Hottest 100: AB Orig­i­nal and Dan Sul­tan praise date change at Arias

The Guardian Australia - - Headlines /news - Naa­man Zhou

Aus­tralian mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing Dan Sul­tan and the Indigenous rap duo AB Orig­i­nal, have praised Triple J’s de­ci­sion to move the date of the Hottest 100, call­ing it “a beau­ti­ful ges­ture” that marks “the dif­fer­ence be­tween whether you’re an ar­se­hole or a nice per­son”.

Speak­ing on the red car­pet at Tues­day night’s Aria awards, Briggs, of AB Orig­i­nal, said the de­ci­sion re­flected “how the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple feel” and was a wel­come “step to­wards eq­uity and in­clu­siv­ity”.

“It’s a dumb day, it’s stupid. Aus­tralia Day is trash. 14 years old. We’ve got 80,000 years of his­tory here and you want to cel­e­brate Aus­tralia Day?”

Sul­tan said Triple J’s de­ci­sion to change the date was an act of em­pa­thy that made him “proud to be an Aus­tralian”.

“That day com­mem­o­rates the be­gin­ning of the on­go­ing geno­cide of our peo­ple,” he said. “Em­pa­thy is im­por­tant. It shows a sign of in­tel­li­gence and it shows a sign of com­pas­sion and it’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween whether you’re an ar­se­hole or a nice per­son.”

Last year, Briggs, fel­low MC Tri­als and Sul­tan re­leased the protest song Jan­uary 26, which calls for the date of Aus­tralia Day to be moved away from the an­niver­sary of Bri­tish in­va­sion. The song reached No 16 on that year’s count­down.

Sul­tan wel­comed Triple J’s de­ci­sion, which came af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with Indigenous groups and a pub­lic sur­vey of the sta­tion’s lis­ten­ers. For the next two years, the an­nual mu­sic count­down will be held on the fourth week­end of Jan­uary.

“It’s not the an­swer but it’s a step in the right di­rec­tion,” Sul­tan said. “It’s very im­por­tant, it’s mag­nif­i­cent and I’m very proud to be an Aus­tralian. And I’m very proud to have a bit to do with Triple J as well. And any­one who doesn’t like it, they’re not nec­es­sary big­ots or racists, but they can get fucked.”

Briggs and Tri­als said the change was long over­due.

“Peo­ple al­ways ask us whether we dropped it [Jan­uary 26] on pur­pose be­cause we felt it com­ing or some­thing,” Tri­als said. “But these are all very old is­sues, it’s all old hat.”

Briggs added: “If any­thing, we were late.”

Tri­als said: “If this al­bum dropped when we were kids we would be mak­ing dif­fer­ent records now. We made this record be­cause it didn’t ex­ist.”

Triple J’s move comes af­ter a long-run­ning cam­paign among Indigenous Aus­tralians to change the date of the national hol­i­day.

Other mu­si­cians backed the change. Lind­say “the Doc­tor” McDougall, the for­mer Triple J host whose band Fren­zal Rhomb got their sixth Aria nom­i­na­tion this year, said the move was “ob­vi­ously go­ing to hap­pen”.

“[The Hottest 100 has] only been on Jan­uary 26 since 1998, it’s not that his­toric re­ally,” he said. “I’ve been com­ing to these things longer than the Hottest 100 has been on Jan­uary 26.

“Hope­fully they’ll stick to their guns and don’t get pushed around by those weird old peo­ple in gov­ern­ment who would never lis­ten to the Hottest 100 and yet have an opin­ion on it.”

Dave Le’au­pepe, who was nom­i­nated for eight Arias as lead singer of Syd­ney band Gang of Youths, said he “stood in sol­i­dar­ity” with Indigenous Aus­tralians who wanted the date changed.

“I’m an Indigenous per­son to the Pa­cific Is­lands so of course I’m not go­ing to protest it be­ing moved,” he said. “I ad­vo­cate for it be­ing changed ... if not, I can’t look my Indigenous friends in the eyes and say I stood by them as a per­son of colour.”

Is­abella Man­fredi, the lead singer of the Prea­tures, said the de­ci­sion was “con­tentious” but “all brave de­ci­sions are”.

In Au­gust, Prea­tures re­leased the sin­gle Yanada, in which Man­fredi sings the cho­rus in the Indigenous Darug lan­guage, co-writ­ten with Indigenous woman Jac­inta Tobin.

“We’ve spent the last year work­ing with the Indigenous com­mu­nity in Syd­ney writ­ing in Darug and that was a big part of this record for us,” Man­fredi said. “We’ve heard the sto­ries first hand from peo­ple in the com­mu­nity why it’s im­por­tant. And it is im­por­tant to have a day that we can all cel­e­brate. So I think it’s a fan­tas­tic de­ci­sion and very coura­geous.”

Briggs and Tri­als were nom­i­nated for best ur­ban re­lease and best in­de­pen­dent re­lease at this year’s Arias for their de­but al­bum as AB Orig­i­nal, Re­claim Aus­tralia.

“I think it’s a good tra­jec­tory for the in­dus­try,” Briggs said. “It’s also a good in­di­ca­tion of how the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple feel. They’re rea­son­able folks who know that Aus­tralia Day is trash and we can’t en­joy the count­down that in­cludes our songs on that day.”

Tri­als and Briggs of AB Orig­i­nal at the Aria awards. Briggs says mov­ing Triple J’s Hottest 100 from 26 Jan­uary was ‘a step to­wards eq­uity and in­clu­siv­ity’. Pho­to­graph: Zak Kacz­marek/Getty Images for ARIA

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