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Straight outta Tahltan: First Nation beader creates medallion for Ice Cube — who wears it on stage

Beader Carmen Dennis drove more than 1,600 kilometres to see the Straight Outta Compton rapper perform in Abbotsford, B.C., and gift him some of her artwork.

Carmen Dennis says she played Ice Cube's It Was a Good Day on loop while she beaded

A rapper on stage.

Feb. 20 was a good day for Carmen Dennis.

The Tahltan artist, who lives in the community of Dease Lake, in B.C.'s far northwest, had spent two days driving more than 1,600 kilometres to see the rapper Ice Cube perform in Abbotsford, about 64 kilometres southeast of Vancouver.

To celebrate the occasion, she had created a medallion bearing the Straight Outta Compton rapper's image, using beading techniques she learned from an elder. She wore it to the show, which sparked conversations with some fellow fans.

But as the rapper tore through his hits, Dennis' niece and daughter, who were also at the concert, convinced her to take the medallion off and let them throw it on stage in the hopes of getting his attention.

WATCH | Ice Cube receives and wears Dennis' medallion:

Straight outta Tahltan: Beader creates medallion for Ice Cube — who wears it on stage

10 hours ago

Duration 1:17

Tahltan First Nation beader Carmen Dennis travelled two days from her home in Dease Lake, near the B.C.-Yukon border, to see Ice Cube perform in Abbotsford, B.C. She also beaded a medallion featuring the rapper's face — which she tossed on the stage during the concert, then watched as Ice Cube picked it up, put it on, and wear it through his encore performance.

Before she knew it, the rapper — who also stars in movies including Boyz n the Hood, and the Friday and Are We There Yet? franchises —was wearing it around his neck, keeping it on for the rest of his set and his encore.

"Thank you for whoever made this," Ice Cube said as Dennis filmed him holding her artwork up for the crowd. "I appreciate it so much."

And Dennis' reaction?

"I was shaking so bad," she said in an interview with CBC Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk. "My heart was pounding."

Ice Cube, who started his career with the rap group and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees N.W.A. before going on to have a massive solo music and film career, has just kicked off a series of Canadian tours, starting with the Abbotsford show Dennis attended.

She said the instant she heard he was coming to Canada, she knew she had to be at one of his shows, even if it meant a multi-day drive.

"He's very inspirational," she said, adding she has followed his career over multiple decades. "He's one of my favourite artists."

In the lead-up to the concert, she said, she was trying to manifest getting her work into the rapper's hands, repeatedly playing his track It Was a Good Day while she beaded.

By a twist of fate, that was the first song he performed after putting the medallion on.

Ice Cube is now headed across the country before coming back to B.C., including a show in Prince George that is somewhat closer to Dennis' home community — an 11-hour drive, rather than 18.

Dennis is hoping to be at that show and even more hopeful the musician will continue to wear her work — but even if he doesn't, she'll always have the memory, and footage, of one of her favourite rappers displaying a part of her culture.

"To have someone as iconic as Ice Cube wearing a piece of my art, that's just, like, a dream come true."


Andrew Kurjata

CBC Prince George | @akurjata

Andrew Kurjata is a CBC British Columbia journalist born and based in Lheidli T'enneh territory in Prince George, B.C. He has covered the people and politics of northern British Columbia for more than a decade. You can email him at andrew.kurjata@cbc.ca.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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