Episode 5: Little Blackbird. Season Of Blackness

This episode is about Tyson Goddard’s self-discovery in various aspects of his life. Tyson is an Australian Drag performer of Fijian descent. The constant conflicts in layers of slavery, sexuality, and spirituality make him who he is today. 

Tyson is a producer and a performer of the “Thick Shake Crew,” Australia’s first all-drag, all-person-of-color performance hip-hop crew.  

He has found the right balance of being an entertainer and an activist because of the messages he wants to deliver through his creativity. In this day and age, where people are oblivious of what they have, Tyson is grateful for his foster parents and the wonderful childhood given to him. His views on the indigenous communities and movements in Australia indicate that there is so much to learn and know about the first nations. He has an optimistic vision about the younger generation bringing a change in the treatment given to the indigenous people. 

Polynesian community under the western influence: 

The search for identity in the Polynesian aspect of his life was not initiated or guided by anyone else. Instead, he has exposed himself to the heritage and culture, making his life an adventurous journey. As a result, he is learning and adapting, and communicating in a way that inspires others to delve deeper into their respective cultures.

The vital aspect that contributes to his identity is his faith in Christianity. In his teenage years, he was an active member of the church.

He shares the struggles of having several layers to his identity. Being gay in Polynesian society is celebrated. But, on the other hand, his sexuality is not accepted in the faith he actively follows. Due to colonization and western influence, Polynesians believe in Christianity, increasing cultural and religious tension even within the community. The whitewashed Polynesian society’s duality has brought a challenge for Tyson and thousands of other people trying to advocate their voice. 

His most exciting point was that the misogynistic mindsets are most afraid of femininity in power, including homosexuality. The idea of being led on by gender that has a preconceived notion of being weaker puts the supremacist at a disadvantage. Tyson’s spot-on opinion indulges in the core of half the social issues going on across the globe. 

Black-Birding as a layer of identity:

Tyson’s ancestors are victims of Black-Birding, leading them to live in Australia. The colonizers tricked the people of the Pacific island by onboarding them onto ships under false pretenses to enslave them. These enslaved people were forced to work in sugar cane plantations from the 1800s to the 1900s. 

Even after slavery was abolished in Australia, there is no acknowledgment of this torture on people. The language and indigenous practices disappeared as if they held no significance. Any talk is swept under the rug in an effort to keep the past in the past. However, even today, the people of color crushing beneath the wheel run by supremacists is ordinary. 

The saying “ignorance is bliss” is probably taken too seriously in Australia since the talk of race and color will arise the terrible darkness that penetrates itself in various aspects of the world. 

Segregation is everywhere: 

Tyson shared the different faces of racism that not many people are aware of. Hierarchy in the LGBTQ society depends on race as well. Sharing incidences from his life, Tyson understood that as open-minded as the world would accept this community, there is still discrimination against the people of color and their culture.  

Please check out Episode 5 of In The Pursuit of Journey to self: Blackness. 

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Written by Seher Arif

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