GREEN BAY - In their first major collaboration with the Oneida Nation organizers with the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts are bringing Indigenous hip-hop stars to Green Bay for upcoming shows.
The partnership is bringing the hip-hop little people duo Lil’ Mike and Funny Bone to the Weidner on the UW-Green Bay campus on Sept. 7.
The performing pair stars in the hit Hulu TV show “Reservation Dogs.”
“We hope that this is only the beginning of a deeper partnership between The Weidner and Oneida Nation Arts Program (ONAP),” said Kelli Strickland, executive director of the Weidner Center and ONAP chairperson. “That is the ideal community partnership, where programming is not happening in a silo, but rather a true collaboration.”
"Reservation Dogs" follows four teens on an Oklahoma reservation who plan to run away from their community to California to start new lives, but soon discover why they actually love their home.
On the show, Lil’ Mike and Funny Bone ride around on their bicycles rapping and periodically providing advice and warnings to the teens.
The show had made an impact in Indian Country by providing insights to certain aspects of reservation life to mainstream TV.
“It’s bringing a story that’s never really been shown before on American television,” said Troy Williams, marketing coordinator for the Weidner Center.
Performer Buggin Malone, a citizen of the Oneida Nation, is scheduled to open for Lil’ Mike and Funny Bone. His hip-hop lyrics address social issues in Indian Country.
“Their lyrics have positive messages, their choreography is excellent, and they are so personable with their fans,” Sherrole Benton of ONAP said of Lil’ Mike and Funny Bone, who are citizens of the Pawnee Nation. “I think our local community would really enjoy their performance and be inspired by them as well.”
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The pair also will be in Oneida the day before the Green Bay show for a community outreach event at the Radisson Hotel.
Joining them will be Jezelle Evans-Child of Appleton, who founded the HGM Music Group in Wisconsin to support Indigenous artists.
The three were recently part of a concert performed at the Turtle Lake Casino, which is owned by the St. Croix Tribe, in far northwestern Wisconsin.
Evans-Child, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation who uses the stage name J25, said Lil’ Mike and Funny Bone have been an inspiration to other Indigenous artists.
“We look up to them," she said. "It was a great opportunity to be able to share the stage with them both. So many kids from the reservation look up to the positive things we are doing in our communities and on stage. It’s important that we as artists show them that you can chase your dreams and be successful. Indigenous hip-hop is really making a huge impact throughout the record industry and opening a lot of ears and eyes.”
HGM Music Group artist Cash Mami of the Oneida Nation also will be performing at the Woodland Indian Art Show at the Radisson on Aug. 13.
Tickets to the Sept. 7 show at the Weidner Center are $21.
The venue is hosting another renowned Indigenous hip-hop artist, Supaman, on Nov. 1.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove an incorrect performance date for one of the artists.
Frank Vaisvilas is a Report For America corps member based at the Green Bay Press-Gazette covering Native American issues in Wisconsin. He can be reached at 815-260-2262 or email@example.com, or on Twitter at @vaisvilas_frank. Please consider supporting journalism that informs our democracy with a tax-deductible gift to this reporting effort at GreenBayPressGazette.com/RFA.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: 'Reservation Dogs' actors bringing hip-hop to Green Bay Weidner Center