In news that isn’t all that surprising, the Herald Sun has used an image of a UK rap group in an article about Melbourne street gangs.
The story in question, entitled “Who’s Who Of Melbourne Gangs” (published on page 14 of Friday June 19’s paper) details, as you’d expect, a number of different gangs. But rather than actually showing a photo of one of the many gangs named, or anything factually accurate, the Herald Sun decided to use a photo of a rap group.
ok lol it looks like it is true:
on the left, this is an article by the Herald Sun in their campaign about "melbourne gangs"
on the right, there's an image from a 2018 article about UK drill group Harlem Spartans.
notice anything similar? pic.twitter.com/L3giSTSoHP
— cmwlsn (@cameronwilson) June 24, 2020
The group in question, the Harlem Spartans are a UK drill group from London, who have over 100 million streams. Although some of the members have criminal pasts and UK police have alleged the group to be a gang, the Harlem Spartans remain adamant that they are simply a music group.
But regardless of any criminal history, the group have precisely *checks notes* fuck all to do with the Melbourne street gangs, so it’s really inappropriate and factually incorrect to use the image for this story.
The picture is clearly labelled “Young and Reckless”, which asserts that the photo is of the Young Reckless Drillaz (YRD) gang, who allegedly “use Instagram to lure new gang members.”
Unfortunately, this isnt even the first time a publication has confused a UK rap group with a notorious Melbourne gang, with the Daily Mail using a photo of Section Boyz to accompany their story about Melbourne’s Apex gang back in 2017.
Interestingly enough, both groups that were mistakenly identified as Melbourne gangs were comprised of Black men. I’ll let you make of that what you will, but it seems highly unlikely that a bunch of white rappers from the UK would be used to illustrate Australia’s supposed gang problem.
Australia’s street gangs aren’t exclusively made up of Black people/people of colour, and it’s time our media stops trying to paint it that way. All it takes is a quick Google search to show that our gang-related criminal history in this country is as diverse as our population is. Violent gangs disrupting society is a problem, but so is the narrative that this is somehow an exclusively Black problem.
The story in question discussed a total of 11 gangs, with a variety of racial backgrounds. But not only did the Herald Sun use photos of exclusively Black men to illustrate the problem, they didn’t even show a gang that actually exists in Melbourne.
If we’re really going to talk about the “Who’s Who” of Melbourne’s street gangs, maybe we should use a picture of the actual gangs in question. Just a thought.