Meet The Lakota Rapper Bringing The Noise About Indigenous People

Healing trauma and building community.

Frank Waln didn't initially set out to be a rapper.

The Sicangu Lakota was born on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and was told to be something "practical." He was the first person from his high school to get a full ride to Creighton University in Nebraska to study pre-med. After working at Indian Health Service hospital, he left Nebraska in order to pursue his dream of—you guessed it—music elsewhere.

It was when he moved to Chicago to study the audio arts and acoustics at Columbia College that his life found a new direction. "The culture shock I encountered when I moved to Chicago, realizing that people don’t know about Natives. The first week I was here, I met a girl who thought Native Americans were extinct," Waln told In These Times in 2015. It was that conversation that would draw him to speak about his life as a Native American, about how historical trauma and cultural genocide are deeply embedded within that experience, and about healing his community.

💀 Photo by Marc Fraser

A photo posted by Frank Waln (@frankwaln) on

Native Americans in the United States are still feeling the egregious effects of colonization: One in 10 deaths among Native Americans is alcohol related, with a high rate of alcohol fetal syndrome. The suicide rate on reservations is extremely high, with 40 percent of those taking their own life being between 15 and 24. One in four Native people live in poverty, with a high unemployment rate.

"As Indigenous people, we’re born into historical trauma and systems that were built on the destruction of our people," Waln said. "I didn’t know I was poor growing up. We had our culture, family and beautiful things, even though there are drugs, alcohol and violence as a result of the history our ancestors faced. Growing up on the rez made me who I am. I wouldn’t have it any other way."

His upcoming album, Tokiya, a Lakota word meaning, "first born", "first creation" and "first of its kind" is both his first solo album and concept project. "A lot of it is telling the story of how I'm trying to deal and heal from the historical trauma that has been dealt to me through my ancestors and through being a survivor of genocide."

The title of the album is also extremely important, as it sheds light on cultural loss of language that Native people experienced. "My great-great parents were the last people to learn [their] language because of the boarding schools and all that was done to try and wipe out our culture—so I'm trying to incorporate it in my creative process as much as I can."

Waln seeks to discuss colonization of Native people in the United States while still respecting the hip-hop culture's black origins, citing Nas, Dead Prez and Talib Kweli as influences on his rhythmic style. "As an artist, the challenges are complex and on multiple levels. My generation identified with hip-hop, but there were no opportunities to express that, let alone make music. Another obstacle that I’m still working through as an indigenous hip-hop artist is respecting the origins of hip-hop in black culture, and not erasing that."

He also remains vigilant in drawing parallels between two marginalized communities. "Black folks are coming up out of a history of slavery that their ancestors had to endure. And my ancestors and myself we're coming up out of a history of genocide—so we are both being oppressed by this system that was imposed on us," he said in Here & Now earlier this year. "When I moved to Chicago, I started doing workshops and going to schools that were in inner-city Chicago. And I saw the parallels there and I didn't even know they really existed. And then it started to make sense why I gravitated to that music and those stories."

Listen to his beautiful record "Victory Song" here:

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Pornhub has turned things up a notch for their second annual awards show with performances from Bad Bunny, Kali Uchis, Rico Nasty and Tommy Genesis.

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Actor Hosea Chanchez attends the Inaugural Ball hosted by BET Networks at Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.
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Former 'The Game' Actor Hosea Chanchez Reveals He Was Molested As A Teen

Actor and director Hosea Chanchez opened up about a traumatizing incident in his youth. Best known for his role on The Game, the 37-year-old revealed he was molested at the age of 14.

In an Instagram post Tuesday (Sept. 3) the actor explained how fear kept him from sharing how a friend's father molested him and threatened him if he told anyone. Chanchez, the child of a single mother, said he viewed the older man as a father figure. "He would always tell me I was like his other son, so I can trust he's always looking for me," he said. "Further building my trust and commitment to his predatory agenda."

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Produced by Naughton, Chanchez wrote and directed the play about a father who loses his child to leukemia. His grievance lasts 36 days as he finds solace in his daughter's toys. The play carries messages about the importance of mental health in the African-American community.

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Chanchez starred in Mara Brock Akil-directed series The Game as Malik Wright, from 2006 to 2015.


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Im Hosea chanchez and when I was 14 years old I was molested BY my friends father. This man is a predator, preying on children who’s trust he’s falsely built through lies, manipulation, threats and secrets. I hope this truth helps to stop child molesting predators from sexually assaulting more children. Pedophiles have no place in our society they hide in the open and rape children who are afraid to speak up because of shame, guilt, fear, denial and the thought that no one will believe them. Im doing this to help parents and young children become aware of some of the signs and better protect themselves from sexual predators. (Swipe to read my TRUTH)

A post shared by Hosea Chanchez (@hoseachanchez) on Sep 3, 2019 at 1:36pm PDT

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Rosalia And Ozuna Bring The Heat To The VMAs Stage With 'Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi'

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