Ozi Batla to headline social justice gigs

June 18, 2011
Ozi Batla.
Ozi Batla.

Rapper Ozi Batla has long been known for speaking out on social issues. His band The Herd are well known for tracks such as “77%” ― which features the line “77% of Aussies are racist”, in response to an opinion poll result on the treatment of refugees during the Howard years.

The Herd's “Burn Down the Parliament” caused controversy when it was coincidentally released the same week as the 2003 Canberra bush fires.

In 2009, The Herd pulled out of a festival after discovering it was the “brainchild” of Andrew Garratt, the community relations officer at the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal. The band refused to play a coal industry gig.

Ozi Batla's debut solo album Wild Colonial, released last year, addressed the struggles faced by Australian battlers, black and white.

On June 30 in Sydney and July 7 in Melbourne, he headlines the “Three Things Hip Hop Approach”, an event that gets Australian hip hop acts talking about their opinions and solutions to global poverty and injustice.

Artists including The Last Kinection, Dialectrix and Thundamentals will jam on the three things they can do to help change the world for the better.

Green Left Weekly's Mat  Ward asks Ozi Batla to give three answers to three different questions.

* * *

1. Tell us three things you recommend doing to help change the world for the better.

1. Educate yourself ― if you don't know what you're talking about, don't make a fool of yourself.
2. Find what your passion is and follow it.
3. Put yourself in someone else's shoes.

2. Tell us your three favourite new releases for conscious listening and why you chose them.

1. Pharaoh Monch, War ― He's stayed hardcore and works his very clear message into the format.
2. Gil Scott-Heron (RIP), I'm New Here ― A true innovator and one of the most important artists of our time. He will be sorely missed.
3. The Herd, untitled new album ― Because no one else is doing it in Australia like we are!

3. Tell us your three favourite media outlets and why.

1. The ABC ― Apart from a tendency to “balance” news with conservative points of view, across all formats its still the most balanced news service in the country.
2. The British Guardian ― Fantastic breadth of subject matter and some of the best writers in the world.
3. The Australian Financial Review ― Well written, comprehensive, and it's good to know your enemy.

[Three Things' Hip Hop Approach: Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, Thursday June 30, doors open 8pm, $5 on the door; Prince Bandroom, St Kilda, Thursday July 7, doors open at 8pm, $5 on the door.]

'Put it on Wax', the lead single from Oz Batla's album Wild Colonial.


It's great that Ozi Batla is doing these gigs, but maybe he should have applied his first answer "educate yourself" to his answer about the media. The ABC is "balanced" only if you think it needs to strike a balance between the views of the Australian Labor Party and Liberal Party. In fact, research undertaken by the broadcaster has indicated that out of a total of 19 former staffers moving into party political positions, 10 have joined the Labor Party and nine the Liberal Party. But both parties are pro-establishment and pro-business. The ABC's values are shown in the appointment of its directors. http://www.abc.net.au/corp/board/board_members.htm One of its directors, historian Keith Windschuttle, says the story of the "stolen generations" of Aboriginal children is a myth invented by left-wing academic historians. Another, Maurice Newman, is a close personal friend of former prime minister John Howard. Newman has spent 40 years in stockbroking and investment banking and was the chairman of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX Limited) until late 2008. The biggest traders on the ASX are mining and banking giants. Another ABC director, Steven Skala, is the vice chairman of banking giant Deutsche Bank for Australia and New Zealand. Another, Cheryl Bart, serves as a non-executive director on numerous company boards including Spark Infrastructure Limited, ETSA Utilities, Shaw of Australia, Growth Properties Limited, and the Buckland Foundation. As for the Guardian, a good deconstruction of that newspaper is offered in the Media Lens book Guardians of Power. http://www.medialens.org/bookshop/guardians_of_power.php In their words: "We think people guided by ... positive motivations tend to look to the liberal press for honest opinion - they don't look to a right-wing press more obviously functioning as propaganda organs for power and profit. We believe that these liberal readers - people motivated to make the world a less brutal place - are being offered a world view that persuades them to accept the status quo, to be complacent, to not push for radical change. For example, if the right-wing, Tory media are saying it was right to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a lethal tyrant, and the liberal press are saying the invasion was 'a mistake', that means no-one is saying that the war was a war crime."

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