Welcome to the 23rd guest blog post of Time Out Sydney's 52 Weeks of #SydCulture 2017 challenge! June's culture selector is Emily Nicol, a journalist and producer for Koori Radio and NITV, and the guest editor for Time Out Sydney's May 2017 Deadly Sydney issue. Every Wednesday of May, Emily will be telling us what she loved the week before. Think of it as your recommendations for this week, from someone who sees a helluva lot of arts and culture. Over to her.
If ever there was a movement I’ve felt compelled to be a part of, it’s the kind of fun and boldly liberating one I couldn’t help but feel connected to last Thursday at the Opera House. The show was Hot Brown Honey – a fabulous dance/comedy/strip tease/song extravaganza served up with some social activism by an all-female cast; and it’s much, much more than just a performance.
I was super excited to catch the show, which is on a return tour due to popular demand, as I missed their last season and had heard nothing but praise. Co-created by Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers and Lisa Fa'alafi, Hot Brown Honey is an honest, clever, funny, and super entertaining look at stereotypes and the reality of living in Australia as a woman of colour. The music is hot and the production is slick. It makes you want to dance, and you get the chance to; it’s in your face – at times very literally (just a heads up for the guys!). I laughed out loud. But the best part is it’s all the things you say to your girlfriends or even just think about – and it’s all out on stage.
I couldn’t help but scan the crowd to see the reactions and responses, and at times thought I could make out some awkward laughter, the kind that happens when you are getting an insight to something for the first time – which can only be a good thing. To break down cultural stereotypes, you need to go there. I feel like we need more shows like this and I’m hopeful that we will receive.
The following night I headed along to the Oxford Art Factory to catch the Sampa the Great x REMI show: two artists who are relatively new to the music scene but carving out their own well deserved place amongst our best in hip hop. I’m a big fan of both Sampa and REMI; as with the realness that the Honeys served up the night before, I am continually drawn to their honest and raw delivery, lyrically and on stage. It’s no easy feat to hold a crowd for the entirety of a performance, but from start to finish there was nothing but love; both artists are great storytellers, and the crowd at the sold out show were completely engaged and appreciative.
After individual sets, Sampa and REMI came together for a joint set that included their hit ‘For Good’ and ended with a special onstage collab with fellow artists and friends Hau, Omar Musa and B-Wise. There’s clearly a strong camaraderie between the crew. Finishing the night off with a celebratory dance to Kendrick’s ‘Alright’, it felt like truth.
Hot Brown Honey runs until July 2 at Sydney Opera House.