The new CBC series 8th Fire, hosted by Wab Kinew and featuring Winnipeg’s Most amongst many other talented Indians, challenges the relationships between “us” and “them”.
Tonight debuts the first episode of 8th Fire, the new, four-part CBC series exploring relationship building between Indigenous and settler society in Canada. Geared towards a much larger, non-Indigenous audience, the first episode is meant to introduce a broad cross-section of Aboriginal peoples to Canada and features rappers Winnipeg’s Most, Taiaiake Alfred, and Evan Adams amongst others.
Winnipeg’s Most, from Winnipeg, is no stranger to living in diverse communities. The city is known for not only its substantial Native population but also a wide variety of other ethnicities. Over the phone Jon-C states “we are hip-hop artists that are doing something that appeals to everyone, to people in other cities going through similar things.” The group cleaned up at the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards last November leaving with 6 major recognitions, but they are a mixed group themselves with Jon-C and Brooklyn (both Aboriginal) and Charlie Fettah (Irish).
Jon-C says the group was excited to be approached by CBC to participate in the documentary but they didn’t realize the depth of what the show was about culturally until they had completed shooting. “We do US, make music, do shows. So we were just answering with honesty.” Winnipeg’s Most is honoured to attend the premiere screening party at IMAX Portage Place in Winnipeg tonight, and be able to share their story and their lives. “We came from rapping about the street and somehow we ended up being role-models. It feels good to be looked at as achievers, after coming from a place where under-achievement was expected 100%.”
The host of 8th Fire, Wab Kinew (Ojibway from Onigaming First Nation) is an accomplished musician in how own right and became interested in dispelling myths after working on a personal piece for CBC’s The National chronicling his father’s residential school experience, the impacts in his family and later resolving its effects. Wab states in an article on cbc.ca “The big lesson I had learned, and that I shared with the producers, is that Canadians WILL empathize with Aboriginal people if we let them walk a mile in our moccasins.” After going through the process of filming 8TH Fire he reflects “my Aboriginal side and my non-aboriginal side are getting along better than ever.”
The first episode airs Thursday January 12 at 9 pm on CBC-TV and Friday January 13 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC News Network.
Watch the 8th Fire preview and below that, check out the 12 minute story CBC’s The National aired last night on Winnipeg’s Most:
Troubled Past, Promising Future: