TikTok feeds across the country are celebrating NAIDOC Week, as Indigenous and First Nations creators take to their accounts at 8pm every night to celebrate culture, language, and music. Noted legend and proud Yolŋu man Baker Boy is popping up on the feeds tonight to open up the ol’ DMs and answer your burning questions around Indigenous language in his music and in the wider Aussie music scene.
PEDESTRIAN.TV caught up with Baker Boy (a.k.a. Danzal Baker) about tonight’s Q&A sesh, and how using language in his music has helped him dismantle shame, educate fans, and help Indigenous language and a connection to Country in the spotlight.
“I first started to, like, from now, it’s, I’ve already seen, like, huge expansion on people rapping and singing back in language and stuff,” Danzal said from his place in Bendigo in central Victoria.
“It’s just really cool. It shows that a lot of people will have time to, you know, listen to the track, and listen, like word by word, and try to learn the language so they can sing it back.”
Danzal said he’s found people are a bit hesitant to ask about language and other Indigenous issues, but he’s always keen to educate people on culture and his connection to his community in Arnhem Land.
“I feel proud to be one of the people out there keeping language strong,” he said.
“Teaching people that don’t know much about Indigenous culture in Australia is really cool as well, because I get a lot of questions asked. Some people feel really uncomfortable asking questions like that. So I just tell them it’s really good to see people ask questions – about what language is and how many languages there are – because some people are too scared to even ask that question.
“It’s really important to make everyone feel comfortable to be able to ask questions about the languages and the culture in Australia.”
The last time I spoke to Danzal was at Splendour in the Grass in 2018, not long after he dropped his breakthrough single, Marryuna. We discussed the deep-running issue of shame held within Indigenous Australians, and how he worked against that internalised negativity by weaving language through his music.
Two years later, Danzal said that he’s witnessed a lot of people work through their own issues with shame – especially in the dance workshops he does in remote communities around the country.
“I’ve seen, like, a lot of families getting out there and doing stuff and being you know, loud and proud of who they are and where they come from,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of people, mainly a lot of teachers, texting me on Instagram and Facebook and they say ‘we’ve been studying about you, and all these kids always listen to your music, and you made them feel a lot like not to be shamed and embarrassed.’ It’s really cool.
“Ever since I’ve been doing a lot of remote community workshops, like dancing and stuff, I’ve seen a lot of kids at first being shamed. Throughout the whole week just being shamed, but right at the end when it came to actually performing what we taught the kids and stuff and made a circle like, ‘come on, dance, come out.’
“And boom, everyone’s like, in there gone mad.”
The DMs are always open for curious questions and talking through lyrics and language with Danzal, and from 8pm (Bendigo/Melb time) tonight he’ll be opening up the lines on his TikTokso you can get an answer and learn something great about Indigenous culture. So get on over there if you wanna cram some knowledge into your noggin that you definitely didn’t learn in school.
The series is running throughout NAIDOC week, with Indigenous creators like Sycco, Mitch Tambo, J-MILLA and more taking over every night from 8pm.
That’s gotta be better than the typical nightly doomscroll.