The Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Program celebrated their Native American Heritage day by bringing motivational speakers Rezheadz to the Pawhuska Public Schools.
“I decided why not bring them here to share their message with our kids – not only with the Native Americans but the whole school,” said Asa Cunningham, Pawhuska JOM President.
Rezheadz is made up of Jason “Smoke” Nichols, Melissa “MiMi” Nichols and Stuart “Big S2” Perkins, who addresses bullying, self-esteem, leadership and academic achievement.
“Their prevention on bullying is what really caught my eye because I’ve seen a lot of bullying in the schools,” Cunningham said. “I’ve had my own children bullied by other children and so I just thought it would be a good message to go out to all.”
According to Dosomething.org, 90 percent of students are victims of bullying. Fifty seven percent of students who experience bullying in school never report the incident. Ten percent of those who do not report it stay quiet because they feel that the faculty cannot do anything.
The uniqueness to Rezheadz is they use music as one of their tools to talk to youth.
“When the young people see we are rappers they get interested but when they find out we are more than just rappers it does something to them – it’s life changing,” said Jason Nichols, founder of Rezheadz.
Nichols (Sioux/Chippewa Cree) uses music to bridge the gaps between controversy and problems youth face. Four years ago Nichols and his wife, MiMi (Cherokee/Comanche), lost their 12-year-old daughter to bullying.
“Bullying for us as parents was something we didn’t know what to look for – we didn’t’ realize it was happening,” Nichols said. “Parents need to ask questions more often because some kids don’t want to talk about it since it can be such a traumatic experience.”
When Nichols talks to youth he tries to be on their level so they can see he isn’t much different than they are.
“It makes them think and emotionally attaches them to our message once they find out who we are and what we do,” he said.
Pawhuska high school student, Sadie Sellers, who is also the 2012-2013 Pawhuska JOM Princess, said she liked how Rezheadz expressed their message through music.
“I thought they were pretty awesome and it was cool that they talked to us about bullying because I’ve been bullied before,” she said.
The two pieces of advice Sellers took away from the Rezheadz performance was to not bottle up your feelings and to talk to someone.
Cunningham spoke with some of the Pawhuska teachers and principals who said they enjoyed Rezheadz’s message as well.
“They said it was a much needed message to be sent to the students because nobody talks to them,” she said.
Nichols said the students were “so in tune” when they were presenting.
“A lot of schools that are mixed (races) sometimes only the Native kids pay attention and I don’t mean that in a bias way but here in Pawhuska everyone listened,” he said.
“They were all respectful and receptive to what we had to say,” added MiMi.
Nichols and MiMi are from the Fort Worth, Texas area. Big S2 is an enrolled Red Lake member from Minneapolis. Last year alone, Rezheadz did 258 shows across the country.
Also, they are up for six 2012 Native American Music Awards, which include Debut Artist of the Year, Record of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.
Original Publish Date: 2012-11-15 00:00:00