Jacob Lynagh

Doing a 360 on racism


Jacob Lynagh jumps to the defence of 360 after the rapper’s QandA appearance and comments he made about the Australian flag caused a whole lotta chatter…

Melbourne rapper 360 appeared on Q&A on Monday, and if people did not know his name before then, they sure do now.

The ARIA award-winning artist said on the program that he now identifies the Australian flag with racism, amid scattered applause from the crowd.

“I think in hip-hop in this country, there a lot of racist people…and if you are, I don’t want people at my shows, I don’t want anything to do with them.”

The “Boys Like You” rapper, real name Matt Colwell, has been inundated with a deluge of threats and other comments calling him, amongst other things, un-Australian and a traitor.

Such comments have only gone to prove 360’s point – with ignorance and racism used publicly in defense of the Australian flag, it is no wonder someone would begin to identify that same flag with those traits.

Those who wave our flag, wear it as a cape or boxer shorts or whatever, or even paint it on their faces – they represent Australia. If these same people representing Australia espouse views of intolerance and hatred, it is about time we began to distance ourselves from them. If that means distancing ourselves from what they use to represent our nation, as hard as it may be, we should distance ourselves from the flag.

Many of those who commented seem to have unfortunately begun to misinterpret the motivation of past Australian soldiers. The wide-spread sentiment that “our diggers fought and died for that flag” really simplifies the memory of Australian wars. I think all soldiers are bright enough to understand that no piece of cloth is that important. The diggers fought in defence of Australians, of all Australians.

They fought so that people could have the right to stand up on national television and say what is in their hearts.

These views are not new to 360 – a few days before Australia Day he released a video for his track On A Planet No One Knows in which he eviscerates racist Australians, verbally bans them from his shows and tells them not to be fans of his music.

Rappers in Australia are becoming more and more politically involved, and, really, it is about time. From the birth of the craft, hip-hop musicians have had a remarkable way with words, having been able to inspire and swell immense feelings in their listeners.

When I listen to 360 I brim with pride as I believe he represents Australia in a way that should be applauded. It is clear how much the man loves this nation and he does not have to wear the flag to show that.

To call him un-Australian is not an insult because it is so starkly and unarguably wrong.


Jacob Lynagh

Jacob Lynagh is an Adelaide-based freelance journalist who closely follows the political and social issues of the Pacific region and Middle East, as well as the rise and fall of nationalist and anti-fascist movements. He is a Grateful Dead fan, writes about classic Rock whenever possible and wishes the sixties never ended.

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