This Friday, immerse yourself in the secret culture of the Mardi Gras Indian with the dazzling documentary We Won’t Bow Down. The film, directed by Kenneth Jones, tells the story of the Mardi Gras Indians, a mysterious African-American tribe from New Orleans whose traditions go back centuries and which remain largely unknown to outsiders.
We Won’t Bow Down provides an intimate look at the lives of everyday members of the Mardi Gras Indian community and their mysterious practices, from elaborate rituals to elaborate handcrafted costumes. Through interviews and rare footage, director Jones illuminates their unique street culture and traditions, showing a part of New Orleans often overlooked by visitors and even locals.
The documentary also features candid interviews with prominent Mardi Gras Indians, who discuss racism and other injustice they have faced throughout the city’s history. These powerful conversations offer unique perspective on what it means to be an outsider in a society determined to ignore you.
This is an opportunity to experience one of America’s most vibrant cultural phenomena—a world full of pageantry, music, struggle, and celebration. At its heart, We Won’t Bow Down celebrates the resilience of a people determined to hold onto their customs, despite centuries of persecution. Get ready for an evening filled with pride and tradition—till 6am Saturday morning!
Friday is the start of a new weekend, ushering in a time for relaxation, fun, and some well-deserved downtime. If you’re looking for something a bit different to kick off your weekend, consider We Won’t Bow Down – an eye-opening cinematic exploration of the secret culture of the Mardi Gras Indians.
The film follows New Orleans-born photographer/filmmaker Cauleen Smith as she explores the extravagant, highly secretive “second-line” traditions of the city’s Mardi Gras Indians. The documentary peels back the curtain to reveal this sacred tradition and its vibrant history, which for generations has been celebrated on Shrove Tuesday in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood.
Throughout its duration, viewers get to watch as 35 colorful characters — aged between 5 and 93 years old — don their flamboyant costumes to take part in the second line celebration. From costume makers to musicians and performers to dancers—the film captures every angle while revealing its many unexpected facets as well.
More than just an entertaining visual spectacle, We Will Not Bow Down offers an intimate glimpse into a rarely witnessed subculture — one which stands testament to the colorful history of its people and an unyielding spirit of communal pride.
Whether you’re based in New Orleans or far away, it’s well worth taking the time out this Friday to get an insider view of this unique annual affair. After all, what better way to kick off a weekend than with something as inspiring and authentic as We Won’t Bow Down?
Today marks the beginning of a powerful experience: The screening of We Won’t Bow Down, a documentary that explores the secret culture of the Mardi Gras Indians. These people see themselves as African American Indigenous/Native American Metis and celebrate their culture through the Mardi Gras Indian traditions, costumes, and songs.
We Won’t Bow Down, created by directors Terance Craig and Krystal Ash, provides a look into the lives of four men within this culture – Chief Shaka of Wild Tchoupitoulas, ChiefBryan Yaheard of Young Seminole Hunters, Big Chief LeRoy “Smokey” Hendrix of Yellow Pocahontas and Spy Boy George Veal Jackson Wilson of Wild Apache Indians. Each of these men share their stories about growing up in poverty in New Orleans and how the Mardi Gras Indian culture has impacted their lives and the lives of others around them.
Through interviews with the four chiefs, viewers get to experience an inside look at their day-to-day experiences in one of America’s oldest cultural traditions. The film offers a comprehensive understanding that not only features their struggles with racism and injustice but also celebrates their courage, strength and resilience.