Supaman Spreads Good Medicine at EKU

Published on November 25, 2022

Christian Takes Gun Parrish, also known as Supaman, may not wear a cape or have superpowers, but he is a hero through his ability to celebrate the rich histories and diverse cultures of Indigenous peoples through dance, comedy and urban hip-hop culture.

Supaman with DJ Element spread the good medicine of resiliency, love, laughter and inclusion during the Chautauqua Lecture Series event held on Thursday, Nov. 17, at Eastern Kentucky University. The Dr. Bruce MacLaren Chautauqua Lecture Series explores the interdisciplinary theme of “Inter/Action(s)” with guest speakers hosted throughout the academic year, including scholars, writers, performers and public figures in a variety of areas. The Supaman lecture was the series’ keynote performance for Native American Heritage Month.

“His overriding message—about the value of respect, honor and love, about taking responsibility and making good choices, and about celebrating the present moment—is truly universal, but it takes a special person and a spirit as generous and talented as Supaman to bring this kind of message home and really make it resonate and stick,” said Dr. Erik Liddell, Chautauqua lecture coordinator. “It’s obviously difficult to confront big problems and tragedies, culturally and personally, but what makes it possible is when we understand this as our shared human condition and we embrace the challenges of life together, drawing on respect, honor and love, for others, for ourselves, for all creation.”

Born in Seattle, Washington, and growing up in Crow Agency, Montana, Supaman faced several challenges as his parents struggled with sobriety. He and his siblings spent time in foster care. His father lived in a cycle of addiction and eventually took his own life. Supaman realized at a young age the effects of addiction.

“It breaks the hearts of people you love the most,” he said. Supaman did not let this define him, and instead uses it as an opportunity to share his story.

“It was incredible to see how interactive the Supaman experience was,” said EKU senior broadcasting and electronic media major Joseph Becher. “I think it’s really powerful his relationship with alcoholism and his family. It’s nice to see people that have been on the dark side of that and come back and have a positive influence on people around them.”

Supaman’s goal is to create “good medicine,” which he says is music that is good for the soul and can serve as a remedy for healing. Supaman played several modern-day “medicine songs” and closed the performance with a prayer.

“I love the way this man blends tradition, old ways and modern ways to get the youth to care and to get the youth involved in bringing this medicine back to all of the people of Turtle Island (North America),” said Ashley Neff, a fan from Rockcastle County. “Because that’s what it’s about, it’s about loving each other. One heart, one mind, one love. Absolutely fabulous show.”

All Chautauqua Lectures are free and open to the public. For more information about the Dr. Bruce MacLaren Chautauqua Lecture Series at EKU and the 2022-23 schedule of speakers, visit chautauqua.eku.edu.