(JB the First Lady and Chief Rock collaborated on the song Sisterz)
APTN National News
Jerilynn Webster had been waiting for a song about missing and murdered Indigenous women to come to her.
One solemn morning in February, while attending a protest about the acquittal of Bradley Barton, the man accused of murdering Cindy Gladue, Webster caught a moment of inspiration.
“There was a speaker there whose sister was missing,” said Webster. “He said, ‘I’m looking for my sister and I don’t know why I have to look for my sister. I want to walk the alleys and the streets, I wanna walk all the highways, I wanna walk this whole damn world!’ I was like, ‘wow’ I said, ‘that’s the song.’”
Webster, also known as her stage name, JB the First Lady, has been a Vancouver based hip-hop artist for the past eight years.
She said everyone is affected by the issue of MMIW and that she wants to use her voice to advocate on behalf of those who cannot.
“We need to stand up for that,” she said.
She collaborated on the song titled Sisterz with fellow artist and friend Sino General, also known as Chief Rock.
A preview of the song can be heard here: Sisterz
“We’re using hip hop as a contemporary form of oral tradition and it’s our way of communicating our oral history to our people and cataloguing it for future generations,” said Webster.
The two wrote and recorded the song in just one hour and what unfolded was a telling emotional and spiritual experience.
“I put the beat on, started free styling the song,” said General. “All these lyrics kept pouring out of me, they wouldn’t stop. I got my pen and started writing everything down. Songs happen like this once and a while, but never quite like this.”
Webster said there was a tangible presence in the studio that everyone could feel, it was a moment that caused her to burst into tears while recording the track.
“It was just so powerful,” said Webster.
Their vision for the song has grown into one that they hope will reach far and beyond political and cultural barriers. That through the universal language of music the message of MMIW will get across the world.
“That people will say “wow, Canada really needs to step up and bring justice to these women and justice to our community,” said Webster.
They’ve partnered with Butterflies in Spirit, a Vancouver based dance group to perform in the upcoming music video to be shot the first week of July. Butterflies in Spirit is comprised of a group of women who are family members of MMIW. The group’s choreographer was also inspired by the song when after she heard it she had a dream that she then created the dance from.
The duo has started a GofundMe campaign to raise money to shoot the music video at various urban centres across Canada where Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing.
Details of the campaign here: GofundMe.
The song will be released via the Enter Tribal label the first week of July on the album titled Hitting the Trail and will be available to purchase online through iTunes and CD Baby.