UNITY, Protecting the Land and Sistahood: An Interview with OETHA

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OETHA is an all lady rap gang that we’ve all been waiting for. Through the power brought to them as traditional land owners and the bonding of sisterhood, OETHA has truly changed the game of hip hop in Australia. The powerhouse trio Lady Lash, Dizzy D and Miss Hood have decided that its time to shake up the music industry and they’ve done so with their latest single ‘Sistahood’. Using positive messages and expressing the unity of women, the success of their debut single has come just as expected.

Their presence is more important than we think. Collectively they have raised awareness about other successful Indigenous artists’ coming through Australia over the years, and have raised concern over the misrepresentation of indigenous artists, their message is clear ‘When will Australia feel comfortable enough to share the spotlight with its Indigenes counterparts?’.

We sit down with OETHA and chat about their favourite Indigenous artists, why it’s important to protect the sisterhood and the importance of celebrating indigenous culture outside of NAIDOC and Survival Day. 

Tell us about your sisters and how you got together?

Lady Lash: We are sister's by spirit in all that we do and how we walk this earth. We have all known of each other in the music industry and on our own grind, so when our manager and producer of this Oetha project, (Mike Justice) asked us to jump on a track to see how it goes and sounds, it all took off from there!

There were phone conferences and heaps of Facebook messages that made the connection form a solid pact so that everyone was keen to start the OETHA group and move forward with a decision of yes “Let’s fuck up the scene”.

Dizzy D: I would call it Serendipity. Us sistas have always supported each other’s solo careers in this industry. So we came together to collaborate on the “SISTA GIRL” track to celebrate the importance of a women’s worth and to spread that powerful message to our sistas from all over the world. The rest is history!

Miss Hood: I remember meeting Lady Lush about 7 years or so ago she was a very big inspiration and had helped me through a few personal tough times. I looked up to her as a mentor, a sister, and a friend. She was an amazing talent, a hip hop highlight in her own right and defiantly a force to be reckoned with. She had the same dive and dedication as me. Our passion was to show the world that us as women and mothers can still give the boys a good run for their money when it came to the rap game. I met Dizzy around 2010 when things were starting to become big in the music scene between Payback Records Founder Nathen Lovett Murray AKA Nat-Rat and Redfern Records Founder, Steven Ridgway. It was the first time Sydney and Melbourne had their own Independent Indigenously owned powerful hip hop labels. Here was an important time for Aboriginal movement and change was in the air. I remember coming face to face with the Sydney alit of Redfern Records it was nothing far from a historic event in the indigenes music chapter. Us as brothers and sisters alike all coming together with one goal in mind we were going to get our voices heard regardless of our gender our skin colour or our upbringing. We were going to pave the way and leave the platform for future artist to come. Me and Dizzy clicked quite quickly I remember the first time I heard her rap. I was completely blown away she sounded like Stormy the original female MC of Tupac’s Outlaws. Since then one of my dreams were to do a music collaboration between the 3 female power-houses of the hip hop game Me, Lash, and Dizz.

You just released a track, an anthem for the sisters. How do you think women in Australia can support each other more?

Lady Lash: By respecting who we all are individually and by honouring all that we are, flaws and all. To be able to work on your own bulls#!t and offer to help others with theirs, not point out all the flaws in character assassination.

Supporting our women is important, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I feel the power of understanding and excepting our strong foundations in each of us, in all walks of life - creates harmony.

In society we hear and see women and young people who cut each other down with tall poppy syndrome, instead of lifting each other up with respect. There needs to be more hope given and less negative talk to prevent the ricochet of violence that follows.

Dizzy D: It’s definitely an anthem for the Sista Girls! I know many talented Sista Girls in the music industry and I often show my support by being at their shows/gigs in the front row making noise and showing love. Love always beats hate, there is enough hate in the world already so by sticking together and joining forces we can move mountains. I feel there is a strong movement happening and women are becoming more and more stronger to speak up about things and create change.  

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Miss Hood: By breaking down the barriers of what is considered successful or beautiful in the mainstream. It’s ok to take a step back, you don’t need to have everything together all the time. It's ok to say I need help you don’t all ways have to be super women and bullet proof 247. It’s all right if you have stretch marks, scars, or you’re a little curvier then most. You are beautiful the way you are it’s ok to accept and love yourself.

A lot of indigenous artists' are coming out lately, and we are beyond excited. Why do you think it's taken this long to get more talent come through?

Lady Lash: There’s so many artists unheard of and I think it's timing and synchronicity happening in the world. When its time to bring music into a different plateau, then even more conversations will take place. Fighting for our rights (and not just to party) has a lot to do with it as well. It gives us a strong voice to break through stereotypes that need to be permanently silenced. Music in the spotlight has a massive shift in people’s awareness because it's what's taking place right now in current society.

Dizzy D: There has always been indigenous talent coming out, the main stream industry is just  tough and that again is why it’s so important to support and acknowledge each other for the accomplishments that we as indigenous people have achieved. Our ancestors fought very hard for us to have the opportunities that we have today. There is so much deadly talent out there and with the right resources we can build a foundation to help expose more of that underground raw talent that the world needs to see.

Miss Hood: 

The talent has always been around when it came to Indigenous musicians. Coloured Stone, Black Arm Band, The Donovan’s, No Fixed Address, Warumpi Band, Yothu Yindi, Black Fire, Jimmy Little, Christine Anu, Troy Cassar-Daley, Kutcha Edwards, Joe Geia, Ruby Hunter, Archie Roach, Dan Sultan Little G Vic Simms.  Just to name a few which brings us to another question. When will Australia feel comfortable enough to share the spotlight with it’s Indigenes counterparts, besides the token-istic events such as NAIDOC week or Survival Day. 

When your girls are down, what do you do?

Lady Lash: I write my feelings in my diary or write a song, It's like therapy to me.

Miss Hood: If I get the chance I go back home to county for a couple of days to do some spiritual healing and talk to the old people, I feel so much better being home on country. Just the sensation of my feet touching the soft earth of my ancestress birthplace is sudden relief from all the stress of the world. It’s like a positive energy field just washing over your hole inter being cleansing, healing and re-charging every part of you.     

Dizzy D: When my girls are down, I make them laugh…. And probably make them see the good out of a bad situation, cause that’s what sisters do for each other. Even if my sisters wanna have a good cry, I will cry with them and make them laugh straight after. Sometimes having a good cry with your sisters can be healthy for the soul too. Also sitting around the fire is calming and a good yarning space to get rid of any negative vibes.

Who are your favourite artists' coming out of Australia right now?

Lady Lash: We have the awesome sisters Emily Warramurra and Alice Skye: two guitar playing angels who make incredible tunes. Baker Boy and Dallas Woods charting it up with some black magic for the people. We also have Tasman Keith who is artistic in his approach visually making a stamp and Nooky coming in with the fire. That's not even the beginning of new musicians on the come up and more need to have their shine!

Miss Hood: Jesswar, Remi, Netti, Briggs, L Fresh The Loin, Mau Power, Jessica Mauboy, These are just the few that come to mind off the top of my head.  

Dizzy D: Uncle Archie Roach, Jessica Mauboy, Last Kinnection, Dan Sultan, Katie Noonan, Casey Donovan, Emma Donovan.

What does O.E.T.H.A mean?

Lady Lash: Our Earth The Heart Acknowledges. The Name came from the Ether, I asked the universe and ancestors to help me find a name and it dropped out of the ether
the "O" came in a visual form of earth, and the acronym just spilt out of my mouth like the energy in sync.

Dizzy D: OETHA means very strong women.

What can you not live without?

Lady Lash: My family.

Drizzy D: Music and cheese.

Miss Hood: Being in Nature. It is such a big part of my healing and keeps my spirit grounded.

Which tribes do you ladies come from?

Lady Lash: I'm a Kokatha woman with Greek Heritage from The Far West Coast of South Australia.

Dizzy D: Takalak, Agwamin, Gureng Gureng, Wokka Wokka.

Miss Hood: I am a proud strong Kurnai Women from the East Gippsland Districts of Victoria.