AUSSIE hip-hop sensation Nate Weatherall landed in Moree to lead music workshops and help raise the next generation of hip-hop greats.
The visit at the Multi-Purpose Centre was part of week-long youth week celebrations to acknowledge young people and their contributions to Australia.
Nate, a member of the Gumbaynggirr tribe of NSW, first turned to hip-hop when he was 18. “Music allows you to speak your mind and connect with people,” he said.
“It has been part of our culture for thousands of years, a way of mixing dance and storytelling.”
Growing up in the missions at Armidale, Nate said he was exposed to a world of racism, violence and drug-abuse.
“I was 10 years old, using a crossing in front of a restaurant, when a council worker pulled me aside and said I wasn’t allowed to use it because I was black.
“If I haven’t experience it all, I’ve seen people around me experience those other terrible things,” he said.
Add stories of police brutality against family members and Nate has every excuse to be angry at the world if he ever so chose to be, but he has used his past to build a brighter future.
“I try to push a positive message, even though I try to expose the harsh realities. When you’re dealing with the struggles of living in poverty, you have to remain cool headed. I see some kids at Moree are going through the same routine I went through when I was growing up. Even though Armidale is a few hours away, a lot of the problems are the same. You cross the bridge over the river, and you see the divide in town,” he said.
“I want to be some kind of role model, some kind of figure to show there’s no limitation. If I was limited, I wouldn’t be running music workshops today. I wouldn’t be where I am, I would be a completely different person.”
He said that while things had changed for the better since he was a child, the change people were looking for rested in their own hands.
Nate said he will be collaborating with other artists in the next month or so, and hopes to bring some local talent on-board.
“I’ll be setting up a studio at the Salvos and getting some people from Moree to help make an EP. I’ll then upload it to Triple J Unearthed.”
The young children involved in the workshop later presented their work to an audience.
The event was a joint initiative of Miyay Birray, Moree Plains Shire Council, Moree Family Support and Beyond Empathy lead to a day packed with arts and crafts projects and a rap workshop.