The First Lady
Using her voice to uplift indigenous communities, and shed light on important issues, this hip-hop and spoken word artist, activist, facilitator, teacher, and single mother is best known as JB the First Lady. It’s a title she earned in her early beat-boxing days for always being eager to perform first at shows. As a kid, JB moved frequently, sometimes facing homelessness, and was often the subject of racism and bullying in the classroom. The member of the Nuxalk and Onondaga nations says it was hip-hop tha help empower her to reclaim her own identity, but the path to finding her voice was one fraught with adversity.
With fours studio albums under her belt, JB sees her songs as a way of capturing oral history, and isn’t afraid to write lyrics that speak to challenging subjects like residential schools and missing and murdered indigenous women. JB says she’s “just one part of a bigger picture.” but her work is made worthwhile by the knowledge that, although progress is slow, she can see reconciliation taking place. “We might not have true, authentic, real reconciliation on a national scale, or reconciliation that our linear minds will recognize, but organically, little spurts of social change are happening.