Nakkiah Lui Goes Triple J Content Boss For “Cop Out” Take On ‘Hottest 100’

The news that Triple J is reconsidering the future of the Hottest 100, before confirming it’ll still go ahead on January 26 next year, has set Australia bloody spinning. 

It also sparked a heated debate between Indigenous activist Nakkiah Lui and Triple J’s own content director Ollie Wards during their appearance on tonight’s episode of Hack.

Despite her obvious ties to the ABC – she’s a major player on Black Comedy, and a regular on Hack itself – Lui definitely didn’t hold back on the broadcaster’s decision to leave the date as-is.

Opposite host Tom Tilley, Lui said the choice to “celebrate Australian music on a day when people are excluded and discriminated against based on their values, and on their culture and their race” is “a decision that is heavily biased.”

Going further, Lui said for “many people in this community it’s a very political decision” – despite the ABC’s mandate to stay absolutely impartial in political matters.

Wards replied, saying ” it’s political either way,” before explaining “it’s the worst that a really important section of our audience can’t get involved on the day, because they’re going to [Survival Day] events.”

Lui latched on that that admission. Her logic: what could possibly be exclusionary about placing the Hottest 100 on a date that’d also allow Indigenous Australians to observe Survival Day? She summed it up pretty solidly with the remark “I don’t understand what you think ABC will lose if you change the date.” 
What followed was a brief discussion of the ABC’s involvement with Indigenous youth mentoring program AIME. That was a discussion Lui stopped in its tracks, saying it’s just one organisation among a constellation of varying Indigenous perspectives. 

Somehow, she went harder from there. She drew attention to the events of Australia Day, 1938 – when authorities took “Aboriginal people from the missions, shackled them, put them them in the stables at Redfern Police Station and then made them reenact the massacres of the coming of the tall ships.

That’s what people are celebrating. ‘The Triple J hottest 100: where over 50% of songs last year in the top 20 weren’t even Australian.’

So I don’t actually understand why we’re embedding so much value in having this date and investing in perspectives, when it’s just a day to celebrate music.”

Wards’ assertion it’s “just a countdown of the biggest bangers of the year, it’s a music countdown, and it’s weird that it’s been intrinsically linked with this day” wasn’t received too well, either. 

“It’s not weird. That’s a cop out argument, because on one hand you’re saying it’s not political, on the other you’re saying it’s neither here nor there, and it’s just kinda serendipitous,” Lui retorted.

Tilley cut to the news before the trio could examine the issue any further, but damn: if you needed a quick take on what celebrating the Hottest 100 on Australia Day means to segments of the Aussie community, Lui has you sorted. 

Watch this space. This issue isn’t going away any time soon.