Gyasi Ross: An exit interview by a Super Fancy Skin

"Gyasi Ross interviews Gyasi “Fancy Skin” Ross and gives insight about this blog, life and his plans for the future.

Gyasi Ross (“Gyasi Ross”): Hey, how’re you doing? Thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me. I appreciate you getting dressed up and looking sharp and handsome for this. Congratulations on successfully finishing a provocative and unprecedented 26 week series!
Gyasi “Fancy Skin” Ross (“Fancy Skin”): Hey, no problem. I’ll be completely honest though – I thought that you were a woman so I got all dressed up! Figured it had to be a chick with a name like “Gyasi,” but hey, whatever. … anyway, thanks for taking the time to interview me. As for the series – it was incredible and fun.

Gyasi Ross: Fair enough. I guess the first obvious question is: why do this series?
Fancy Skin: Well to be truthful, I wanted to create a series for Native people that was both good and honest. We don’t have a lot of good AND honest material floating around in Indian country – instead, we have a lot of Natives who create material that is supposed to appeal to a white audience and contains a lot of convenient “Indian” references that white people will “get.” For me, I could care less if white people “got” this – I didn’t write this asking for white people’s money – in fact, I turned down all money for this. I have a job, so I didn’t need to cater to anybody or anything other than the truth. So you’ll notice that there is not an overabundance of references to “commodities,” “coyotes,” “spirituality,” or “Indian cars.” The only time I spoke about alcoholism was first-hand experiences, and my references to poverty were meant to be hopeful. What I’m saying is that I didn’t want to use my culture as a gimmick – I think that’s been done a million times already.

Gyasi Ross: And that was your theme? Truthfulness? Sounds very self-righteous.
Fancy Skin: No, “truth” wasn’t my theme, and I certainly don’t have a monopoly on it. A good portion of this series was, instead, based upon “insecurities.” I think talking about insecurities is healthy and helps with healing. I had many insecurities growing up – not just being poor or alcohol issues. But many things – I grew up with a full-blood mom and a mixed-blood father in a family of all full-bloods. My cousins teased me about being mixed blood and having holes in my shoes all the time!! And I’m not special; if I grew up with these insecurities, then I know that a lot of other Natives have exactly the same insecurities. Not just about blood quantum or poverty, but also about being pigeon-toed or not being smart enough or tough enough. Good God – Indian men are very tough! I was raised by all women – I didn’t know how to fight! "

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross 26.0: Exit interview (Indian Country Today 12/8)

Related Stories:
Gyasi Ross: Resolving to be a mentor for Native youth (12/1)
Gyasi Ross: Those terrifying trips to the outhouse (11/24)
Gyasi Ross: Still learning the ropes of fatherhood (11/12)
Gyasi Ross: Becoming an elder or just getting old (11/2)
Gyasi Ross: What's the proper role of tribal elders? (10/26)
Gyasi Ross: Roles of tribal leaders and citizens (10/19)
Gyasi Ross: A fear of leaving the reservation (10/13)
Gyasi Ross: Resolution for getting unstuck (10/7)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals as Indian family reunions (9/29)
Gyasi Ross: Some wisdom from Homer Simpson (9/14)
Gyasi Ross: Finding a Skin for dating and mating (9/9)
Gyasi Ross: The heavy breathing Indian woman (8/31)
Gyasi Ross: The tradition of Indian warriors (8/18)
Gyasi Ross: Favorites of the corny Indian family (7/28)
Gyasi Ross: Skin relationships with white folks (7/21)
Gyasi Ross: Feeling insecure about being Skin (7/15)
Gyasi Ross: CNN and the Indian Child Welfare Act (7/1)
Gyasi Ross: Much love for Skins in movies (6/22)
Gyasi Ross: Fancy Skins and non-fancy Skins (6/15)