Interview with Felipe Rose, the Indian from “The Village People” winner of “Best Dance Song” for his song “Going Back To My Roots” at the 2018 Native American Music Awards.
The 2018 Native American Music Awards were hosted at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Resort in Niagara, NY.
Felipe Rose came into prominence in the 1970s out of the urban gay clubs and discotheques of New York City. He was best known in those days as the Native “Indian” dancer and singer inspired by his parent’s heritage when he met a French producer by the name of Jacque Morali. Felipe's ancestry is that of Taino and Lakota. His mother was from Puerto Rico and his father arrived from a wave of Indians who came to New York City to work in construction in the 1950's. Felipe would grow up in the ghettos of Brownsville, Brooklyn, but his rise to pop music fame would make him a fixture in mainstream music culture.
Felipe became an original member of Village People fame, by the young age of 19 yrs old. Village People began as a disco group well known for their on-stage costumes and named after New York City's Greenwich Village. Originally created by Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo inspired by Felipe's insidious imagery to target disco's gay audience, the Village People quickly became popular and moved into the mainstream. The group scored several disco dance hits internationally, including three hits in the US, “Macho Man, “In the Navy“, and their biggest hit, “Y.M.C.A.“.
Now four decades later, Felipe and Village People remained a pop culture mainstay in music, sports arenas, commercials and television as they continue to tour the world. “Y.M.C.A” remains the group's biggest hit since it’s release in 1978. The song remains popular and is played throughout the U.S. and Europe, with crowds using the dance in which the arms are used to spell out the four letters of the song's title. The song is number 7 on VH1‘s list of The 100 Greatest Dance Songs of the 20th Century.
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