Saturday, July 10, 2004
The rap artist Litefoot.
I read about this artist in some magazine, and yesterday in some message board this poster said that some rap fans yelled at him to "Go back to his teepee". I tell you, sometimes hip hop fans can be the most ignorant MF's.
Anyways, I found out that he has his own company, Native Style. Here is an article below I got off Davy D's message board.
SOMERS - He's known as Litefoot and his uniqueness is something to behold.
As an American Indian rapper, he's the only one of his kind.
"Doing it the way we've done it and the way we're we doing it, you're pretty much looking at him," Litefoot said during a 30-minute interview prior to his free concert at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Union on Monday night. "It's definitely been ground-breaking, definitely blazing your own trail. Sometimes you feel like you ought to get an honorary trailblazer award from hip-hop just for doing what we've done.
"There was a feeling in the early days that rap wasn't for Native people. Over the years, people have seen that truly, my message is more important than any vehicle that it comes in."
Litefoot, 34, doesn't want to be categorized in the same manner as many of the best-known rappers.
"Sometimes, a lot of rappers get lumped into the same category for what one or two may speak about," he said. "It's one of the biggest businesses in the music industry right now - rap, hip-hop and urban music. When I started, it wasn't.
"So I definitely think a lot of people take lumps for what a few people do just to make money. It's shock value and I think the record companies have prostituted the industry for that."
His lyrics convey a message of truthfulness, and he makes it clear that it's from the heart.
"Over the years, the message has definitely gone from something that was for Indian Country and has moved beyond that," Litefoot said. "It's starting to transcend racial lines and the lines that have been put there to kind of segregate people, and it's become a message that is very relative to people at this point and time all over the world."
Litefoot, a member of the Cherokee Nation, was raised in Oklahoma. His interest in music came from listening to Motown and other rhythm and blues artists.
He started by writing poetry and listening to rap music. He became a performer after being asked to write a rap for his sister's band. When asked to perform his lyrics with her band, a career was born.
Since 1988, Litefoot has recorded 13 albums, most through his own record company, Red Vinyl Records, and has performed across the country and internationally. Many of his shows are attended by young American Indians who see him as a role model.
He's also appeared in several movies, including "Indian in the Cupboard," "Kull the Conqueror" and "Adaptation."
First Nations Entertainment, Inc. was formed to handle his concerts and other appearances. A merchandise division would come later as Litefoot's popularity increased.
Today he is proud to be associated with a company that is totally owned and operated by American Indians.
"I've been very blessed. I've literally traveled around this world and performed from Rome to some of the tiniest reservations throughout this land," Litefoot said.
Litefoot was a popular artist at this year's Indian Summerfest in Milwaukee. That led to the invitation from Amy Hernandez Maack, a Parkside senior who is president of the Sacred Circle: American Indian and Indigenous Peoples Student Organization at Parkside.
"I thought it was awesome," Maack said of Litefoot's performance at Indian Summerfest. "I'm an older student (32), so I'm kind of out of the pop and hip-hop music scene. But I was impressed that he was able to incorporate Native values and beliefs into his style of music.
"His message is positive, clean and truthful. One of the jaw-dropping moments for me was when he addressed the problems of alcoholism, drugs and gang activities that exist within the Native American community."
Sophomore Bony Benavides, a Parkside student from Colombia, was anxious to hear Litefoot perform.
"I'm not a rap listener, but I really want to know how he gets his message to the people through his music," said Benavides, who is the vice president/secretary of the student organization that co-sponsored Litefoot's appearance along with Plan 2008 and Multicultural Student Affairs.
"I'm new with the Native American culture and heritage and I want to learn more about it."
Litefoot performed in front of a small, but appreciative audience. His message? "I don't know if it's really clean, but it's the truth," he said. "Sometimes the truth falls upon people in many different ways, and the truth isn't always what people like to hear or want to hear. But the truth is the truth, so therefore you speak the truth and I don't know if you're always going to win friends and influence people immediately.
"But over the years, I think that if you speak the truth long enough and they stick around to find out where this all comes from they see it is what it is. In a way, you have to be patient with people, to catch up with you sometimes. ... The truth has been here forever and sometimes people may think the truth changes, but the truth has always been the same."
Litefoot believes that he, like rap, is here to stay.
"I'm becoming accepted by the industry," he said, "but not because of why the industry loves for people to get accepted. What I have to say in my music has garnered me respect."
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