler and a blue microphone wrapped around the right one.

Filmstripped

The Foundation: Indigenous Hiphop in Canada

author
Mildred German
illustration
Tatiana Yakovleva

Diana Hellson, aka Mamarudegyal MTHC, of Rudegang Entertainment strengthens her Community Voice to make changes against injustices, as she takes inspiration from diversity as a BIPOC woman artist in today’s world. With her work representing many demographics. Hailing from Siksika Nation, growing up in Calgary, Alberta, music started with Hellson when she was given a rare opportunity to be in a recording studio as early as the age of 13 years old. Now as a young mother, Hellson is not only busy with Rudegang Entertainment, the producer of multiple music videos under her belt, she is also the Project Lead of the documentary The Foundation: Indigneous Hiphop in Canada which debuted on September 23, 2019.

the head of a pink moose with green antlers is wearing a blue baseball hat with a gold chain with an "M" pendant on its left antler and a blue microphone wrapped around the right one.A 10-minute documentary, The Foundation: Indigineous Hiphop in Canada, is a project funded through the Telus Story Hive. Hellson applied for the Indigenous Storytellers Funding Series in 2018 and received $20K to make this documentary. Hellson applied with hopes to bring to light Indigenous music which has been the core value of Rudegang Entertainment since its beginning. At the time, she was in the middle of filming Hope’s music video for Red Man.

Focusing on the earlier years of Native hip hop, the documentary explores the First Wave of Indigenous hip hop storytellers. Featuring the early vanguards of the 1970s from Melle Mel, Ernie Litefoot— to 90’s War Party, Eekwol, and Kinnie Star — to the present artists such as Snotty Rez Kids. Faced with social problems of their communities, hip hop music has been a life and home to many djs, dancers, grafitti artists, emcees, youth and adults alike. With the impacts brought by colonial trauma, this medium provided the empowerment of showcasing Indigenous strength, and an uprising against a history of attempted assimilation. Now in the present time, Indigenous hip hop has undeniably made its mark. The documentary has brought forth an array of opinions from Indigenous artists defining what Indigenous hip hop is. It is evident that the power of hip hop creates a space for modern storytellers.

the head of a blue bear with a green snout is wearing pink kanye circa 2007 (i.e., shutter shades) sunglassesHellson, one of the founders of Rudegang Entertainment, is a pioneer as a BIPOC woman representing and speaking her Truth. The opportunity she had in her early teens was only the beginning of her journey. Since then, she has been exposed to many expressions through dance as KRUMP, Dancer of Empirical Freedom Dance Crew. She also taught beginners hip hop at her local YMCA youth drop-in. In 2016 she released her debut EP as Mamarudegyal “MRP EP.” Her excellency in music was highlighted when she took home two Fraser Valley Awards in 2017 in the category Best Hip Hop – Female Excellence in Music. Truly building a name and reputation in the hip hop music scene has made Mamarudegyal MTHC an unforgettable hip hop artist. Her venture into filmmaking is only the beginning.

With high hopes that Rudegang Entertainment will expand The Foundation: Indigineous Hiphop into a docu-series, Hellson hopes to continue the project with a more deep-dive look at Indigenous communities, culture, roots and the intersection between Indigenous culture and hip hop culture. Currently The Foundation was officially selected to be screened at the 44th annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco in November this year. Congratulations Mamarudegyal MTHC and Rudegang Entertainment!

Art Project

Art Project: Charlie

photography
Sara Baar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you want people to understand about gender?

Gender is vast and ever changing.  It’s beautiful and all expressions should be respected as sacred.  Talk to your people (and family) about gender.  Ask everyone their pronouns, not just the people you can’t figure out.  If you make mistakes, apologize and try again.  Explore your own gender expression.  There’s no right way to do it.  It’s all valid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When do you feel most like yourself?

I’ve always felt like myself, when I was a tomboy kid, an awkward baby gay, a queer punk mechanic, a sober femme, and now a trans masc dyke twink.  It’s all been me.  Gender for me feels very fluid.  I think that if I can stay open, find joy in the present (even when I’m struggling), and accept that change is inevitable, then I will always feel like me.

 

Sara Baar is a queer designer, photographer and sometimes stylist originally from a small rural town in the Maritimes. She runs Say Hey Studio, a brand design & photography biz that supports womxn run businesses. Inspired by glam rock, cowboys and COLOR, she’s always looking for good people and good light.

@saramariabaar    @sayhey_studio


Note from the Art Director:

Sara’s work carries a certain brand of pop magic. I use “pop” as a descriptor carefully but willingly, in this case. While the word might be tainted, often used to plainly describe the banality of the marketable, I think there is a true brilliance in pop, like the measured use of sugar to create a delectable caramel. Sara’s work is sweet with a glaze of glamour, carefully poured over the stills of the every-day. But unlike most art and imagery we grant the ‘pop’ descriptor, Sara’s work never sits heavy on your palette, nor does it squint your eyes with its glow. It is vibrant, but not saturated. She celebrates her subjects, bouncing their own light back onto them, bathing them in it. Her work takes what is there and amplifies it, displaying it in all of its colourful splendor.

Though she has photographed a myriad of folk for Discorder, her personal practice both as a photographer and designer find her focusing on queer identity, gender play and performance, lifting the veil off of accepted yet dated binaries and turning them inside out.

Though she’s told me sometimes she wishes she was happy wearing beige, it is clear to me that the colours and magic that you can find in her art, she also carries within herself. The pop she invokes is deliberate and precise — like the swagger of a cowboy, the gloss of bright lipstick, and the casual spell of a timely wink.