Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo fights DAPL & Cancer
Los Angeles (CNN) “The Fight” — it’s the new single by Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas.
And he’s been doing a lot of fighting lately.
He’s been on the front lines with fellow Native Americans trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built on their sacred land.
Taboo also recently opened up about his battle with stage 2 testicular cancer.
For the moment, he’s winning both fights.
Taboo joined John Vause on “CNN Newsroom L.A.” and was asked why he’s going public now after being free and clear of the disease since 2014.
Taboo: “First of all, it was a long process of doing chemotherapy for 12 weeks, 5 days a week, 6 hours a day. It was really intense. There were moments when I wanted to give up. Luckily, I continued my fight and got through all of the rounds of chemo. I wanted to rehabilitate myself — fully. When you’re doing chemotherapy, you usually get chemo brain. It’s psychological. It’s physical. I needed to heal first before I came out and said anything. Along my journey of healing, I had a baby girl who came as a surprise because they told us we couldn’t have no more kids. By the grace of the Creator we were able to have our baby girl…”
“Throughout my journey, I was able to build a partnership with The American Cancer Society. I said to myself, ‘You know what, with my music career, I’m able to speak to over 70 million people. How can I use that platform and be a voice to help millions of people with the same fight that I went through — the same struggle?’ So I utilized that moment as momentum to become part of ACS. That’s why it took me awhile to really come out and tell my story.”
Vause: “Let’s talk about what’s happening in North Dakota. There seems like there’s a win. The Army Corp. of Engineers have come out and said that essentially the pipeline will not go ahead across sacred lands. They’ve essentially blocked it. Many protesters, as well as yourself, believe this is not necessarily winning the war but more of a delay. Why is that?”
Taboo: “Just to clarify — we’re protectors, not protesters. I think there’s a misconception and I just wanna educate the media and let people know that a lot of times people say that we’re protesting — but how do you protest protecting sacred land that has been hundreds of years? I feel like it was my calling as a Native American, but more than that, as a human being to stand in solidarity with North Dakota, with my people that are there from different tribes, different ethnicities coming together. There was over 9,000 people at the campsite when we were there the day after Thanksgiving. I feel like it’s a small step forward in this battle, but we still have a lot of work today.”
Vause: “We have a statement from the two companies behind the pipeline. ‘ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional re-routing in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.’ Clearly, they’re not giving up and in 40 days or so, President Obama will not be in the White House. There will be President Trump and he’s much more sympathetic to the pipeline. So what are you expecting?”
Taboo: “You know what? The power of the people is a lot stronger than the people in power. I feel like the fact that we’ve come together to stand with our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock — there’s a lot of fight in us. It’s not like a fight where we’re gonna be causing a ruckus, pulling out weapons or anything like that. I think that’s another misconception. I always see that, you know, ‘The protesters are burning down cars!’ and all this chaotic type of behavior. I feel like that’s a big misconception and I want to clarify. I went to Standing Rock the day after Thanksgiving and what I saw was positivity. I saw a family environment. I saw children at the campsite. I saw a sense of community — something that is not painted by the media. I feel like we need to have more people like yourselves that are really addressing it and bringing that topic to the world.”
Vause: I want to talk about people coming together for this because there’s been a star-studded cast of musicians — Dave Matthews… Jane Fonda was out there giving Thanksgiving dinner. It’s also united the native communities as well, and that’s symbolized in a new song that you’ve put together called “Stand Up: Stand N Rock.” It seems to be a lot more than just the pipeline, it seems like an anthem for indigenous people.”
Taboo: “It is. You know, the fact that I was able to bring all these amazing artists together to create a song that stands in solidarity with Standing Rock — it’s our way of saying, ‘Thank you’ to the protectors for being on the front lines, for putting their lives on the line. Because we didn’t know if those water cannons were gonna kill anybody, hypothermia, pepper spray, mace — whatever it was that they were using… I saw a lot of activity that was pretty cruel. I wanted to do something that uplifts people’s spirits with an anthem… I needed to shed my light that I’ve gotten throughout my career with the Black Eyed Peas and show the world how amazing these artists are. You know, it’s not about me no more, it’s about us. How do I be of service to these people?”
Vause: “At the same time, it’s bringing all of these native communities together like never before. It seems unprecedented in many ways.”
Taboo: “Yeah. I’m the voice. I’m gonna be the voice. I will be the voice that brings all my people together. Whether it’s here in North America, or whether it’s Aboriginals in Australia, Māoris in New Zealand, South American indigenous people, people in Brazil in the Amazon — that’s my new perspective in life, my new purpose.”
Produced by: Ben Bamsey for “CNN Newsroom L.A.”