Australian hip hop has a reputation for focusing on issues of more substance than flashing cash and shaking booty, a student produced music video filmed in Orange this week proved no exception.
Charity organisation, Desert Pea Media collaborated with Orange High School, James Sheahan Catholic High School and Canobolas Rural Technology High School to create a song focusing on mental health issues for indigenous youth.
The group of 15 students worked with the team over two weeks, which involved a week of workshops on mental health, a full day in the studio and then two days shooting the video.
Orange High School teacher’s aid and indigenous education mentor Jacob Sutherland worked with the students on the project.
Mr Sutherland said that shame is often a barrier for indigenous youth seeking support for issues around mental health.
“The workshops got the students talking about how it effects them,” he said.
“Young people see other people speaking about it and they realise that you’re not mad if you go and seek help or talk about it to your friends.”
Desert Pea Media were invited to work with indigenous youth across six regions over four months, through a NSW Primary Health Networks intiative.
The project, called Break It Down, focuses on breaking down stigmas and encouraging conversations around mental health.
The group sent a team of six people to Orange for two weeks as the final component of its four month initiative.
Desert Pea Media CEO Toby Findlayson said the charity organisation was born out of response to what he sees as unacceptable social conditions for indigenous young people.
“Indigenous Australians are facing critical youth suicide rates, unemployment, higher incarceration rates and reduced life expectancy,” he said.
“Change comes from talking about it – so that’s what we do.”
The organisation has used music to create national dialogue of these issues with The B-Town Warriors, from Bourke High School in north-western New South Wales, featuring on The Project and having their song People of the Red Sunset added to the Triple J playlist.
Mr Findlay is hoping to have the Orange students song on You Tube in May.