Logan City Hip Hop Collective

08 September 2015

Dr CHALMERS (Rankin) (21:20):  I was born in Logan City. I grew up there. I started a family there. I live there. I love the place. I am proud I get to represent it here in the people's house of the Australian parliament. For as long as I can remember, there has been something that has really got on my nerves about the way that our local suburbs and neighbourhoods are described and depicted. It is not the identification of our challenges that bothers me, because that is important. The problem is that too often our stories are told by those who do not understand our community or who do not take the time to learn about it. I am tired of people who do not understand us telling our stories for us. The peak of that frustration came a few months ago when there were rumours of plans to film a Struggle Street-style program in our area. I do not blame SBS—I am a huge supporter of theirs. In fact, they quickly clarified that no plans were afoot. But the whole experience crystallised for me this conviction—that in Logan City we must tell our own stories our own way.

I know from all my years in Logan that the soundtrack of our community is hip-hop music. It was for me, and it still is now. Hip-hop stories are sometimes positive, sometimes not, but they are real and important, with a genuine local feel that resonates in our suburbs, especially among our young people.

That is the idea behind the Logan City Hip Hop Collective, which was launched in Logan two weeks ago. A few months before then, I sat down with Jo Pratt, the CEO of the multicultural arts organisation called BEMAC, and I pitched the idea to her. Without hesitation, her response was, 'Let's do it.' She set her incredible music industry experience and contacts to work to put the collective together and involved BEMAC's partner, Access, which helped with the funding and the promotion as well. Jo and her team identified the artists, brought them together and organised all the logistics to put the show on, so I am incredibly thankful for and appreciative of her work and her colleagues' work.

On the Monday before the event, I spent time with a guy called MC Triks and the other artists at his recording studio in Slacks Creek. MC Triks is a natural leader for the group and for young people in our area. On the night of the event, he performed along with Zephania, Aygee Melody, African Murri, the Access Dance Crew, Lill'P, Provokal, ICEY Clique, Exit Strategy, Nuggy Gee, Osiris and Eazy Company. All of them put on an incredible show, including the ones who had never performed in public before.

The event was headlined by L-FRESH The LION, an incredible Australian performer out of Western Sydney, who had just come back from touring London. L-FRESH was our first choice because his music is often about inclusion. It is often about messages against racism—all kinds of positive messages which resonate in our community. So I was incredibly thankful that he could find a way to fit us into his busy schedule, which is only getting busier. I salute him and Mirrah and all of his team.

The entire night was filmed by a team of second-year students from Griffith Film School led by Dr Richard Fabb, from Griffith's LiveLab. They are planning on recording some of the local artists' stories and packaging them up into a documentary. I am really excited about this. I am thankful to them for all their time and effort, and I cannot wait to see what they produce in their final documentary production.

I believe hip-hop music has the potential to be a real force for understanding and a real force for good. The Logan City Hip Hop Collective is our big chance in my local area to harness the power of music to help build a community that looks out for each other and looks after each other. I want to thank again the collective and all of the organisers—all of the people who made the night such a success. I am proud of everyone involved. I am proud to be from Logan City. There is no reason why this cannot be a big step towards Logan becoming the hip-hop capital of Australia. More than that, it is a big step towards telling our own stories our own way, in beats and rhymes that have purpose and meaning. For all of these reasons, I look forward to the next performance of the Logan City Hip Hop Collective. I thank everyone involved. I salute everyone involved. Look out for us again.