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Indigenous Rap Group Deni Mob Receives National Award

Graham Strahle
| August 28, 2019

Last year, a potent music video about mental illness facing young Indigenous Australians took out the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMA) Community Clip of the Year. ‘Thundercloud’ by B Town Warriors, a rap group comprising Indigenous students at Bourke High School, in north-west NSW, it was inspiring in its message of overcoming hardship through resilience. This year, the same award has gone to an equally potent video by Deni Mob, a First Nations group that comes out of another community project spearheaded by Desert Pea Media, which is a charity organisation that works with Indigenous young people across regional and isolated areas of Australia.

‘State Of The Heart’ is a hard-hitting rap song that breaks the silence over light skinned Indigenous people. Stereotyping in mainstream society over what constitutes Aboriginal identity often renders them invisible, and their particular challenges too frequently go ignored. Deni Mob, consisting of young people from the Barapa Barapa and Wemba Wemba communities in Deniliquin, NSW, drive home a powerful message about respect, belonging, and again resilience.

“You gotta know who you are, and where you’re from and where you belong,” are its opening words. “Our mob, our fair skinned black fellas, they’ve got the hardest fight of the lot of us. They gotta prove themselves who they are in our own mob as well as the mainstream mobs. It’s what’s in here [had to heart], and what you feel.”

Impressive in its high production values, ‘State Of The Heart’ has already collected some 4,000 views. See it here.

There were three other finalists for this year’s Community Clip of the Year award. ‘Play Good Way’, by Peppi School (aka Peppimenarti School) in the Daly region of NT, is an upbeat rap song promoting healthy mind and body. Also from the NT was Numbulwar School Band’s song about the need to end conflict, ‘What’s The Reason’, and Tiwi College’s uplifting ‘Picka Family’ that urges people to unite across cultural divides.

Compelling in every way, each finalist was a winner in their inspiration and conviction.

There are five other award categories in the NIMAs. Artist of the Year went to Baker Boy (aka Danzel Baker), having last year been awarded Best New Talent and receiving the Film Clip of the Year award for his rap song ‘Marryuna’. Mojo Juju took out both Song of the Year for her ground-breaking song ‘Native Tongue’ and Album of the Year for her album of the same name. New Talent of the Year went to Kaiit, Film Clip of the Year to Briggs for ‘Life Is Incredible’, while dance and pop band Mambali from Numbulwar was named Best New Northern Territory Talent.

Award night was held the Darwin Amphitheatre as part of the Darwin Festival.

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