We Rock Standing Rock
mni wiconi (water is life) has become the rally cry for the indigenous rights and climate control activism of the growing, powerful and mighty worldwide Standing Rock Movement. At a recent sold-out benefit, We Rock Standing Rock, at the Fonda Theater, as hundreds of concertgoers chanted those sacred and precious words, taking on a further heightened sense of emotional meaning and defiant stance.
The concert, headlined by TV on the Radio with over 17 other artists included Fiona Apple, Devendra Banhart, Patricia Arquette and Riley Keough, Native Rock Recording artist Robby Romero, Kimya Dawson, Benjamin Booker, Moses Sumney, Valerie June, Nahko, Holly Miranda, Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds), Becky Stark, Chapin Sisters, Jolie Holland, Bouquet and Bobbi Jean Three Legs (Lakota Youth), support the Standing Rock community, who recently celebrated a victory from the Dakota Access Pipeline controversial oil project (#NoDAPL) that needs continued support.
Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio organized the event. Bobbi Jean Three Legs of the Lakota Tribe, who led a 500-mile run against the Dakota Access Pipeline, spoke about the activists in involved in Standing Rock who have stood strong against all odds (the brutal harsh winter and the ensuing challenges and hardships that come with it as a result, militarized police brutality, corporation greed and racism, and distortion of facts biased against the water protectors).
All of the proceeds from the concert will benefit The Official Oceti Sakowin Camp (Seven Council Fires) Fund, Native Children’s Survival, The Seeding Sovereignty Project and GiveLove. Projectors Alliances (www.projectoralliance.org ) and GiveLove (www.givelove.org) have partnered to build 52 compost toilets at One Nation Camp (formerly Oceti Sakowin) and up to 10 at Rosebud Camp at Standing Rock. GiveLove is Patricia Arquette’s charity focusing on sustainable sanitation global in in conjunction with with Standing Rock Tribal Leadership.
At the concert, Arquette spoke about her charity with its eco-sanitation work and stated climate control affects the poorest of countries. In a separate interview, with the theartofa, Arquette discussed the GiveLove organization in greater detail and how Bobby Romano, also a performer at this event, asked her to get involved building compost toilets at the One Nation Camp and Rosebud Camp.
Musically, We Rock Standing Rock boasted a number of strong, memorable performances often politically charged around Mother Nature and the environment and encompassed other mass movements such as Black Lives Matters focusing on the interconnectedness we all share as human beings on earth and how those issues effect everyone collectively which are impossible to ignore.
Singer/songwriter Nahko shared his socially-conscious material relevant to the Standing Rock movement and struggles face on this planet. Nahko spoke of “this ridiculous time we as a country we in live and he added: “fuck Nestle.” Yet despite the challenges and obstacles that seem insurmountable, Nahko said believes in the “power of our culture and generation around the music to get us through the dark times of our lives in society.”
Kimya Dawson read a hard-hitting poem that addresses several movements and socio-economical and racially-charged issues. The stark and serious imagery was unmistakeable as if Dawson was commenting on the current headlines of the day reference to what is going in inner-city communities around the U.S. Her weighty words dealt a punch to the gut and caused lingering painful emotion deep inside of the listener.
Using unflattering, damaging stereotypes and derogatory language, Singer/songwriter Bobby Romano performed a song he wrote based on what he heard the police at Standing Rock say against the indigenous people to further highlight and draw attention to the abuse they face and endure as water protectors acting as non-violent peace warriors.
The We Rock Standing Rock benefit drove the urgent message home there is more work to be in this historical, compelling mass movement. It created an increased public awareness and managed to raise money selling out this show to fund this monumental effort thereby keeping it going. The musical performances both managed to echo and match the messages of the night and entertain the audiences while further raising their sensitivity and consciousness.