Filming continues for the upcoming TFO show #Coulers du Nord, and this past Wednesday, a new episode was captured in West Nipissing, culminating with a mural unveiling at the Cache Bay community centre.
However, filming in West Nipissing has given Michelle the opportunity to return home and share her talents with the community.
Field is her hometown, and her family is all there, so returning to the area to shoot #Coulers du Nord has been a great experience for the artist.
Each episode revolves around Michelle working with a group of local children. They share their stories about the community and show Michelle some of the area’s highlights. The goal is to learn about the history and culture of the communities, with a strong focus on Indigenous stories.
As the stories are told, and viewers learn about the region, Michelle and the kids collaborate on ideas for a mural, which they create together throughout the episode.
“It’s so important, I’m so excited it’s happening,” Michelle said, referring to the importance of increasing the representation of Indigenous youth on TV.
“Kids should be able to see people who look like them to know that they’re capable of doing whatever they want to do,” she said, and the show accomplishes that, while also showcasing “all the riches the north has.”
Michelle places her aesthetic style, and much of her artistic philosophy, within the realm of hip-hop, and the revolutionary power hip-hop generates.
“Hip-hop is not just music,” she said, “it’s the elements, you’ve got your MC’s, your DJ’s your b-girls and b-boys and you have your graffiti,” which of course is highlighted throughout the series.
“And I strongly believe that hip-hop is the solution to end all of this stupid racism and discrimination and oppression based on identity,” she added.
For Michelle, hip-hop “is our own democracy for anybody who is invisible, or a visible minority.”
“Not all identities or abilities or genders are represented in our politics,” she emphasized, “and all the elements of hip-hop are a good way to remind people that we’re still here, we exist, and we deserve our rights.”
After unveiling the new artwork in Cache Bay, the cast and crew are heading to film in Timmins, Kapuskasing, and Temagami.
“We have three days, and I have to make it happen no matter what” she joked, referring to how long they have to create the mural.
“It’s cool that these towns have said yes and trusted us” to create these pieces, Michelle said, adding how happy she is that TFO and Lopii Productions have entrusted her with hosting the series.
“It’s breaking that stereotype that these kinds of arts only belong in urban areas,” she said.
“This is a perfect example of progress in our society,” she added, referring to the series’ emphasis on listening to local youth.
“I do think that is the solution,” she said, for listening to the children and coming together through art “brings progress” for those voices that can often go unheard.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.