British Rapper Akala: The Shock And Awe Of Truth Bombs On White Privilege And Aussie Racism


It’s no secret that New Matilda believes the sun may actually shine directly from 98.9FM, an expanding community radio station in Brisbane that punches well above its weight.

That’s partly because they now employ former NM senior journo (and occasional contributor) Amy ‘Smiles’ McQuire, who moved back to Brisvegas earlier this year and is expecting to give birth in early 2016.

It’s also because 98.9FM Murri Country has long been home to Tiga Bayles, a legend of Aboriginal activism and a pioneer of Aboriginal radio (nickname: ‘The Black Tonsils’).

Every weekday morning from 9am to 10am, Smiles and Tiga host a show called ‘Let’s Talk’, which explores everything from race and culture to politics and power. It is, to put it simply, a formidable broadcast team.

But what happens when you let the two most influential voices in black radio interview one of the world’s most impressive black thinkers?

‘Required listening’ is what happens.

Akala, a famous British rapper currently touring Australia, stopped into 98.9FM for Let’s Talk recently. Akala has Jamaican heritage, and in addition to rapping, is also a social commentator and historian. All of which makes for a pretty interesting discussion when teamed up with Tiga and Smiles.

‘Truth bombs’ may be an overused cliché these days, but there’s no other way to describe what Akala drops during a recent appearance on Let’s Talk. He is, to put not too fine point on it, the ‘shock and awe’ of truth bombing.

You can listen to the podcast here. And no matter how experienced and knowledgeable you think you are on all things race, prepare to be educated and, occasionally, just a little bit appalled.

From New Matilda’s perspective, this interview is, by some margin, the most powerful radio moment of the year.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.