'Avatar'-Inspired Song by Victor-E of El Vuh

It's hard to believe, but director James Cameron's blockbuster film Avatar just turned one year old last Saturday. The birthday of the highest-grossing movie in cinematic history has coincided with talk of confirmed sequels to come. But before any new Avatar films hit the silver screen, rapper Victor-E of the Los Angeles mexindigenous hip-hop group El Vuh has just released a new song and music video explaining his take on the first installment of the series.

Avatar the Song” begins with an interpretative announcement: “Now let's review Mr. James Cameron's movie Avatar/ In all sincerity / He didn't have to look far/ For his story line/ It's his story and mine/ Let's go back in time.” Victor-E then plays film critic and historian on the mic, rapping about the centuries-long history of European settler colonialism in the Western Hemisphere as seen from an indigenous perspective. The music video underscores his rhymes, as it intersperses scenes from Avatar the film in between historical snapshots of boarding schools, ecological destruction and native rituals.

Clearly, for Victor-E, the blockbuster hit was more than just an entertaining movie with dazzling special effects. It functions as an opportunity to voice his views about history as well. The chorus of the song ends in the words “Avatar is not beyond this star,” and asks listeners to review the plot line of the film, in which Pandora and its indigenous Na'vi population face destructive colonization as an analogy of what has happened here on Earth.

Avatar the Song” is just one of many interpretative takes inspired by the popular film to emerge this year. In another example, this February protesters along the West Bank in Palestine dressed up as the Na'vi people to align their cause with Avatar.

This also isn't the first time El Vuh's MC's have taken to the mic to comment on indigenous issues portrayed in major motion pictures. Before “Avatar the Song,” the group tackled Mel Gibson's Apocalypto with harsh lyrics. No word yet, however, from Victor-E if his latest offering will be included in the group's soon-to-be released four-song Autumn Equinox Winter Solstice EP.

In the meantime, the underground hip-hop group opened for Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah at a sold-out show at the Roxy last month, and they have another video out for their first single “Ciudad Celestial” off of their forthcoming EP featuring Rocco from the famed Mexican rock-ska band Maldita Vecindad. An official release date has yet to be announced. Winter Solstice is available now on El Vuh's website.

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