Briggs’ new song, “The Children Came Back”, inspires a new generation of Indigenous youth to rise up and celebrate their survival.
Raise up your ancestors. Raise up Indigenous heroes.
That’s the first thing that hits you when you watch Briggs‘ epic new video.
The acclaimed Shepparton-based, Yorta Yorta hip-hop artist brings together a heavy list of collaborators and video guest appearances in this respectful homage to the 1990 Archie Roach anthem “Took The Children Away”. But where that song mourned Roach’s own experience of being taken away, and lamented the dispossession and removal of Indigenous children that have come to be known as the ‘Stolen Generation’, Briggs responds with an inspired sequel that—twenty-five years later—champions “black excellence” and the accomplishments of Indigenous Nations across ‘Australia’.
A literal generation after Roach’s anthemic and sorrowful call to account for historical injustice, Briggs swaggers boldly to the fore of an Indigenous peoples’ movement unafraid to celebrate their success.
Featuring a who’s who of famous contemporary Indigenous musicians and sports stars, including Lionel Rose, Jimmy Little, Adam Goodes, Cathy Freeman and Patty Mills, the song also makes sure to represent indigeneity in the music as well.
As VICE Australia notes, “With Gurrumul and Dewayne Everettsmith adding vocals, the song features traditional instrumentation including clap sticks, a yidaki from North East Arnhem Land, and a haunting chant from the B2M, a group of musicians from the Tiwi Islands.
The video features Briggs, Everettsmith, Archie Roach, Paul Kelly and 3-year old Samara Muir who recently made national headlines with her distressing experience of racism by kids her own age.”
But perhaps the highest tribute comes from Archie Roach himself, who has proudly endorsed Briggs’ tribute:
“I love Briggs’ song. It’s about our Indigenous heroes,” says Roach. “Using a part of my song, where it says ‘the children came back’ is really what the song is about. I feel proud to be a part of what Briggs hopes to achieve and I really love that he used young children to play the heroes because they are our future heroes.”
“The Children Came Back” is a new anticolonial anthem of resurgence and return. As Briggs observes, it’s equal parts “history lesson, monologue, celebration and education in one song”.
Released July 3rd to coincide with NAIDOC week in Australia, this is the sound of a generation rising.