ABC2 last night screened a terrific 30min doco about Starlady - a hairdressing, youth worker phenom doing great work in desert communities. If you missed the program then lucky for you the director has posted it on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/50807152.
|Starlady in Areyonga. Source: ABC|
"I was so used to being abused. I had people spitting on me, I had people throwing stuff at me. There was people trying fights everyday on public transport. And I was just being abused so much. And then I went to this place where people gave me lots of love and, you know, I could be this. I could be something special and you could do some really positive things."Starlady *gets* it where many government and non-government service providers in remote Australia don't. Where too many munanga go to communities and see mess, dysfunction and apathy, Starlady correctly sees beyond:
"The young people, they're styling! There's a sense of style out in the desert. People take really great personal pride in their appearance out here. But they don't always have the tools and access to the materials to be able to do that".But Starlady's no academic or deep-thinker. Just a clear-seer. Speaking about remote youth:
"They know that there's not a lot of real opportunities for them. They know that compared to the rest of Australia they're living in poverty".Starlady's approach and perspectives should be the norm for non-Indigenous people working out bush but unfortunately, people like her are rare. Dominating service providers like schools just aren't given the space and freedom to approach education and training the same way. Caught up in NAPLAN testing, policies, curricula and being part of a massive institution makes such dynamism nigh on impossible for most government teachers in remote schools. A pity. It was also great to see in the program some of the responses from the community members in Areyonga to Starlady's work: the boys on the catwalk showing off; the teenage girls shyly but proudly presenting their style. And the final quote from a community leader is gold:
"I've seen the movie Priscilla and I think Starlady is a real queen of the desert. And not Priscilla. Priscilla came here to act but Starlady is for real. And we loved her."Lovely. It was a great program and got a great response too, despite having a limited audience because of its 9:30 timeslot on ABC2. A number of tweets raved about the program, such as:
#starlady How beautiful to see a remote community finally portrayed as creative, healthy and vibrant. Great work @abc2
— Red Elephant Project (@redelephantaus) November 25, 2012
It was so great to see #queenOTD #queenofthedesert on @abc2 tonight. Finally some positive representations of Aboriginal communities on TV.Make sure you catch the program! And keep doing what you do Starlady.
— Misha (@wirnpa) November 25, 2012