Canadian Mohawk singer Shawnee is using her new song "Warrior Heart" to support the prevention of suicides among indigenous youth.
Proceeds from the newly released song will go towards We Matter, a national campaign designed to support indigenous youth struggling with suicidal thoughts and other hardships. According to the Government of Canada, among First Nations youth is five to seven times higher than the Canadian average, with Inuit youth 11 times more likely to commit suicide.
Created in 2016 by Denınu K’ue First Nations brother and sister Kelvin and Tunchai Redver, We Matter aims to connect indigenous youth using interactive multimedia. Some of the many people who've already contributed videos to We Matter include electronic band A Tribe Called Red, NHL hockey player Jordin Tootoo and media personality Wab Kinew.
"'Warrior Heart' expresses my own hardships as a young person, but more than that, it speaks to inspiring these young people to fight for their lives as they are warriors,” said Shawnee in a statement. "I have decided to work with the We Matter campaign. It’s an indigenous organization that brings workshops to reserves working with youth to empower them."
The song, written by Shawnee, was produced by Hill Kourkoutis (The Weeknd/Serena Ryder), Dan Shub (A Tribe Called Red) and Tim Thorney (Alanis Morissette/Jimmy Rankin). In it, Shawnee repeatedly belts out the line "Stay/And show them what you're made of" while pow wow singing and drumming is subtly mixed underneath. In an accompanying video for the song, the camera follows a distressed tween girl roaming through forest and brush before she experiences a transformation where she ends up dressed in traditional garb.
Shawnee, who's openly gay and a strong advocate for the "two spirit" indigenous community, has been called one of the world's "top gender bending artists" by MTV and has shared stages with the likes of Lady Gaga and Tegan And Sara.
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