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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Armstead

Culture Spotlight Featuring Diana Hellson

Diana Hellson is an interdisciplinary artist (R&B/Hip Hop Artist Mamarudegyal MTHC) and Founder of Indigenous Hip Hop & Multimedia group Rudegang Entertainment. Originally from Calgary Ab and currently located in Vancouver BC, Diana has been making film and content with her Rudegang Entertainment team since 2015. As a cinematographer, Diana has Directed numerous Music Videos, a Short Documentary, Produced several Corporate videos and continues to grow her portfolio through ongoing projects.

Meet Rudegang Entertainment; an Afro-Indigenous Hip Hop & Multimedia group hell bent on sharing authentic Hip Hop and Dope Content on the Regular. A Collective of four Talented Indigenous Artists (Hope, Doobie, Onata & Mamarudegyal MTHC), Rudegang Entertainment place a high value on Integrity and Authenticity in all they do. Founded by Indigenous/West Indian Interdisciplinary Artist Diana Hellson (Mamarudegyal MTHC) and Salish Hip Hop artist Patrick Kelly (Hope - Status Krew).

Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival. Having a film selected for the Hip Hop Film Festival was such exciting news for my team and I at Rudegang Entertainment. Ss an Afro-Indigenous Hip Hop artist and Film Maker, the idea of having my work shown for an NYC audience fulfilled part of a larger goal I've always had as a creator and I am grateful for the opportunity. I really enjoyed the way this festival chose to cope with new COVID-19 related red tape, allowing us to share this film festival in our own community here in Canada. The virtual cinema is such a great way to share these works with festival goers who are already so used to using apps like Netflix to view Movies and TV.

Why are stories from the culture important? Without us telling our own stories and publicly owning our own personal and collective narratives, people from outside the Hip Hop or Black or Indigenous communities will take it upon themselves to tell these stories through their lens and their POV. This causes our important stories, histories and the nuances of our cultures to be misappropriated, changed, misunderstood or used to stereotype and tokenize, even when good intentions are involved. It is imperative that stories from the culture are told to increase representation of true hip hop, of melanated bodies and voices and to normalize our truths and experiences the way that eurocentric and patriarchal archetypes, narratives and experiences are normalized.

What projects are you working on now? Currently, Rudegang Entertainment is working on a number of projects including Music Videos for an upcoming Indigenous Artist to compliment the his upcoming album that we are Executive Producing. We were also commissioned by the Weltkuturen Museum of Frankfurt Germany to produce a 30 Minute Documentary which we were which is a portrait of 3 Indigenous Artists (A Weaver, A Carver and A Poet/Rapper) who were supposed to have an exhibit at the museum but can no longer fly there due to COVID. Rudegang Entertainment is also producing short tutorial videos in collaboration with Taking IT Global.

Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? As this is my first year and I am not totally familiar with these two institutions I don't want to say too much. What I will say is that I have not seen another Hip Hop Film Festival (like this, or at all yet) and to me as a canadian hip hop artist and filmmaker, the value of having this Festival and Film House based in NYC is not only very cool and exciting for me but also accentuates the authenticity of the festival and perhaps even boosts the credibility of the works and creators featured within by being run and organized by community members of the birthplace of Hip Hop itself. It is so important for the communities with birth-right ownership over the culture and narratives, to be the ones to choose which works and creators best represent the community or culture.

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