A movement has emerged that would like to see the date of triple j’s annual Hottest 100 countdown broadcast changed from 26th January. A growing number of j listeners say changing the broadcast date from ‘Invasion Day’ would make a powerful statement.
The Hottest 100, billed as the world’s biggest fan-voted music poll, is traditionally aired on Australia Day on 26th January, a public holiday which has drawn a large degree of criticism in recent years for celebrating colonialism and genocide.
Back in March, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph accused the University of NSW of “whitewashing” Australian history after they learned that UNSW has a set of language guidelines for students and teachers, suggesting they avoid referring to Captain Cook as the person who “discovered” Australia.
It kicked off a firestorm of controversy, leading to a national debate over whether Australia was “discovered” or “invaded” by white settlers, with several Australian musicians, including Briggs and Thelma Plum, hitting back at ‘discovery’ proponents like Alan Jones.
Rapper Chance Waters also criticised the ‘holiday’, writing, “Australia Day is a celebration of a brutal colonial invasion that was so vicious there are records of native children being buried in the sand and having their heads kicked off.”
But whilst we continue to urge our government to rectify this, Hobart-based collective of “thinkers, activists, friends and acquaintances” Bar(r)ed Subjects would like to see triple j make “a statement of solidarity” with Australia’s Indigenous population.
“‘Australia Day’ represents, for First Nations’ Peoples, a date commemorating the invasion of their countries and colonization of their ways of life, rather than a celebration of what it now means to be ‘Australian’,” their Change.org petition reads.
“We recognize that it isn’t within the power of Triple J to change this date; however, it is capable of using their broadcast to make a statement of solidarity with the experience of those whose countries were colonised.”
“The ABC has a long history of excellent broadcasting with a focus on diversity, and Triple J is no exception.” Indeed, triple j maintain a strong relationship with NAIDOC and this year’s Hottest 100 was the first to partner with AIME.
“By changing the date of the Hottest 100 Countdown,” Bar(r)ed Subjects continue, “Triple J can send a message to First Nations’ Peoples that they, and their experiences, are valued and respected by other Australians.”
“We are calling on Triple J hosts Matt Okine and Alex Dyson to spearhead this campaign to have Triple J change the date of the Hottest 100 Countdown from ‘Australia Day’ to a less inflammatory and more inclusive date for First Nations’ Peoples.”
After A.B. Original, a collaboration between Indigenous Australian rappers Briggs and Trials, unveiled their fiery new collaboration with Dan Sultan ‘January 26’, many fans suggested it would be a fitting track to top the Hottest 100.
Several listeners have since taken to Twitter to encourage triple j listeners to vote for ‘January 26’ in the upcoming Hottest 100 voting round, whilst others have used the song to question why the Hottest 100 still takes place on Invasion Day.
The question ultimately boils down to whether you think holding the Hottest 100 on 26th January is an endorsement of that date or simply a convenient day to hold the broadcast, since a good portion of the nation gets the day off.
But if all we need is a day when a lot of people have the day off, why can’t the Hottest 100 be held on the last Saturday of January, for example? Of course, you might see pushback from hospitality workers, so perhaps a different public holiday?
At the time of writing, Bar(r)ed Subjects’ Change.org petition has accrued 263 signatures of its 500-signature goal. Tone Deaf has reached out to triple j for comment but did not receive a response before press time.