Meyne Wyatt isn’t going to pander to white fragility – he’s angry. And he wants his audiences to know it.
The last time many of us witnessed work from one of Wyatt’s plays, it spawned a now-viral video on Q+A.
His blistering and sharp speech was widely dubbed “the best two minutes of Australian TV ever”.
And while the global reception to Wyatt’s monologue has been “resoundingly positive”, the 31-year-old maintains he hasn’t said anything new.
“I’m saying a lot of things that have been thought by Indigenous people, and felt by Indigenous people, and said by Indigenous people for a very long time,” Wyatt told The New Daily.
These are things that need to be said. I’m just backing up the voices of the people who have come before me.
“It was my responsibility to make sure that I was representing, and it sat on my shoulders for me to do that and express a message that needed to be heard – because it hasn’t been.”
No time for Band-Aids
That the message hasn’t yet been heard is a point Wyatt is painfully right about.
His damning indictment on racist micro-aggressions is so passionate and palpable for a reason: It feeds into a violent system rooted in genocide and oppression.
Just days ago, on March 2, 5 and 7, the nation recorded an additional three Indigenous deaths in custody, leaving the grim total at more than 440 since the royal commission was completed in 1991.
Many of the recommendations made in the royal commission still haven’t been acted upon.
“Any kind of anger comes from pain, to feel that pain, and if that pain isn’t there, well, that’s why people are negligent and ignorant to certain things,” Wyatt said.
The continual genocide of Indigenous people in Australia … it’s not going away with putting a Band-Aid on it.
Artists and activists, like Wyatt, will continue to make confronting and punchy art that addresses the injustices that exist in our community – whether audiences are ready or not.
“I went in, before I performed on the show, thinking, ‘What I’m about to say may upset a lot of people’, because I was saying a truth that a lot of people hadn’t heard.
“But me talking about my own experiences has connected more than any particular essay I could write. It’s just talking about how I feel, and how racism has affected my life.”
The actor, activist, playwright and prize-winning artist has a number of projects in the pipeline, including a television endeavour and an exciting new play.
“If the message has gotten across, then I have done my job.”