Just in time for all your Colum-bull Day protests, here’s a little indigenous pride á la moomba-powwow con Javier Estrada, in cahoots with my longtime favorite hip-hop un-doctrinators, A Tribe Called Red (ATCR). If you aren’t already a fan of Bear Witness‘ masterful video montage collections, well, pin some offensive feathers to your lapel and march in the ranks along the eastern front with us. ATCR is on tour through the East Coast, Canada, and Europe.
Bear Witness pummels theory and practice, positive reaffirmations, and critical inquiry with the second part of ATCR’s collaboration with Estrada. Here we see Chief Bromden‘s epic, warrior-cliché and “stolen” escape from colonial bondage via Miloš Forman‘s rendition of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with other takes from the insipidly false Ultimate Warrior to the very authentic All Blacks Māori Haka. And how could Bear resist clips from our all-time favorite, racist apologetics project, Apocolypto. The ’90s irony-full Montel Williams-checking intro gags and cajoles. The emblematic, though misguided, and obviously guilt-ridden eroticization of the most dispossessed indigenous male subject in film history definitely makes for an interesting case study in body politics and “post”-colonization. That being said, there’s serious sexy-strength engendered in these simultaneously subversive and entertaining visual references, which is no small feat for any video-art warrior.
The trilogy at play effectively encapsulates the universal state of Pan-American unrest. At the same time, Estrada and ATCR’s collaboration is an important reminder of Latin America and North America’s struggles with identity and genocide, mestizaje, and mixed message-mangling media portrayals, and it is a significant cultural step toward hope. I can’t wait for the third and final installment. Check out our première of the first part, and start pounding your chest and slapping them good-fight weary thighs with part two, below.
Video Premiere: A Tribe Called Red & Javier Estrada – “Sopranos Azteca”