Note to Native Celebrities: Face it, You’re a FREAKIN’ ROLE MODELWhat's a flawed person to do? Stop directing…stop performing…worse yet, let the world know you're a hearty partier and think monogamy is monotony? Mmmmm…somehow that's not the message young people ought to hear. Though, God forbid, you don't want to enter the halls of hypocrisy and lie about who and what you are. We have enough phonies already in public life.
Levity aside, there is a serious aspect to this debate. Because kids–particularly Native kids–need successful, articulate, attractive members from their own communities to look up to. To encourage them, providing hope that "if they can make it, so can I."
Which leads back to the quandary of being a FREAKIN' ROLE MODEL.
Comment: I agree that Native celebs should think of themselves as role models. For instance, actors like Rudy Youngblood and Raoul Trujillo should do whatever they can to ensure their portrayals aren't stereotypical.
Writerfella here --
Wrong. If such indeed were the case, that current and prominent Native 'celebrities' are to be held to some arbitrary standard as 'role models', then N. Scott Momaday, Russell Means, Dennis Banks, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Graham Greene, Dick West Jr., Rodney Grant, August Schellenburg, Elaine Miles, Tousey Shila, Irene Bedard, Tantoo Cardinale, Tim Sampson, and Gary Farmer, among too many others, ALSO should be held against the same standard. Obviously, since this post focuses only on one or two, it is illogical and incorrect...
One or two? No comprende, Russ. No names mentioned here; this is an equal-opportunity commentary.
I gave two names as examples, which is why I wrote "for instance." I also could've used N. Scott Momaday and Russell Means as examples, but they haven't been in the news recently. Rudy Youngblood and Raoul Trujillo have.
Writerfella here --
'Examples' therefore would change, from time period to time period, and the demand that somehow they should consider themselves as 'role models' also would change. A new major film production (as yet untitled) about Natives was announced just after Jan. 1 and casting calls have begun, according to writerfella's actor uncle, T. Dan Hopkins, who is sending writerfella casting information. He did say that the lead roles have gone to unknowns, whom writerfella will not name here at this very moment, lest a post suddenly appear that these people SHOULD CONSIDER THEMSELVES AS 'ROLE MODELS' only because in a short matter of time they will be 'in the news.' Shame, shame...
Rudy Youngblood seems to be doing good work. He keeps a low profile and is very connected with his roots on his website, without relying on flashy promotion of him in any way. I think he has the makings of a really positive role model for Indian youth and all youth. He's focussed, artistic, respectful and sensitive.
I don't think Native actors have to worry about being role models until they've gotten roles in movies that have been written, made, and shown. Nobody is going to expect anything from "unknowns" who are just auditioning for a part.
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