ST. IGNATIUS — Two Eagle River School graduate, 19-year-old Jayante Pichette, live performed his COVID-19 youth outreach and education effort message via a rap rendition Saturday evening on the grounds of the Mission Catholic Church. It was the latest Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes COVID Youth Community Care and Awareness Campaign with the Tribal Education Department leading the effort.
The young rapper was raised in St. Ignatius by his family Elders Debra Pichette and grandmother Marian Pichette. He plans to attend Salish Kootenai College to further his education in computer technology and use that education to further his musical career. He had attended SKC following TERS graduation but had to withdraw in October 2019 to rehabilitate from injuries sustained in a car accident.
He said he was more interested in producing music and musicians than being a performer and has been learning and practicing that profession since 2014.
Watch the video below:
“I am more of a producer than an artist. I’ve always loved music. It has kept me out of trouble,” Jayante said, and he would like to continue that route but felt it was important to use his rapping ability to help spread the COVID-19 message among the youth. “Young people have to be aware of the prevention and their part in doing that. It’s very important because we have to take care, save our Elders. They are the ones who paved the way for us and we must continue to care for them as we continue the journey together.”
Besides, performing for the COVID-19 effort Jayante says he doesn’t go to Missoula or places where there is a greater risk of exposure. “I stay close to my Elders and don’t want to do anything that might put them at risk,” he said. “This helps me spread the message and the opportunity to showcase my art. My lyrics have a purpose: we must care for our Elders, stay close to them. We don’t want to lose them before their time. They are the caretakers of our culture and language.”
In his reason for involvement in the youth message effort, he stated:
“My emotions and heart go into everything I create It all started in my bedroom when I downloaded an app called GarageBand, I still produce to this day only using my phone. This project with the Tribes means a lot to me, we should take this seriously, as a community it’s important we wear our masks and do anything possible to protect ourselves.”
Jayante biggest musical inspirations are Michael Jackson, Logic, J Cole, The Weeknd, and Phora. I produce a variety of genres of music. Another inspiration in my personal life is his grandmother Marian Pichette.
“I’ve always wanted to make this world and my community a better place, one day at a time,” he said. “To show love, appreciation, and respect to everyone, and try to make everyone you cross paths with smile.”
The COVID-19 awareness message for Flathead Reservation youth is built on themes such as #ProtectOurElders and #WalkTogetherWell in order to inspire youth to carry the themes to peers, involve family, and positively impact health and safety in the tribal community. The hashtags with the video are #ProtectOurElders, #fixyourmask, #csktcovidchallenge, #csktchallenge, and #walktogetherwell. Youth “Challengers” will be asked to follow the artist and, in their post, include the hashtags, as shown above, in order to keep message branding and momentum.