Renee Williamson was Indigenous X host from December 10 to December 15.
Five questions to Renee Williamson
I have a history of work experience and volunteer roles across areas of law, Indigenous programs, youth, reconciliation and the arts. I am passionate about Indigenous self-determination, the recognition of Indigenous rights and culture, the recognition of Indigenous excellence, the recognition and protection of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property, hip-hop (and music in general), and true reconciliation.
At the moment, I have taken a time out from my studies and work to focus on my health and well-being. It’s been a steep learning curve for someone that’s been non-stop, and who has always taken on a lot, to slow down and just be. And I now appreciate the value of self-care and letting go so much more.
But really, I’m a bit of a mixed bag so I’ll cover a lot of topics during the week. Mental health. Wellbeing. Politics. Self determination. Current news items and events…
I am very blessed to have an amazing partner. Both he and my son make me want to be the best person I could possibly be. The support that my partner has shown me, particularly during my recent health issues, has been amazing. One minute we can have deep intellectual conversations, and the next we carry on like idiots. We are a true partnership.
I also have an amazing circle of people around me – family, friends, colleagues etc. I am honestly so humbled to call many of them friends. I admire different things with each of them, and learn so much from them all.
Also exploitation in our communities from hip-hop workshop providers has to stop! There are a number of providers that are operating under “business blackface”. That is they use Indigenous symbology and present themselves in a way that gives them the appearance of an Indigenous organisation. But they are not. They have minimal, if any, Indigenous ownership, staff and governance. They can also have questionable professional qualifications and often have a lack of understanding and best practice with regards to Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights.
Also there’s this assumption that any Indigenous young person automatically loves hip-hop, or anything involving youth should have a hip-hop element. This sells our kids, and the art forms of hip-hop short. Yes, hip-hop can be a powerful medium for our peoples, but there are also those that are using it in an exploitative manner. These organisations are recording our stories and using them for their own benefit, financial and otherwise. Unfortunately these practices are not just restricted to hip-hop. It is still happening right through the arts.
I’m passionate about self determination, full stop. Across everything! Self determination is a term that has become really misrepresented, misunderstood and demonised. And self determination is not just an Indigenous issue. Everyone has the right to self determination. But as Indigenous peoples, we have had that right taken away and denied. We have had to fight for it – that is racism! It is oppression. It is an ongoing impact of colonisation and dispossession. Privilege is never having to even consider, let alone fight for, your self determination. Because it is a given.