They want to hear the Aboriginal experience.
—Gerry Barrett, entertainer
Winnipeg Aboriginal entertainer Gerry Barrett has the gig of a lifetime
coming up on January 21. He's been invited to perform at a Presidential
Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. The event will take place at the
Smithsonian Institute, one block from the U.S. Capitol Building. He's on
the bill with other Aboriginal artists, including Murray Porter
and Crystal Shawanda.
Barrett is a stand-up comic and an Elvis Presley tribute artist. "You put them together and it's a pretty deadly combination," Barrett says.
There are several celebratory balls and this one is called the Native Nations Inaugural Ball. "It costs $1000 and it's black tie, so I can't even afford to go to my own show," he quips.
Organizers state that the event is meant to 'highlight the self-determination of Native Nations.' And Barrett is sure issues coming out of the Idle No More movement will come up. "They want to hear the Aboriginal experience," he says. "There are several of course -- you've got traditional, you've got grassroots, and I consider myself the urban Aboriginal person."
Barrett says on the South side of the border, Native Americans are having the same issues with housing, education and healthcare. He's sure that through music and comedy, these topics will be addressed and different opinions will be expressed.
"It's certainly an honour," he says. "I've been at many events that celebrate leadership and I know how important it is to boost a nation's spirit -- a people's spirit, so I'm really looking forward to that."