The Blak Matriarch of Hip Hop, BARKAA, steps forward with her latest track, ‘Division’ to deliver a sharp clapback at the rejection of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
In the days leading up to the referendum, BARKAA was hopeful ‘Division’ would never need a public release, but as the national No vote became clear early on the evening of Saturday, October 14, the 28-year-old Malyangapa, Barkindji woman says she began to bring it in off the back burner.
“I was sitting there watching the results come in, and my mum said New South Wales is a ‘No’. I felt sad at first, and Mum just couldn’t’t fathom it. I was just so sad. But then a part of me was like, ‘At least I’m not crazy. Everything I’ve been feeling is real, is the truth. The nation’s rejection of us confirms it,” she says.
The shrewd appraisal of the hurtful referendum result is a no-holds-barred, ferocious drop that seethes with BARKAA’s implacable refusal to be silenced and a resolute will towards realising genuine self-determination.
I don’t want your table f*ck your table and it’s weak legs
F*ck your constitution you can keep it for them red necks
And every time you look at us I hope it makes you f*ckers sweat
Division also points to the ongoing socio-economic disadvantages and disparities between First Nations people and white Australia:
I’m sick of my mob locked up, all over petty crimes,
White man gets let off and the black fullas lose a life,
You got our kids messed up, rippin apart our family ties,
Look at the statistics on abuse their institutionalised
And takes aim at a bin load of racist and alarmist tropes deployed by No campaigners leading up to the referendum: recurring depictions that remain all-too prevalent not only among toxic social media trolls, but the national public psyche, says BARKAA:
“Whitefellas were worried that they were going to lose their houses and stuff. And it was all lies and falsehoods. The Vote No campaign, and I mean the whole No campaign, encouraged a nation to be dumb. It encourages a nation not to read and to be stupid. Like, why are you encouraging people not to read about their country’s own constitution and their country’s own laws?
I’m entitled to be a black, angry woman. We’ve now got to try to keep the effects of the No result away from our children. It’s hard to keep that from little ears. My little fella asked me, ‘Why do they hate us?’ And I had to be the one to try to pick up the broken pieces. I had to pick my son up and be like, ‘No Bub, in this home we’re alright. In here, you’re loved and fed and safe. Everything else is outside noise.”
Division’s real punch comes in the galvanising line: We ain’t done yet.
“Now you’ve said “No” to the Voice proposal, you’re gonna be hearing a lot more from us,” BARKAA warns.
“We’re going to keep shaping and adapting and moving as a culture. The referendum rejection is just a little blip. The rejection is a speck in our survival story. Our timeline is 65,000-years-plus of survival. Our destinies are our families. There’s no white saviour ship. And f*ck reconciliation. We don’t want it no more.”