Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unconquered Media Presents The Storm Music Video

The Battiest Brothers Debut “The Storm” Music Video, a Tribute to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Celebrate Launch of Unconquered Media on September 17 at Paradise Live Theater at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Twilight Wolf Pack Actors Chaske Spencer and Kiowa Gordon Plus Genevieve, Randy, Jaffar and Jermajesty Jackson to Walk the Red Carpet at 9 p.m. as Part of Festivities

Hollywood, Fla. Spencer and Zachary “Doc” Battiest will host a celebrity watch party on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Paradise Live theater at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in celebration of the debut of “The Storm” music video. The production is an elaborate visual accompaniment to the Battiest’s first single of the same name written as a tribute to the Seminole Tribe. The song is currently available on iTunes and The party will also serve to launch Unconquered Media, a Hollywood, Florida-based company owned by Spencer and Zach 'DOC' Battiest.  

A variety of celebrities including the Twilight film series’ “Wolf Pack” actors Chaske Spencer and Kiowa Gordon plus Genevieve, Randy, Jaffar and Jermajesty Jackson (niece and nephews of Michael Jackson) will walk the red carpet at 9 p.m. and attend the party immediately following.

Directed by Steven Paul Judd, “The Storm” music video was filmed entirely on Seminole land and in historic tribal locations.  An all Native American team conceived and produced the stunning visuals designed to capture the viewer’s imagination. Both the song and the video were created as an homage to the Battiest’s parents, grandparents, and tribal leaders incorporating a love of the ancestry, tribal culture and personal insight of their upbringing.

“Our Tribe's young men, the Battiest brothers, show what hard work and dedication can achieve,” said James E. Billie, chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “I'm happy that the Seminole Tribe along with Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino believe in the future of our young tribal men. We are excited to welcome our friends from all around the world to join in the celebration of the launch of Unconquered Media and the release of 'The Storm' music video.”

Though relayed from the point-of-view of a modern day Seminole, the video respectfully pays tribute to the leaders of the past. The music video’s opening shots portray the Battiest brothers pulling up in a Bentley and later cut to emotional images of the duo performing their heartfelt lyrics in a re‐creation of a traditional tribal campsite on the Big Cypress Seminole reservation. Captivating and mesmerizing black and white still and moving images of prominent historical tribal members and their families are featured throughout the production.

One scene even captures the artists in a true natural rainstorm that is described by the brothers as “a shower of blessings from mother earth in the heart of The Everglades swamp.”

The original stirring song featuring the rhythmic rap of Zachary “Doc” Battiest blended with the soulful blues melodies of his brother, Spencer, was self-written and produced in their studio during a night-long session. The song’s lyrics capture the Tribe’s emotional history with its trials and tribulations describing fights with encroaching armies to mothers filling the mouths of crying babies with mud to protect tribal campsites from marauding soldiers to Osceola’s dramatic declaration of non-surrender. Key lines refute the clich├ęd current public caricature of the Seminoles and assert power and unity.

“….Before the Rez before the rock before we had our money, We once was warriors fam keepers of the land, No weapon formed against us could ever withstand, They thought they had our number when they tried to wipe us out… and …Since they couldn't take us ‘way now here we stay, Standing strong with our heads up the Seminole way, Tradition flows like the blood in our veins, we'll never forget from where we came, Unconquered even today…”

“The stereotypes deserve response,” said Doc Battiest.  “We are musicians, but we are also storytellers, Seminoles.  We owe much to our ancestors.  We owe much to our children.”

Spencer Battiest began performing with his brother, parents and grandparents in a touring gospel show when he was six years old.  He graduated to the world stage with the John Robert Powers Talent Agency and was awarded “The Best Teen Male Artist” at the International Presentation of Performers (IPOP).  He has since opened for such performers as Bruce Springsteen, Sting, The Police and other internationally acclaimed acts at Hard Rock Calling live concerts in London’s Hyde Park.

Doc, who took a hiatus in his teens from performing to concentrate on sports and lead a more “normal” life, returned to music with a vengeance at 16. Since then, he has been writing music, dancing, rapping, and attending to his first love, drumming and percussion.

“The most memorable music is music with a purpose,” said 20-year-old Spencer, a veteran gospel/ R&B performer with a performance resume that dates from pre-school. “We’ve listened to the stories and songs of our Tribe since we were four or five years old.  Our music and this video pays reverence to the unconquered spirit they represent and we wanted to pass these cultural treasures along.  We owe a debt of love to many.”

He added that the duo does not define its music as “Indian music.”  “We each have different influences and inspirations,” he explained.  “But this project was a labor of love and reflects an important part of both of us.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Neyom Friday Presents - Jacob Pratt

March 24, 2011 9 pm Eastern

Call-In Number (646) 595-3155

Jacob Pratt has also been playing the Traditional Native Flute since he was fourteen years old. He has been self taught and through years of practice has developed his own unique style of music. April 16, 2011 is the official release of his first CD entitled "Eagle Calls." Jacob chose to make a CD simply because there was huge demand from family and friends requesting a CD of his music. In Jacob's live performances his flute music is accompanied by both traditional and personal stories that are related to the flute. He has the ability to cater his stories and music to entertain many different age groups.

Jacob has been a mens traditional dancer since he was a very young child. This style tells the story of a warrior who is hunting or in a battle. He has expanded his dancing to include the hoop dance. Jacob uses sixteen hoops to tell a story and depict many different things. With the hoops some of the images that are created include, the ladder of life, horse, bear, eagle, and the earth just to name a few.

Lastly Jacob is considered to be a great role model to First Nations youth all across Canada. He chooses to live a healthy drug and alcohol free life style, attends university, and strives to lead by example for young people. Due to his positive life style Jacob is routinely requested to speak at youth and cultural events. Some of the topics that Jacob likes to speak about include, motivational, education, healthy life styles, culture, language revitalization, Striving for success, and many others.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Neyom Friday Presents - Joey Stylez

March 10, 2011 9 pm Eastern

Call-In Number (646) 595-3155

“No gimmicks.”

Such a simple statement. So bold and direct yet hard for most “artists” to accomplish. Contrived ruses have given many music sensations their 15 minutes. That same ploy has taken it away just as quickly. Those who rely on talent and passion; their ability and drive however, don’t need a gimmick. 

Those two words—no gimmicks—perfectly encapsulate Joey Stylez, the world’s premiere Native American hip hop artist. From his chameleon-esque sound, clothing and hair styles down to his ongoing adoration for skin art and undeniable good looks, Moosmin First Nations member Stylez is overtaking the world of hip hop with enthusiastic ease.

And no damned gimmicks.

Originally hailing from Saskatchewan, this internationally-acclaimed rhymer has proven that even in the Great White North, it’s possible to overcome oppression. A victim of poverty in his youth despite being relocated to Saskatoon by a hardworking single mother, Stylez (aka Joseph Laplante) was raised low-income in a middle-class neighbourhood. The constant struggling and derision from outsiders determined—or rather forced—his take-no-prisoners attack.

“I took to my own means of getting what I wanted,” declares Stylez about his approach to both life and music. “If I had to shoplift or sell something I…whatever…I’d do it by all means necessary. That mindset carried over in a positive way though, and influenced making music for me. If it takes guts, money, sugar or spice, I don’t care. It’s going to happen. I’m going to get it. I have tunnel vision; my mind set on the prize.”

Stylez’s debut full-length effort The Blackstar (Fontana North/Universal) is that reward. A beastly wallop of pointed intensity, it boasts graceful flow, a sinewy commingling of diverse genres and dynamic prowess intertwined with unforgettable lyrics, evidenced on already-revered tracks such as “Kool Runnin,” “Sugar Cane,” “Mr. Milkman” and more.

Furthermore, the results of this relentless mindset are indisputable. Presently, Stylez is nominated for five Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards (having won in 2009 for Best Music Video with the track “Sugar Cane”), while he is also on the list of potential winners for Best Male Artist at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards held in Hamilton this November. The list of accomplishments and accolades is endless yet entirely deserved.

Striving beyond rudimentary classification though, Stylez explains how The Blackstar expands past the world of hip hop; is exponentially more vast and embracing than such an austere definition allows for.

“I prefer to define myself as new age music because of my fashion, music, style and background/ancestry. All of those culminate into one unique thing. Once you’re pigeonholed as something, that’s what you are and you can’t ever branch out so I like to be classified simply as an artist. I like Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra and so much more. All of those are influences on my music.”

Still, Stylez notes that a wide array of musical varieties aren’t the only contributing factors to ensuring The Blackstar’s uniqueness. Initially utilizing his music as a means of cathartic release, the stronger his art becomes, the more positive his overall outlook has grown. In essence, The Blackstar is the culmination of exorcising demons coupled with creative and personal expansion. Every one of Stylez’s songs is influenced by, relates to and describes his everyday life.

“I’ve been working on this album for about a decade overall, even though the songs are all new,” he notes, revealing the impact life has had on The Blackstar. “I rap about what I’ve been through. It’s not art that imitates someone else’s life. When I first started, my songs were dark because I was going through a hard part of life, but now life’s been good to me. Songs are happier now, much more abstract and largely influenced by my travelling.” Stylez transition is evident through his countless music video’s on YouTube. From his initial self made street video’s, to his now polished and popular video’s such as “Sugar Cane” and “Kool Runnin”, he has developed a strong following, capturing over 7 million total views. One of the most impressive and vital aspects of The Blackstar though, is its true inspiration, Stylez’ traditional Plains Cree Grandmother. Stylez asserts that she made him what he is today and the album is named in her honour, an impressive, respectable feat for any young role model to declare.

“She’s the last of her kind right now; practising all of the traditional ceremonies, she’s still pure having never drank, done drugs or smoked. She’s had such a powerful impact on me and my music. She’s a pillar of strength for myself and our community as a whole. My faith comes from her. I’ve never had any doubt and it’s thanks to her,” he asserts.

Propelling The Blackstar’s unending momentum, Stylez performed as a part of supportive event Truth And Reconciliation with fellow Canadian stars Blue Rode and Buffy Sainte-Marie in support of residential school survivors as a part of his 50-plus performances on the Paint The Country Red tour this past year. At that, bringing his show to reserves across the nation in conjunction with a youth motivational workshop, Stylez truly is bringing mainstream attention to native people and an inimitable album to the globe. While duly proud of such a compelling, diverse album and its imposing embrace by fans around the world, Stylez notes that something else is far more crucial with The Blackstar. Yes, it is creative, passionate and original. However, Stylez is adamant that people recognize its truest power: obliterating misconceptions and opening doors for his heritage; destroying that same oppression and discrimination that once threatened to hold him back from destiny.

“No one’s seen this side of Native Americans yet. It’s time to break the barriers and stereotypes. We own businesses, we’re actors and musicians. We’re role models now. Everyone’s seen black artists, white artists and Mexican artists but not a Native American artist before. There’s a lot of responsibility. I’m an ambassador for my people. All eyes are on me.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Neyom Friday Presents – Mark Trahant

March 3, 2011 – 9 pm Eastern

Call-In Number (646) 595-3155

Mark Trahant is an independent writer, teacher and a “Twitter poet.” He is currently Editor in Residence at the University of Idaho, School of Journalism and Mass Media.

He was a 2009 Kaiser Media Fellow and is writing about health care reform with the focus of learning from programs the government already operates, such as the Indian Health Service.

Trahant recently completed a monograph on the legacy of Sen. Henry M. Jackson. “Scoop” Jackson was well known for his work on the environment and in the international arena. Less well known is his legacy on American Indian policy. He was the sponsor of a series of major reforms ranging from the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

Trahant was a visiting lecturer for a course he developed called “Twitter & Democracy” at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The course raised questions about how a nation can tell its story in 140characters. It explored the relationship between social media and the news media. The course began with a history of media change, and then followed how the values of professional media are being rewritten, ignored or transmitted through social media, including MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. He will teach a shorter version of the class at the University of Idaho in the Spring of 2010 and will participate in the UI’s Borah Symposium. Trahant also writes “news poems” on Twitter, four line rhymes based on current news events under the handle, “NewsRimes4lines.”

Trahant is the former editor of the editorial page for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he chaired the daily editorial board, directed a staff of writers, editors and a cartoonist.

He has been chairman and chief executive officer at the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. The Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit is the country’s premier institute for providing advanced training and services nationally to help news media reflect diversity in content, staffing and business operations. Trahant is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and former president of the Native American Journalists Association.

He is a former columnist at The Seattle Times and has been publisher of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Moscow, Idaho; executive news editor of The Salt Lake Tribune; a reporter at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix; and has worked at several tribal newspapers.

Trahant has won numerous journalism awards and was a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in national reporting as co-author of a series on federal-Indian policy. In 1995 Trahant was a visiting professional scholar at The Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of “Pictures of Our Nobler Selves,” a history of American Indian contributions to journalism published by The Freedom Forum. He is also the author of a commissioned work, “The Whole Salmon,” published by Idaho’s Sun Valley Center for the Arts. His most recent book is “Lewis & Clark Through Indian Eyes,” an anthology edited by the late Alvin Josephy Jr

He also serves as a trustee of The Freedom Forum, a foundation that promotes free press, free speech and free spirit based in Arlington, Virginia. He is also a Trustee of the Diversity Institute, an affiliate of the Freedom Forum. Trahant was a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 and 2005. Trahant is married to LeNora Begay Trahant and they have two boys, Marvin and Elias. He lives in Fort Hall, Idaho.