Indie

Portugal. The Man And ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day On ‘Who’s Gonna Stop Me’

Today is Columbus Day, but some folks are instead choosing to observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day; both are among the top-trending topics on Twitter today. One band in the latter group is Portugal. The Man, who have teamed up with “Weird Al” Yankovic for a new (non-parody) song, “Who’s Gonna Stop Me.”

The lyrics are about trying to get by in a world where you aren’t a priority, and the video features indigenous people lip syncing the words. The clip also features Yankovic playing a wolf spirit character. In a statement accompanying the track, Portugal. The Man discussed the colonization of America and human progress before noting:

“Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, mother earth is reacting to the past few hundred years of neglect. The earth is sending out pandemics, fires, hurricanes, and so on. The indigenous say that it’s the earth’s immune system calibrating itself. The indigenous people of the Americas, and the rest of the world, have stewarded their sacred planet for tens of thousands of years of recorded history — likely more. The PTM Foundation turns a conscious heart to the ancestral youth of the indigenous elders to shepherd our sacred planet and peoples through this time of difficulty.”

The PTM Foundation, by the way, is the band’s organization that is described on its website, “PTM Foundation is focused on building community resilience, empathy, and awareness through music, stories, art, education and connectivity. We aim to convene and organize partnerships and projects informed by community need, then mobilize Portugal. The Man’s listeners and supporters around that shared vision.”

The band said in a statement about the track, “For all those who thought we reached the pinnacle of our career, we just wrote a song with Jeff Bhasker and Paul Williams featuring Weird Al Yankovic and The Last Artful Dodgr. Then we made a video with all our best friends in our backyard and in the river, we live on. So there.” Elsewhere in their statement, the band also wrote of Yankovic, “To us ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic has always been a figure of playful boundary-breaking. His work makes us take less seriously, the things that we take so seriously, like what’s cool, or what’s trendy. ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic has been an inspiration for Portugal The Man since their inception until now.”

Listen to “Who’s Gonna Stop Me” above, and find the band’s full statement about the song below.

“They say barbwire was the death knell of the cowboy. It was the end of the open range and the end of open pastures. Before the cowboys, for time immemorial, the indigenous peoples of the Americas looked to the earth as their spiritual authority. They did not parcel the earth any more than Christians, Muslims, or the Jewish faith would parcel out God. That would be sacrilege. But along came the colonists and they did just that. After the genocide of the indigenous peoples, once our white picket fences and barbwire and border walls were erected, the ancestors of the colonists made a lot of technological progress. We invented cars, skyscrapers, cheeseburgers, and smartphones! And yet now, at the dawn of the 21st century, mother earth is reacting to the past few hundred years of neglect. The earth is sending out pandemics, fires, hurricanes, and so on. The indigenous say that it’s the earth’s immune system calibrating itself. The indigenous people of the Americas, and the rest of the world, have stewarded their sacred planet for tens of thousands of years of recorded history — likely more. The PTM Foundation turns a conscious heart to the ancestral youth of the indigenous elders to shepherd our sacred planet and peoples through this time of difficulty.

The PTM Foundation is a platform for artistic collaboration between materialist culture, the arts, and indigenous paradigms. For the video for “Who’s Gonna Stop Me” we created a collaboration between indigenous artists, friends, artistic collaborators, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, and Indigenous organizations to explore the possibilities of collaboration in this new time. To us ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic has always been a figure of playful boundary-breaking. His work makes us take less seriously, the things that we take so seriously, like what’s cool, or what’s trendy. ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic has been an inspiration for Portugal The Man since their inception until now. In the tradition of the indigenous cultures of the western North American territories, the Coyote represents the trickster and the maker of new worlds. The trickster is an archetype that can be found in nearly all indigenous and ancient cultures; the trickster not only is playful and a comedian but through their playfulness, they connect people. PTM Foundation sees music and art as a similar tool to make new connections and we consider this video to be the beginning of a campaign of many collaborations to come. PTM Foundation strives to forge bridges between the materialist contemporary culture in which we are immersed and the indigenous stewards to whom we strive to give a larger voice.”

Portugal. The Man is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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