Aussie entrepreneurs are handing over their Instagram handles today, to help amplify the voices of Indigenous entrepreneurs, artists and creatives online.
The #sharethemicnow campaign first ran in the US on June 10, with high-profile women including Kourtney Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd handing the reins of their Instagram accounts to women of colour.
Aboriginal author Tara June Winch has now brought the movement down under, enlisting founder of Go-To Skincare, Zoë Foster Blake, to help spearhead the campaign.
The pair have convinced the likes of athlete, author and influencer Turia Pitt and actor Madeliene West to hand over the reins of their Instagram accounts to offer a fresh platform for Indigenous women to be heard.
For one day only, Winch will be posting on Foster Blake’s profile, sharing content with her 763,000 followers.
Nine other entrepreneurs, artists, actors and authors have stood down from their Insta platforms to #sharethemicnowaustralia, creating room for nine Indigenous women in these spaces to share their views and experiences with a whole new audience.
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NEWS: The #sharethemicnow social media campaign was created to magnify Black women and the important work that they’re doing in order to catalyse the change that will come when we truly hear each other’s voices. . This Tuesday June 16 we are taking the movement to Australia where inspiring Blak indigenous womxn are taking over Australia’s non-indigenous celebrity Instagram accounts! . We need to #sharethemicnowaustralia to #amplifyaboriginalvoices in this conversation and discuss the future work we all need to do to address the privilege in the room, the broken heart of a nation and the effort that needs to go into being an anti-racist ally in Australia today. . More news soon from me and @zotheysay xox
“We need to #sharethemicnowaustralia to #amplifyaboriginalvoices in this conversation and discuss the future work we all need to do to address the privilege in the room, the broken heart of a nation and the effort that needs to go into being an anti-racist ally in Australia today,” Winch said in a post announcing the Aussie campaign.
In her own initial post, Foster Blake also noted the importance of continuing to share the mic.
“It’s our job to ensure it continues to be shared beyond this #trendy #hashtag #moment,” she wrote.
Goreng Goreng artist Rachael Sarra is posting on the page of the Shameless podcast. In her own post, Sarra noted that the intention is to connect Indigenous voices to new audiences.
However, she also said she wasn’t immediately bowled over by the idea.
“At first I was hesitant to do this, I am tired, I’m stretched thin and a % of it felt a bit off in the pit of my stomach. Why? I don’t 100% know,” she said.
“Maybe it’s because I feel like why is it taking something like this for us to be seen or heard, or maybe it’s because I’m just one very marketable version of a First Nation voice,” she added.
“This is not the solution but a stepping stone to a bigger picture. We are just 10 voices of a very big and diverse collective.”
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Today we are #sharingthemic with @sar.ra__: This is me Rachael Sarra – A proud Goreng Goreng woman, artist, designer and activist. Why this awkward photo you might ask? Well I was painting a mural and it was at this exact moment that my cousin captured my facial response to bypassers comment. “Aboriginal art huh, you’re not f**king Aboriginal.. Look at you” My appearance has come to be both a blessing and a curse. It comes with it’s complexities and confusion. I am continually having my identity questioned and that’s when I’m not already questioning it myself because of the bias that so openly exist in our environments. However it is from this perspective that I know the privileges that exist for some that definitely don’t for a lot of First Nations people. And although I don’t often fall under the racial profiling hat, I do see and experience the systematic and institutionalised racism everyday. So for me my brand was birthed out of an attempt to resist. It became a way for me to occupy and decolonize my own thinking and the spaces in which I work – with art and design. #sharethemicnowaustralia
Elsewhere, singer-songwriter Emily Warramara is posting on the account of musician and author Clare Bowditch, musician Mo’Ju is posting on that of actress Phoebe Tonkin, and actor and activist Shareena Clanton is posting on Turia Pitt’s account, sharing content with her 979,000 followers.
“I encourage you to read her posts, follow her and examine your reactions to any of her words that may challenge you. It’s uncomfortable unpacking our privilege, but it’s also liberating,” Pitt said in an Insta caption.
Marlee Silva co-founded tiddas4tiddas, a platform highlighting the work and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, along with her sister Keely.
Today, Marlee Silva is posting on the Insta account of Madeleine West.
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The initiative comes as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gather momentum all over the world. Following the death of George Floyd in police custody in the US, millions of people have taken to the streets worldwide, protesting police brutality and white supremacy.
In Australia, the movement has drawn renewed attention to the disproportionate number of deaths in custody among Indigenous people — 437 indigenous people have died in custody since 1991, with no convictions made.
The action has also led to several social media campaigns calling for anti-racist behaviour, and urging non-Indigenous people to shop at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses and follow Indigenous artists and activists, to educate themselves and put their money where their mouth is.
“I want you to value their voice beyond today, these few womxn who represent a sea of unheard and underrepresented first nations womxn,” Winch wrote on Foster Blake’s platform this morning.
“I want to ask you to go slowly, listen, and reflect, and make a plan for the difficult work into the future.”
An earlier version of this story failed to include the name of Shareena Clanton, while including that of the woman whose Instagram account she was posting on for the day.
This was an accidental oversight, but we realise it was a serious and significant mistake that undermines the very point of the campaign.
We apologise to Shareena for the error, and to everyone involved in the #sharethemicnowaustralia movement.
The article also referred to the campaign as a ‘takeover’ several times. We have since become aware that this language wasn’t reflective of the event, and have edited the piece accordingly.
As a publication, we are always striving to be better allies to Black people, Indigenous Australians and People of Colour. We are sorry that we missed the mark this time, and we will use this as a learning experience. Thank you to everyone who called us out on our mistake.