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Indian Voices • May 2009
Hip Hop Photography Through an American Indian Lens
Congratulations to
Tim Giago and the
Ernie Paniccioli Bridging the
graffiti on the the Minds at the
Cultural Divide
streets of New Zulu Nation
Native Sun Newspaper
York his canvas. 27th
by Cherrie Richardson Collazzo Just recently Anniversary. He
The Native Sun Newspaper is hardly
Brother Ernie was the co-mod-
a month old but it is already serving a
Spring has ushered in a new day. So and I had the erator of The
role model for commitment, passion and
much for old style politics and revolu- pleasure to Zulu Nation's 3
the creative spirit. Through his journal-
tion. Indian Voices invites you to explore spend some time day Indigenous
istic skills and endurance Tim Giago has
the exciting cultural cutting edge. FYI together. During Peoples
indelibly branded himself as a forerun-
here is some information that you proba- a conversation, Conference in
ner, master journalist by creating and
bly did not know. Indian Voices, Hip- he shared with October 2008.
founding the first independently owned
Hop and Old School Photography. That’s me that those This Native
Indian newspaper in the United States.
Right!!!! times were like a American’s hip-
In 1979, his “Notes from Indian
What would you say if we were to premonition of hop photogra-
Country” in the Rapid City, South
tell you that the most profound impact things to come phy was on dis-
Dakota Journal became the first Indian
on the entire Hip-Hop Industry was and for him. He was play and fea-
voice in a South Dakota newspaper. In
very much still is tied to a Native drawn by the art tured right out-
1981, he began the Lakota Times. In
American man? and it evoked the side the Rock
1998, he sold the paper (now called
Well buckle your seatbelts, do not artist within him, and Roll Hall of
Indian Country Today) to the Oneida
adjust your headphones, you heard cor- He captured the
Ernie Paniccioli legendary Hip Hop photographer
Fame for The
Nation. The endeavor was a boon for
rectly and we are about to take you on a voices and spirits Roots, Rhymes
aspiring Indian writers.
journey into this Native legends life, of those that left their stories on the New and Rage exhibit in 1999. It was and a
Over the years that he ran the paper,
Ernie Paniccioli. York City buildings, subways, and what- featured part of that same exhibition at
a number of Native Americans who
Ernie Paniccioli known within the ever medium they felt needed to be their The Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2002.
worked for him later became successful
industry and his peers, family and place of expression. Brother Ernie started In 2002 Brother Ernie and Kevin
in journalism.
friends as Brother Ernie, is the epitome to take photographs of the people that Powell published a book documenting
During his writing and publishing
of the hip-hop culture. He is a seasoned, coincided with the dawn of a new time thirty years of his Hip Hop photography
career, Giago has won the H. L. Menken
gritty artist and renaissance man, whose at hand, namely hip-hop artists, MC’s, called “Who Shot Ya” (Amistad Press).
Award, the University of Missouri
art has covered everything and everyone rappers, and street dancers. Many have accredited Brother Ernie
Distinguished Journalism Award, and a
within the hip-hop industry to date. This From Grandmaster Flash at the Roxy with their love, respect and admiration.
Harvard University Neiman Fellowship.
article is a very special one, for it will (a popular Manhattan nightclub of the Quotes to testify this can be found in
Once ignited the creative spirit is not
take you on a journey that is very much late 70’s and early 1980s), to the athletic numerous articles, such as the ones
easily dampened
Native, very much a revolution, very moves of the legendary Rock Steady below:
After retiring for five years he decided
much art, and definitely American! Crew, to the fresh faces of Queen Latifah, “We the Hip Hop World Nation and
to jump back into the world of ink by
Brother Ernie was born in the late 40’s Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Beyond Earth must always respect our
debuting his new publication the Native
in Brooklyn New York to a full blooded Eminem, and Lauren Hill. Salt’n Peppa, brother for what he has offered to us and
Sun on April Fools Day 2009
Cree mother and Italian father. As an TLC. You name it if they were Hip-Hop that is his science of taking fantastic pic-
He says, “ Retirement isn’t all it is
urban Indian that found the hardships of he shot them. tures of our world. All praise due to the
cracked up to be. If one has a job that is
a profound existence early in life. Having been in the forefront of docu- Supreme Force for our warrior, father,
not a job, but a joy, leaving it is difficult.
Brother Ernie, no longer feeling like a menting the greatest cultural movement thinker, teacher, speaker, historian, and
I am excited and looking forward to
child left home at the age of 13 to relieve since Rock and Roll in the 1950s, powerful photographer. The Hip Hop
serving the Indian nations of America
his mother of another mouth to feed. He Brother Ernie also became a painter, Photo King”
with a newspaper they will truly enjoy
sought refuge as many inner-city kids public speaker, and historian. He pho- Afrika Bambaataa, Universal Zulu
do, on the streets of Brooklyn. He grew tographed a number of popular figures Nation:
Thank you Tim Giago for following
up in a time when gang wars, color beyond hip hop, such as Frank Sinatra, “Mr. Paniccioli documented the only
your path back to the Fourth Estate.
issues, racism and post WWII issues Liza Minelli, and John F. Kennedy, Jr., true representation of authentic hip hop
were plaguing this country. He wound Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, and more. history to date. He photographed the
“Everything really is equal.
up homeless on the streets of New York In 1989 Brother Ernie became the rise of the greatest inner city movement
The Creator doesn’t look at me any
and joined a gang in his pre-teens, a chief photographer for Word Up! of the last 27 years of the 20th Century.
better than He looks at the trees.
choice that at that time saved his life. Magazine. His work has appeared in The The God of Hip Hop photography.”
We’re all the same.”
Not being able to identify with anything New York Times, Time Magazine KRS1, The Temple of Hip Hop:
~ Janice Sundown Hattet, SENECA
or anyone, from a cultural point of view, Newsweek, Life, Rolling Stone, Spin, “Ernie Paniccioli has been that
and not belonging to anything or any- Vibe, Ebony, The Source and XXL. archivist of the urban emotion covering
Sometimes humans think we are the
one, he faced the brutalities that came Beyond this he entered the television the years leading to the millennium and
center of the Universe. Sometimes we
with the era, ethnic gang wars, racism arena. His credits include MTV and beyond. His work and integrity and hus-
think we are above or better than other
and ridicule. He wound up finding VH1, an uncountable number of radio tle have long provided that window to
people or things. The Great Spirit
acceptance and shelter within one of the appearances and speaking engagements. the Hip Hop world that was necessary to
made a set of Laws and Principles by
Brooklyn gangs. Brother Ernie included writing into exchange the culture way before big
which all things should live. Everybody
Brother Ernie’s journey is not the sto- his collective art palette and merged budget videos. We thank him for push-
and everything lives by the same Laws.
rybook type which so many times is them with images which can be found in ing our faces to the world”
We are all made of atoms just like the
interpreted as the “rags to riches” story. numerous books, such as: Turn Up The Chuck D, Public Enemy: “Truly the
trees. The life force in the middle of
It is one that demonstrates that the will Volume, A Celebration of Black Music Master Photographer of Hip Hop.”
the atom is the life force of the Great
to survive, the will to connect to ones (UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural Charlie Ahern: “Wild Style” and “yes
Mystery. It is the same for everything.
own spirit, and the will to not be bound History), Rap and Hip Hop, The Voice of yes y'all” “The career of photographer
We are all equal in the eyes of the
by the bias of human conditioning is A Generation (The Rosen Publishing Ernie Paniccioli has documented the
truly all one needs to achieve great Group). Lift Every Voice and Sing remarkable thirty year history of hip
things and to soar, as Brother Ernie did. (Random House). hop. Many visitors to the exhibition
For advertising opportunities contact:
Today still regarded as the most pre- He was chosen by KRS1 to be the “Hip Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes and
mier hip-hop photographer in America. spokesman for The Temple of Hip Hop Rage” at the Brooklyn Museum in 2000
He began his journey into this realm in at The United Nations at the Hip Hop had the opportunity to see a small slice
1973 when his 35mm camera became Peace conference in May of 2001. He
the brush and easel and the onset of was also the moderator at the Meeting of
SEE Hip Hop, page 13
(619) 234-4753
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