Friday Ephemera
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And In Arts News

In juvenile detention, she would write “really radical raps” that rattled her supervisors. 

Why, yes, I am reading the Guardian. Where the paper’s Janine Israel is positively gushing over aboriginal rapper Barkaa and her “politically potent” music.

The Malyangapa Barkindji woman… is on the verge of releasing her debut EP, Blak Matriarchy,

You know you want to.

Based in south-west Sydney, Barkaa takes her moniker from the Barkindji word for the Darling River. She comes across as warm and humble, 

Warm and humble. An interesting choice of words. And followed almost immediately by:

Earlier this year she played the Sydney Opera House forecourt, the lights of the harbour stretched out before her as she performed her song Bow Down: “They used to look down on me / Look who’s looking up now. Bow down.”

Regarding said ditty, our mistress of the surly pose and monotonous loop informs us,

Bow Down is one of my favourite tracks to perform because a lot of people growing up [were like]: ‘Oh you’re not going to be much, you’re just going to be a lowlife, you’re just going to be a junkie, you’re not going to get anywhere, you’re just going to be in and out of prison.’ It’s kind of like: middle fingers up to them.

Same article, seconds earlier:  

Born Chloe Quayle, the 26-year-old rapper was a former teenage ice addict who did three stints in jail – during her last, five years ago, she gave birth to her third child.

Despite three children, no father, or fathers, are mentioned. Well. Perhaps we should move on.

Being “unapologetically truthful and unapologetically Blak,” Ms Barkaa’s other contributions to human betterment include claims of “trauma” from being “colonised”; endless middle-fingering; and For My Tittas, in which the musicianship and wordsmithery are, like, totally next-level, dude:

Embrace your black skin

And your race within

You’re blessed by your blackness

And your dark-skinned kin

Raise strong black kids

Throw those drugs in the bin

And you’ll be bound to make

Your old people look at you and grin

It’s potent, world-rattling stuff. No wonder the Guardian is all a-gush.


Update, via the comments:

Jen notes that the Guardian’s comment section is heavily “pre-moderated,” presumably to ensure a unanimity of approval. As of the time of writing, some 62 hours in, only 8 readers have managed to penetrate the paper’s famed moderation, all scrupulously enthusiastic and very much on-message:

Strong, powerful, Earth Mother, Kali, survivor, loving mama, we hear your voice.

For instance.

In the comments, Daniel adds,

The irony - that absolutely no one would have ever heard of Ms Quayle had Ebil Yte music producers not picked her up out of whatever the Australian equivalent of the gutter is, packaged her for consumption by Ebil Yte Australian teenagers, and financed her distribution channels to Ebil Yte music stores and venues - does not go unnoticed.

I was poking through Ms Quayle’s YouTube videos, a joyless task, and couldn’t help noticing just how often approving comments would begin with some variation of “As a white…” It seems our Lady Of Limited Talents, to whom harmony and key changes, even simple rhythmic variation, are things of infinite mystery, is being marketed, with some success, to racially neurotic lefties.

And so, the Guardian’s Ms Israel somehow fails to register the details touched on above, or is at least careful not to acknowledge them, busying herself instead with airy waffle about artistic and political potency. Apparently, it takes near-superhuman talent to loop the same four bars of someone else’s music over and over again. Indeed, in terms of appeal, the music, such as it is, seems secondary, rather notional. What’s prompting the gushing appears to be the pigment and the pose. The idea of a jabbering aboriginal woman and her “really radical raps.”

What that says about enthusiasts, I leave to the reader.

Heavens, a button.