What do you get when you combine two of Australia’s most inspiring and outspoken Indigenous voices: a new podcast delving into the the little-known space of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander debutante balls, unpacking the colonial tradition rooted in colonisation and putting an empowering 2020 lens on it.
The new Audible Originals podcast by Miranda Tapsell and Nakkiah Lui, Debutante: Race, Resistance and Girl Power, sees the pair travel the world to speak to young debutantes.
The first national Aboriginal debutante ball took place in Sydney in 1968, just a year after the 1967 referendum, which amended the Australian constitution to include Indigenous people in the census, and allowed the Government to craft separate legislation for Indigenous people.
Miranda and Nakkiah both have personal histories with debutantes, with Nakkiah’s mum now running balls in Sydney’s Mount Druitt, while Miranda’s mum was a debutante herself in Darwin in 1971.
Miranda, a Larrakia and Tiwi woman, celebrated the launch of the podcast on Instagram, writing: “We are incredibly proud of this series and we hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed making it.”
Nakkiah, a Gamillaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman, also took to social media, describing the series as “the experience of a lifetime”, adding it was a “a journey around the world about race, resistance & girl power through the history of the Aboriginal Deb Ball.”
She added, “We go from the local Aboriginal church in Mt Druitt during deb rehearsals, to previous slave markets in the antebellum south and historically black universities, to First Nations people’s land in the US, to the Ritz in London…to come back to Australia to recognise our violent past and the power of Black women and celebrating their strength, beauty and ability to change the world!”
This isn’t the first time the pair have joined forces to shine a light on Indigenous women, appearing on ABC comedy Get Krack!n last year. During the segment Miranda performed a poem written by Nakkiah, which delivered a critical look at morning TV’s tendency to cling to headline-grabbing attacks on marginalised groups, with examples delivered by morning hosts Sonia Kruger and Kerri-Anne Kennerley.
Watch the segment below:
The pair also collaborated on their last podcast, Pretty for an Aboriginal, which featured frank and fearless conversations between the two women about race, sex, politics and culture.