dragswolf

Lil Mike and Funny Bone from Reservation Dogs

As artists, you foreground your faith and your Native American identity. How did you come to fully embrace both of those parts of yourselves in your work?

Funny Bone: We’ve been in the faith for a long time, and we’ve felt the Creator Spirit personally. And it is powerful. That’s kind of what helps ground me, just knowing personally, feeling that touch from God. Whenever it’s looking bleak, whenever we going through struggles, not gonna worry about it, ’cause I know Creator has it. I know God’s got this. We have a song called “Ain’t Worried ’Bout It.”

A lot of people definitely need encouragement like that, especially in the indigenous community. They have the highest rates of suicide, depression. I got really close at one point. I’m not ashamed to say it. The Enemy was just attacking me. And the only thing that really kept me going was knowing that God has to have something better for me.

Link: Meet the Christian Rap Duo from ‘Reservation Dogs’

I met these guys 15-20 years ago at an after-party during the Gathering of the Nations here in Albuquerque. I annoyed one of them, don't know which, because I wouldn't buy their CD. He had a discman in his hands with those cheap foam headphones, and he made me listen to a couple of their songs. I bought a Redcloud album instead. He had to make the sale because he was managing the merch table for the musical acts at the party.

It wasn't a Christian event, and I never knew they were Christians until I read this article today. At the time, I was a big fan of Redcloud, who was a Christian and Native, a combination that I was encountering at the same time. I wanted to be both, but there were several areas where the two didn't seem to mesh. I'm more comfortable with myself today, still a Christian and an NDN, but Redcloud helped me have confidence in myself then.

This part of the interview resonated with me:

In the hip-hop and indigenous spaces you occupy, is Christian sometimes an uncomfortable label for the two of you?

Funny Bone: Very. I don’t wanna say that we get ashamed to call ourselves Christian, but amongst the indigenous community, there’s a bit of that. The colonizers stole a lot, including religion. So we try to tell the natives—just because that’s what colonizers are doing doesn’t mean that’s what Jesus stands for. They are manipulating the Word of God to get over on people.

Not everyone has good intentions. Some people are just wicked. If your Christianity allows you to hate somebody, then you’re doing it wrong. God is love.

Lil Mike: We’re just trying to stay grounded with our connection to Creator.

Funny Bone: God is love. Anything else is not of God.

Amen.

Book Token Dracula Cover

Just now picked up a copy of Dracula as an NFT from Booktoken.io. I haven't gotten too much into crypto but have played with Cardano and staking. One of the things I am excited about is the potential for NFTs when it comes to things with real utility, like books. I never bought into picture NFTs but books carry with them something special and useful.

Book Token has taken this aspect and run with it. So far they've released a Gutenberg Bible in Latin, their nod to the book that introduced publishing to the world, Frankenstein, and now Dracula. Each book comes unique with a limited cover design and so far a limited run of mints (copies). There has been one book, Cardano for the Masses, that has shipped through Book Token and sold like a normal book on Amazon.

They have big plans to release many more books in the future, and I'm all in when it comes to books. Every book you buy through them can be read through their ereader for now.

Discuss...

I've never read Rushdie but recently began reading The Satanic Verses due to the assassination attempt on his life because of that book. Two chapters in and I am now a Rushdie fan. The way he wrote about the people falling from that plane in the first chapter was mesmerizing enough. The way he builds characters is great. No wonder he's such a celebrated author.

Much of the literary community is vocalizing their support for the literary tradition of writing what you want without fear of violent repercussions. Criticism is fine, but violence is not. I'm hopeful that this terrible event will encourage many to continue to push the boundaries in writing and expressing themselves without fear of violence.

The honorable response is to say that we are all Rushdie now, and that America’s failure to protect him is a collective shame. In the face of this thuggery, Rushdie’s work should be read publicly, and his name thrown in the face of apologists for the regime that once ordered and offered to pay for his assassination. (In 1998, in an effort to normalize relations with the West, Iran canceled the hit but made clear that if some freelancer wanted to get him, Tehran would not be displeased.)

But we are not all Rushdie. And in fact the past couple decades have led me to wonder if some of us are more Khomeini than we’d like to admit.

Link: Salman Rushdie and the Cult of Offense

One of the greatest aspects of writing is honesty. If we cannot be honest, then who are we writing for? It's certainly not ourselves. Salman Rushdie is an inspiration.

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