September 13, 2012

Skrillex video features "rain dance"

Skrillex and Damian Marley Video Features Rain Dance … and MoreDubstep producer Skrillex has collaborated with Damian Marley, the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, on a track called “Make It Bun Dem”—and the recently-released video has a strong Native theme. The basic plot is that a sheriff is aggressively serving eviction notices in a somewhat run-down neighborhood; a Native family consisting of an old man and a high-school boy attempt to thwart the police with a rain dance, then turn to something stronger as the situation escalates. calls the video “a statement against oppressive authorities and poverty’s injustice.” A writeup at seems to nod in approval as well: “It’s all pretty bleak until a First Nations family channels the spirit world to kick some ass.”

This marks the third time in five months we’ve reported on a video by a non-Native act calling on tribal dance skills—previously we saw hoop dancers Tony and Kevin Duncan in a clip for Nelly Furtado’s “Big Hoops” and Nakotah Larance, also a hoop dancer, in the video for “Geronimo,” by The Knocks and Fred Falke.

Some who left comments at YouTube felt the video’s ending was overdone, while others clearly loved the whole clip. The video is below—what’s your take?
Comment:  This video is reminiscent of the action you can see in my PEACE PARTY comics.

I wouldn't necessarily call the dance a "rain dance." We don't know if the boy intended to summon rain or if he simply asked the spirits to intervene. It looks like part of a powwow dance, and those dances aren't about rain.

And the action falls into the "Indians have supernatural powers" category. I suppose it's okay in this context, though I wouldn't do it too often. I'd also leave out the wolves and wolf-dogs.

I agree: the ending is overblown. A subtler victory would be more memorable and effective. As in PEACE PARTY, smart Indians win with clever words and ideas, not brute force.

For more on music videos, see Nakotah Larance in Geronimo Video and Hoop Dancers in Furtado Video.

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