Speaker connects two worlds
History month keynote delivered by artist in film and music
Casey Matlock | reporter
Gary “Litefoot” Davis, actor and rapper, says that dreams require self-determination.
“Carving a niche, creating your own path, it requires a million times more energy to make it happen,” he said. “It’s not specific to be Native American, it’s something that is implacable to anyone, anywhere on earth. So I think that’s why to this day, it’s not been crazy for me to have people in Hungary, Turkey, Japan, Germany identify with the message.”
Davis, famous for his clothing line “Native Style” and role in the movie “The Indian in the Cupboard,” was the keynote speaker to approximately 30 students and faculty members at “Walking in Two Worlds” on Monday, Nov. 18 in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of Overman Student Center. The event was sponsored by the Office of Student Diversity and the Tilford Group.
Cate Dunn, junior in pre-med and biology says she was surprised by Davis’s choice of words.
“I thought it was really interesting because it was a little bit different than I expected,” she said. “I thought that he would talk more about growing up Native American, but he talked more about life and motivational aspects, although I thought that was pretty good.”
Davis spoke about how life choices such as turning down an RCA record deal and a 10 episode guest spot defined his dedication to sticking to his morals.
“The record company said that as long as I don’t rap about being Native American, then I’ll have a career,” he said. “The people around me thought that I was crazy that I turned down that much money and fame, but I wasn’t going to let their words define who I am and what I wanted to do.”
Magali Chase, freshman in vocal music, says he took Davis’s words to heart.
“My favorite part was when he said, ‘you were born to do something in this world and only you can do it because there is only one of you; nobody in this room could ever tell you what you were born to do,’” Chase said. “What he said just blew my mind away because it just made me think of so many things that I could relate to.”
The evening ended with a rap by Davis, which received a standing ovation. One audience member thanked Davis for his speech and work to inspire students to follow their dreams.
Following the speech, Davis signed copies of “The Indian in the Cupboard” DVDs and took pictures with fans.
“My favorite part was the ending when he rapping; it was interesting and informative as well about the history,” said Julia Senkiv, instructor of Russian.
Dunn added she was passionate about Davis advocating for Native American empowerment.
“He did a rap at the end and that was really cool,” she said. “I also loved when he talked about specific Native American figures and fighting for Native American rights.