For the second year running, Nooky (aka Corey Webster) has commemorated January 26 – a date known as “Australia Day” that’s also referred to as Survival Day or Invasion Day – with a poignant new track, addressing systemic racism and colonial oppression on ‘We Are Warriors’.
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Named after the First Nations social enterprise and annual event series that Webster launched in 2022, ‘We Are Warriors’ wastes no time unpacking heavy themes.
Opening the song, Webster – a Yuin man – raps: “See, they told me I was dirty / Told me I was worthless / Told me football or crime could be my only purpose. I wasn’t encouraged, I was treated like a burden / But my mother’s wisdom kept a fire inside burning. And when I look back now / It was all worth it / ‘Cause when you can break the cycle / Life becomes perfect.”
The song also features guest vocals from Sydney R&B artist – and Darumbal Murri and Tongan woman – Mi-kaisha, who sings in the chorus: “When the dust clears out on this sacred ground / Ancient empires not ruled by a crown / We conquered these heights when they pushed us down / Fear me now / Warrior.”
Have a listen to ‘We Are Warriors’ below:
The release of ‘We Are Warriors’ coincides with the second annual edition of Webster’s titular event – this year dubbed Blak Powerhouse, referring to its location (at the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo) – which is being held today with performances from the likes of Kanada The Loop, Barkaa and Kobie Dee (the lattermost two of whom are also ambassadors for the We Are Warriors outreach project), alongside Nooky and Mi-Kaisha.
In addition, the Blak Powerhouse event will feature film screenings, art installations, and other displays of “Blak excellence”. Entry is free, but punters will need to register their attendance online; you can do that here.
As per its website, the We Are Warriors platform “is dedicated to celebrating Blak excellence and empowering Indigenous youth”. So its origin story goes, Webster launched the initiative after he “recognised the need to create a platform to give our Mob something to aspire to, to unlock their own Warrior spirit and drive positive change”.
Indigenous members of the public are encouraged to consider joining We Are Warriors, with a logline reading: “We’re building a movement for change, but we can’t do it alone. Through words and wisdom, we can create real and lasting impact. And that’s where you come in. Whether you’re an aspiring warrior or you want to partner with us to change the narrative, rise up and join the WAW.”
The platform was launched last January alongside the release of Webster’s standalone Nooky single ‘Run Dingo’. The following June, We Are Warriors hosted a live music event at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory, featuring performances from Dallas Woods, The Terrys, Triple One, Ziggy Ramo and more.
In a 2021 interview with NME, Webster said of his ambitions to host a slew of First Nations-focussed events: “It’s an open door now. It’s a win for me that people know that platforms [are] there for them.”