Simone “Boss Lady” Amelia Talks Racism In Australia & Being An Expat

HrX8ijaXLq_MPW1fiCQWzmy944w2LtxrbBo0oz9LvA5i7XeynxRHQHPyZDJ9XeQInBjfDiIvWe4IdNdGa9RgmsGmQAcJ3p9FQuDm5C3dRW2w8NVGa7h5TGqHlx_m8D1QWOy4U_fSZ-xFdDGUaInH4PhnMiHbXzeYButxZmI=s0-d-e1-ft

Last month (September 2015) I was invited to be part of a keynote panel at the first (and very exciting) NOMADness ALTERnative Travel Conference in New York City.

Moderated by Nomadness Tribe founder Evita Robinson and featuring myself, rapper Pharaohe Monch and artist Leonard Combier, this was a great conversation for anyone chasing dreams through their passion for creativity; living outside the boundaries placed on them and unafraid to face adversity. As you can see, I’m aiming to become a spokesperson for a balanced Australia—one where we cherish the amazing things our country has to offer, but we also honestly acknowledge the negative aspects we undoubtedly possess.

Photo: PhotosByRome.com

Boss Lady Joins TheSTASHED.com Hip-Hop Roundtables

Stashed Roundtable

News and culture site TheSTASHED.com recently invited me to take part in their fun roundtable series.

Hosted by the STASHED editor Kazeem Famuyide, I joined fellow media types Jeff and Eric Rosenthal (It’s The Real), Tracy G (“Sway in the Morning” on Shade 45) Jayson Rodriguez (Editorial Director, REVOLT) David Amaya (Complex) and STASHED writer Nate Santos to share our 2015 music predictions for newcomers and legends in the game plus pay tribute to A$AP Yams.

Why 2015 Is The Year Of Tupac Shakur

TupacShakur1

Tupac Shakur is hip-hop’s greatest gift to the world. In 2015, one year shy of the 20th anniversary of his death, the icon’s legacy will reach a cultural climax.

Kicking things off, today marks the 23rd anniversary of Juice, a film where ‘Pac’s breakout role as “Bishop” had both Hollywood and the streets clamoring for more of his magnetic presence. Released in 1992 when urban movies were blossoming, Juice was gritty, steeped in hip-hop and a perfect platform for an aspiring teenage actor like ‘Pac to showcase his natural acting chops.

Two weeks from now, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles opens All Eyez On Me: The Writings Of Tupac Shakur, an intimate exhibit sanctioned by Afeni Shakur. “Tupac Shakur was one of the most original and important of all hip-hop artists. His writings are both powerful and provocative,” Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli said in a statement. “It is an honor to be the first music museum to acknowledge Tupac’s legacy and to bring context to what was an incredible career.” From February 2 to April 22, the exhibit will feature ‘Pac’s handwritten notes, lyrics and poems, interviews and performance footage plus outfits he wore (like the Versace suit he rocked to the 1996 Grammy Awards).

“It means a lot to me that Bob Santelli and the Grammy Museum have chosen to honor my son with their upcoming exhibit of his works,” Afeni says. “Tupac’s writings are an honest reflection of his passions for, and about life.  His timeless messages have instilled hope for those who have little, and for others, they serve as a catalyst for change. His words continue to motivate and inspire new generations.”

tupac_poem_2-copy

While numerous films and documentaries have been dedicated to the memory of ‘Pac—with Afeni’s Tupac: Resurrection from 2003 the absolute standout—this year we’ll see the first biopic based on his life. Nervous fans, including myself, are keeping a hawk eye on the developments surrounding TUPAC (working title) to be directed by his real-life collaborator, John Singleton. I interviewed the film’s co-producer LT Hutton last year about the project, who calls ‘Pac “America’s son” and vows to do his legacy justice. “There is no way I would let this film go out without doing the greatest service that I possibly could for the respect of the culture and this man,” Hutton says.

After numerous false starts, the biopic (Afeni is now on board with extensive creative control after going to court a number of years back with the film’s initial producers) is finally set to begin production in June. A release date is yet to be confirmed.

If you look at the social media accounts of today’s most popular female stars (Rihanna, Lauren London and countless others) no other male sex symbol from the hip-hop generation is shown as much love as ‘Pac. He’ll forever embody that unicorn-like creature women look for, a handsome rebel with intelligence, street smarts and a social conscious. His equally as passionate male fans (J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Freddie Gibbs and more) look up to a leader who was openly defiant and sensitive. Rap acts before and after haven’t captured the global audience the way he did and his influence and social reach are untouchable to this day, hence the importance of this upcoming biopic. As Hutton says, “This is not the LT Hutton story. This is not the Morgan Creek story. This is not the John Singleton story. It is the Tupac Shakur story. His voice has to be heard, and only his voice. Tupac wrote this movie.”

Why “Sydney Vs Everybody” Strikes A Big Nerve

Logo

Back in November, I scripted a small note packing a big punch to my personal Facebook account. Snoop Dogg had just posted an image to Instagram about an upcoming Los Angeles version of “Detroit Vs Everybody” (the Eminem-lead track inspired by Tommey Walker‘s movement) and while that particular cut was make-believe, my belief in my city to produce one wasn’t.

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 7.02.34 PM

I put the call out and immediately received a response from my longtime friends The Movement Sydney a.k.a. The Green Room, ready and willing to produce a cipher plus visuals and merchandise. They assembled a crew of rappers for the inaugural “Sydney Vs Everybody” with the song and video dropping six weeks later on New Year’s Day.

Did a majority of the most popular rappers out of Sydney make the first release? No. Are the guys who handed verses in on deadline super proud of contributing and now promoting the hell out of their collaborative debut? Yes. Are there plans for newer versions showcasing an even wider array of the city’s rap talent (including big names) coming up? Stay tuned.

I’m dedicated to providing a platform for Australia’s multicultural hip-hop artists who don’t receive the same music industry and public recognition their Anglo counterparts do. This is largely based on the fact I felt the same exclusion myself back home. Australian rappers from diverse backgrounds have colorful, controversial stories that deserve to be played by and for the mainstream. And as a collective (including our like-minded Anglo-Australian brothers and sisters) we’re not stopping till that sea change occurs.

Not to shine a light on negativity but video comments like the ones below (taken from YouTube channel HUSTLEHARD TELEVISION) are indicative of the work ahead of us:

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 7.29.27 PM

While both remarks are problematic, let’s tackle the second one first. While you clearly have no issue using American-derived slang like “da” in your username “calemdadestroya,” your small mind obviously can’t grasp the notion “Aussies” include artists like Nate Wade whose father is from North Carolina and mum is Australian via England. All artists on “Sydney Vs Everybody” are AUSTRALIAN and consider themselves just that, despite having to grow up in a country where bigots like you consider them otherwise.

As for pondering the “American accents” featured, save the subliminal questioning “junglejosh13” and say what you really feel. It can’t possibly be hip-hop from Australia if anyone spitting has an international sound rather than a Paul Hogan twang, right? Wrong, motherfucker. It’s 2015! Real hip-hop fans are smart enough to decide what factors are important to them when throwing their support behind a local rapper, whether it’s lyrical content, cadence, speech pattern, vocal tone, image and the list goes on. Am I personally a fan of Australian born and bred rappers who sound exactly like Jadakiss or YG or Andre 3000? I’m not. However, I find the “ocker” accent and “lad” persona just as grating. While I prefer MCs who fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes, I’m open to everyone brave enough to pick up that mic. Only through constant experimentation will we reach the promised land of global recognition. And while everyone is entitled to their opinion, incessant nitpicking will get us nowhere.

If you’re pessimistic about a movement based on unity and pride in one’s city where everyone is welcome, you need serious self-reflection. Don’t waste your breath targeting the artists involved: they’re too busy getting the job done. Come at me if you like, but all you’ll do is inspire me to push harder. We’re tired of being apologetic. We’re even more tired of being silent. We love that we’re striking this chord, sparking regional pride and stirring the pot like never before. Finally, we live and breathe hip-hop way more than you do — trust and believe. To our supporters, join us here: SydneyVsEverybody.com.au. Peace.

Boss Lady Hosts “Sound & Style” Panel At A3C Festival

Sound&StyleA3C Panel

BossLady.tv presented our first “Sound & Style” panel at this year’s A3C Hip Hop Festival.

Hosted by yours truly, the panel focused on the merging of music and fashion and how artists, branding specialists, marketers and more can develop relationships and ultimately make a living out of both worlds. Special thanks to Drumma Boy (producer and CEO of Fresh Phamily Clothing), Demetrius Tatum (CEO, Publik Trust Clothing), Mary “Mz Skittlez” Seats (CEO, Cupcake Mafia) and Dove Clark (Publicist for DJ Paul and more, Journalist and Business Development Manager, Flat Fitty) for sharing their wisdom.

001_nightlifelink-top DSC_0001_nightlifelink-top

Photos: @NightLifeLink

Change The Game: Thaitanium Interview

Thaitanium

I sat down with Thailand’s biggest rap act, Thaitanium, for the “Change The Segment” segment of “International Affair” (The Cut channel, DASH Radio).

The lively crew talks about hooking up with Snoop Dogg for their new single “Wake Up (Bangkok City)”, people’s romanticized perception of Thailand, remaining authentic to your culture as an artist and more.

Throwback: Boss Lady Debates “Eminem” On The TODAY Show [2001]

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 8.05.44 PM

Talk about digging through the [DVD] crates!

During my time as Editorial Assistant for pivotal Australian music magazine Juice, the opportunity was presented to our staff for one of us to participate in a televised debate on TODAY regarding Eminem’s controversial first tour of the country. Just 20 years old and full of passion in defending my beloved hip-hop, I jumped at the chance. While you can definitely see my nerves, I think I did a pretty decent job going up against Mr. Bill “Place Me In Front Of A Fireplace” Muehlenberg, the National Secretary for the Australian Family Association.

[Excuse the garish watermark! I used a trial version of the software to convert the footage from DVD to digital.]

Boss Lady Presents “Go Down Under” Volume One (Mixed By DJ Leon Smith)

bossladynuback copy bossladynuback copy

When I landed in Sydney just before Christmas last year, I was in the car with my mum and sister driving home from the airport and as we stopped at a set of lights on the Pacific Highway, I turned and saw billboards advertising The Best Of Australian Hip-Hop compilation. As I read over the names, I wasn’t surprised to see the same artists listed that have been promoted to the forefront of the genre for many, many years.

Having been home for just over three months and heading back to New York next week, I made it my mission to deliver a mixtape that featured not only the established artists in the Australia and New Zealand region I most admire, but a plethora of new talent whose voices aren’t being heard loud enough. I enlisted my dear friend DJ Leon Smith to work his magic with our careful track selections and I’m extremely proud to present the first volume of our newly created “Go Down Under” series (named after the category on BossLady.tv, of course).