After reading this tribute to Candy Royalle in The Guardian I thought I would write a few words about a lesson that I learned from her a few years ago. Candy was a warrior in her craft, an honest and fierce wordsmith. I recall at a music industry discussion/ workshop in God Queen a few years ago that Candy also attended – I brought up some of the challenges of being a female music photographer in a male-dominated industry –particularly in the hip hop scene in Sydney. I was convicted by some of the unethical practices happening within the industry and its double standards; and choosing not to conform to certain activities or practices, let alone document such things and staying silent on what I have witnessed. Her response resonated with me which was to 'speak truth to bullshit'. The thing that didn't sit right with me was that I am also a qualified social worker, and human rights and social justice principles are fundamental in our practice. It did not make sense for me to treat them as a binary set of values and practice standards across industries. That is the essence of human rights and social justice. Being honest is a daily choice. It's not like one day you wake up and then you are suddenly an honest person. We make the choice everyday whether we take the hard road or the easy road. I know I have had my fair share of silence and speaking truth along my journey both professionally and personally. Some people have told me that I am brave because I am honest, but ironically to be honest, sometimes I am and sometimes I am not. I definitely have a long way to go. I just want to encourage you to do the same as it is the first step to freedom for many, including yourself.
Condolences to her family and loved ones, may they have the strength and courage as they mourn the loss of this beautiful soul.
On Sunday Nate and I shot the Carols at The Newport (the Northern Beaches) for Sydney musician, Kylie Fisher (of Lady Red Entertainment) and her live band. The venue had such a relaxed ambience surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of the lake. There were lots of kiddies busting a move to all the classic Christmas and pop tunes. Kylie is always amazing with the crowd and leading her team. Thanks for having us cover it. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I was recently asked by MC Trey to develop a short documentary video entitled 'We Still Rockin', which is about the hip hop in Australia, from the perspectives of female artists' and community workers. These women have contributed to the development of the scene since maybe the 1990s-2000s and continue to practice as artists and youth and community development workers across Western Sydney and greater Sydney, working with young emerging artists.
Our first interview was with MC Trey's long time friend MC Thorn at Redfern Community Centre. Thorn took us back in time into what life looked like for a young person back then. I was fascinated by Thorn's passionate narrative and Trey was definitely feeling it too as they reminisced on the good old days.
I look forward to our next set of interviews with Trey and her friends. Our video will be part of the 'It's Our Thing: More history on Australian hip hop (Part II)' exhibition at Blacktown Arts Centre between 22 June 2017 to 12 August 2017.
Update: the video was exhibited alongside some amazing artworks from artists and hip hop practitioners. It was a very inspiring exhibition. To view the mini-documentary 'We Still Rockin' click on the image below.
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