On the Pine Ridge Reservation, if you took heed to many of the unfortunate narratives around what can be known to various members in the community as “Oglala Makoce”, you may internalize the idea that someone like Wanbli Ceya aka Lakota pop superstar JUQ could not exist in a place shrouded with much negativity. But nonetheless he is live and ready to show all of Unci Maka his latest visual release by the title of “LE WINYAN KIN WASTE”, his newest music video. “The intent with any of my work, is to really showcase all the possibilities to all of my relatives who may or may not see them. I’m an Oglala koskolaka who is actively sober and seeking Lakolwicohan, and to be the best influence for my people, especially the youth.”
“LE WINYAN KIN WASTE” is the lead single off of Wanbli’s latest project “nya”, something he bills as “the 2nd chapter” to his life story in many ways, “the oglala wolf puppy w/ PTSD”. Wanbli says that the visual along with its release date is very fitting with the song itself. “I decided to release the video on Valentine’s Day, though some may not celebrate (myself included), many do. And the core message of this song and video is love, and my people’s respective experiences of it.” Wanbli states, “in this visual I’m depicting a young Lakota couple who just moved into their own apartment and I think I just wanted to show a cute dynamic between 2 Lakotas. There are so many jokes, and memes that go around on social media about how ‘rez couples’ are toxic, native women are crazy, etc.
I just wanted to remind people that healthy relationship dynamics are possible off or within reservations and there are so many couples who are beautiful examples of that, it just takes work, self-reflection, and developing the ability to see how your life growing up, your relationship with your parents, etc. Can impact how you experience love, romantically and platonically. I just want my people or anyone to see this and be like ‘that’s just cute, I want that” and then I’ll be like, “well you can, just take time to figure yourself out 1st.’”
His dear friend Katrina Colhoff played the lead in this music video and Latoya Blacksmith acted as the Director of Photography. The song itself was produced by Wanbli with help in regards to the translations coming from his ciye Alexander Wounded Side. “This song would serve to be the 1st pop song of mine to be entirely in Lakota, while half of this project (nya) is also in Lakota.
I really hope through these efforts Ican hopefully inspire my people to get back into our ways, language. It’s every part of who we are and the only reason I’m still here. Lakolwicohan saved my life so I feel I owe my life to the wakanpi, my people, language to try and make things better. All in all the song is about embracing my winyan for the impact she has made on me, so much so I honor her with a blanket. Simple… the video is just cute as well.” the cutest in all of the indigenous music scene, Wanbli jokes afterwards.
With the future coming in hot, Wanbli is eager to keep building and put more music and content to hopefully fund the various initiatives he plans to launch in the coming years for his Oglalas on the Pine Ridge Reservation. From formerly struggling with homelessness, to leaving structures he thought were needed for his work, Wanbli continues to persevere. “I don’t think it’s really in me to give up, because I know who this is truly, and sincerely for. My Oglalas, My Oceti Sakowin, our Black hills, etc. So best believe I have more coming, got a couple more visuals off this album and the 3rd chapter is coming this November. Watch out, oyatekin.”
Watch his latest music video “LE WINYAN KIN WASTE” on:
Purchase / stream his latest project “nya”:
If you’d like to contact Wanbli about physical copies of his newest project “nya”, would like to donate to the continuation of his music and efforts on the Pine Ridge Reservation, would like to book him for any upcoming events, etc. please use the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org