Elevate To Higher Ground (APR 2022)


In the monthly newsletter, we highlight inspiring news relating to First Nations and multicultural female artists and creatives in Australia (‘Close To Home’) and worldwide (‘International Affair’).

This debut edition is a quick glimpse into the style and format we’re hoping to grow in the coming months.

The content below is curated by Higher Ground Consulting Agency’s Founder, Simone Amelia Jordan, and we look forward to developing robust future issues with better visuals, guest editors, opinion pieces and more.

Let’s get into the round-up!




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Higher Ground was officially launched as Australia’s first media consultancy for First Nations and multicultural talent to benefit female artists and creatives. The boutique agency will provide female-only clients with purposeful mentorship, media training and strategy, offering a holistic approach. A select number of artists and creatives will be developed per year allowing the team to provide critical, hands-on support.

The Australian Women In Music Australia Conference + Awards take place next month (May 17-18) in Brisbane. Executive Producer and Program Director Vicki Gordon has announced ‘Love For My Sisters’, a special performance showcasing First Nations and Bla(c)k female acts: Kween G, Lady Lash, Dizzy Doolan, RedBelly, Hot Brown Honey, Kaylah Truth and Shakaya. The conference also features Diversity & Inclusivity as part of the conference’s theme, with a screening of Liza Moscatelli‘s IT’S OUR DUTY! Reflections Of Women & Hip-Hop documentary plus a panel with Kween G, Moscatelli, BARKAA and Busty Beatz.


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The Music Network exclusively reported that Ghanain-Australian record executive Na-ima Braimah has been hired by Page 1 Management to lead their Australian ventures. According to the article, Page 1 Management represents a number of local and international hitmaker musicians, producers, and songwriters including Joel Little (Taylor Swift, Lorde), ‘Laxed (Siren Beat)’ creator Jawsh 685, Rory Noble (Kanye West), and more. Braimah joins from The Orchard, where she was retail marketing and creative coordinator for more than two years.


Indigenous Fashion Projects will return to Afterpay Australian Fashion Week next month. New collections from five First Nations women designers will be featured on the runways: Kirrikin, By Wonnarua designer Amanda Healy, Liandra Swim, By Yolngu designer Liandra Gaykamangu, Maara Collective, By Yuwaalaraay designer Julie Shaw, Native Swimwear, By Biripi and Ngarabal designer Natalie Cunningham and Ngali, By Wiradjuri designer Denni Francisco.

Writer Alicia Vrajlal constantly advocates for the platform of Australia’s First Nations and multicultural women. In a Refinery29 piece, she highlights the bold fashion choices of popular MasterChef judge, Melissa Leong.


Writer Yvonne Aoll has penned a great piece for SBS Voices on her experience navigating the screen industry as a young Black woman aspiring to be a star in Australia’s predominantly white industry. “There I was, a young African girl, putting myself out there and saying yes to calls, roles and opportunities, and getting accepted for the same,” she writes.

Congratulations are in order for Diana Nguyen and the team behind Phi and Me Too! Based on Nguyen’s online series, the relationship comedy between a Vietnamese refugee mother Kim Huong and her Australian raised teenage daughter Phi has been awarded development funding from Screen Australia and will be turned into a TV show.


Diversity Arts Australia presented a new season of their Colour Cycle podcast, this time spotlighting synergy between trailblazing female creatives in Australia and the UK. Four insightful episodes—titled UK/AUS – This is Who We Are (Part One)—emphasise the experiences of women of colour and Indigenous women working in the arts and creative industries. Episode 2: Women, Hip-Hop & Resilience featuring local luminaries like MC Trey, Naomi Wenitong (Shakaya) and Maya Jupiter is especially relevant.


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In the first year that poetry was eligible for submission, First Nations writer and poet Evelyn Araluen won the prestigious Stella Prize. On winning this year’s prize (worth $60,000), Araluen said: “I’m deeply interested in the lives, histories, and dreams of women and gender diverse writers in Australian publishing, and it’s an honour to be recognised by a  prize designed to champion those stories.”

Entries for Media Diversity Australia’s WOMEN OF COLOUR MENTORSHIP program are almost closed! MDA is calling for expressions of interest from mid-career, women journalists of First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to undertake a 12-month program to help pave a pathway for them into leadership roles. Be sure to spread the word and enter if you’re eligible.




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April kicked off with the Grammy Awards, a testament to the hard work of my longtime friend Valeisha Butterfield-Jones as Co-President of The Recording Academy. Valeisha has been committed to empowering multicultural women in entertainment throughout her career, including her legacy with WEEN (where we first met). This year’s Grammys was the first major music award production committed to using inclusion riders, which Forbes reports are “an accountability mechanism used in the hiring process to foster an environment of inclusion; a tool to ensure equity and inclusion at every level during the production”.



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One of the aforementioned network WEEN’s graduates, Baroline Diaz, launched her debut capsule collection with Good American, The B Project. The limited line of sweaters (or jumpers, as we say in Australia) burst with bright colours and feature cute phrases to encapsulate today’s multicultural career woman. At only 27 years old, Dominican-American Diaz is the VP of A&R at Interscope Records.



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The series finale of Black-ish aired in the U.S. this month, a fitting end to a criminally underrated TV show. Black-ish tackled a myriad of social issues and hot topics with humour, honesty and love. Every single member of the ensemble cast showed up and showed out each episode, from veterans like Jenifer Lewis to breakout stars like Marsai Martin. With eight seasons in the can, Australian viewers can catch up anytime on Disney Plus.



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On the heels of her brilliant Spotify podcast #BlackGirlSongbook, veteran music journalist and author Danyel Smith released Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop. The critically-acclaimed book is described as an “intimate history of Black women’s music as the foundational story of American pop”. Smith was the first female editor of a major music publication in the 1990s and has been a formidable force in the industry since then. Make sure you grab a copy to support.


Please send us your news, views, tips and more—we value your feedback! Can’t wait to grow with you.

~Simone Amelia Jordan

Views From My Desk, Vol. 5

Party people,

It’s been one month since my last dispatch, and I think I’ll aim to keep with this timetable. Have you missed me? Hope so!

Here’s a list of things I think are worth sharing:

  1. I MADE THE SHORTLIST FOR THE 2021 RICHELL PRIZE FOR EMERGING WRITERS! Hip-Hop, we keep doin’ it big on an international scale, man. The Prize is announced on November 4.
  2. While I’m on the subject of myself (let me get that out the way, ha!) I was so honoured to be profiled by Australian rapper L-FRESH The Lion for Rolling Stone Australia and Diversity Arts Australia. He did such an incredible job, I hope you enjoy the read.
  3. Now, onto the news that caught my eye this past month! “Toxic workplaces, be they in the office, boardroom, on stage or behind, have no future in Australian music.” Slowly but surely, time’s up for predatory behaviour in the music industry.
  4. I’ve previously mentioned how much I enjoy MasterClass. I’ve just started Nas’s new program on The Art of Hip-Hop Storytelling. In one moment, he recalls the first-ever rap he wrote. In my memoir’s first chapter (the book up for the Richell Prize) I detail my own attempt to write my first rap. Needless to say: I would have let Nas down, ha!
  5. I’m definitely looking at signing up for the Music Tectonics Conference. Technology in music is changing so rapidly, but as a freelance consultant for First Nations and culturally diverse artists and creatives, it’s important I get my head around opportunities on platforms from Spotify to Twitch to Reddit.
  6. If you’re based in New South Wales and run a small business, this looks like a good TAFE workshop (Wed, Oct 27) on how to understand which deductions you can claim and when you can claim them, along with what records you need to keep.
  7. From the virtues of vanlife to the quiet of their every day, these photographers will feed your travel fires as the pandemic curbs our lives.
  8. I’m only learning of artist Kayla Mahaffey‘s work but my goodness: such bright and beautiful JOY. Adding this to my list of WANTS!
  9. So happy for my friends at Frontier Touring because finally, it looks like international tours are headed back Down Under. See: the excitement surrounding their Billie Eilish shows.
  10. Edited by West Sydney powerhouse Winnie Dunn, Straight Up Islander is a collection of writers from Oceania.

Thanks for reading.

This newsletter is free but not cheap. So you can help it keep going: forward it to someone who’d like it, hire me for your media and content needs, book me as a host, or work with me on your promotional events.

If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues and subscribe here.

Views From My Desk, Vol. 4

Hey y’all,

This newsletter marks one month of a weekly send-out but after today I’ll shift into more sporadic updates. Basically, I won’t be clogging up your inboxes. You can still catch me on social media all day, errrr’day!

Here’s a list of things I thought were worth sharing this week:

  1. After months of lockdown here in Sydney, we’re getting the word October 18 will mark when double vaccinated people can enjoy certain ‘freedoms’. Who else has booked in essentials like nails, hair and beauty therapy? Lord knows I have; shouts to Absolutely Fabulous.
  2. Last week I shared the news of being named to the 2021 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers’ longlist. I’m new to writing creative non-fiction, so the accolade is a humbling one. I’ve learned so much from paid subscription service MasterClass. I know it’s not for everyone and the price is quite steep, but there are so many incredible ‘masters’ on there sharing skills and know-how. Here’s a link to a 7-day free pass BUT be careful—you have to unsubscribe at the end of the week or they’ll start charging you.
  3. In a move toward the future, Australia’s biggest music award show The ARIAs has dumped gender-based categories.
  4. Facebook is launching a ‘lite’ version of Instagram for countries that don’t have the same access to cellular data and internet connection required to load many of the app’s features.
  5. I really enjoyed Seth Godin‘s breakdown of what the modern school curriculum should look like in 2021. Forget biology, chemistry, arithmetic, social studies et al: we should be looking at Statistics, Communication, History and Propaganda and more.
  6. “If some reports are to be believed, we will soon enter a post-Covid era of flamboyance and decadence reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties.” An interesting pitch for men to start investing in fine jewellery.
  7. I’m on Twitter all the time and I hadn’t heard of Super Follows till now, a subscription model to provide ‘super fans’ premium access to their fave celebs.
  8. The sale of crystals has surged during the past two years, with Google searches up 40 per cent and the global healing crystal market is estimated to be worth around $1.3 billion dollars.
  9. Nicki Minaj had a rough week. She’s far from an endearing person (I speak from personal experience), so her many detractors had quite the giggle with all the drama.
  10. Finally, this week we watched the 40th-anniversary show of the VMAs and the MET Gala. Both of them received an overwhelmingly negative response on social media and follow-up editorials, from the stale fashion, tired attempts at provocation and outdated tone. Has the cult of celebrity finally died? It appears in many ways, the answer is yes.

Thanks for reading.

This newsletter is free but not cheap. So you can help it keep going: forward it to someone who’d like it, hire me for your media and content needs, book me as a host, or work with me on your promotional events.

If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues and subscribe here.

~Simone xo

Views From My Desk, Vol. 3

Hey y’all,

Here’s a list of things I thought were worth sharing this week:

  1. WE DID IT, JOE! Out of over 850 entries, I made the longlist for the 2021 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers. I’m still in crazy shock and beyond honoured. When I tell you the amount of time I put into that entry, lawdamercy.
  2. On a much darker note, we mourn the passing of the brilliant Michael K. Williams. I just started re-watching Boardwalk Empire the other week, so he’s been top of mind. An absolutely premature and tragic loss. These words from former co-star Wendell Pierce during a 2014 interview are profound.
  3. In my role as Project & Events Manager for Media Diversity Australia, I get to work on some incredible programs. One of them is our 2022 Summer Internships for First Nations and culturally diverse final-year uni students in Australia. Entries are now open.
  4. Common Ground Towers are a well-known social housing estate in Sydney’s Inner West, and the residents have had an especially tough time this week during our state-wide lockdown here in NSW.
  5. Speaking of the pandemic, Guy Sebastian came under fire for this video, accused of “trying to be everything to everyone” (ahh, like most commercially successful artists?).
  6. My new bar cart arrived this week and I’m in full hostess mode! Well, for when we’re allowed to have guests over.
  7. Will Snoop Dogg perform the Menulog banger next year when he tours Australia? My money’s on hell yeah.
  8. The one and only Janet Jackson is dropping a two-part documentary and I am here. for. it.
  9. In a thorough Q&A for artists, Marque Lawyers outline information regarding NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), posting experiences on social media, how the laws play a part in what media can and cannot report on, and more
  10. I could care less about their work with Mr West, but FNZ are a massive Australian success story right now.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you think there are ways to make this bulletin pop more—I’m all ears!

This newsletter is free but not cheap. So you can help it keep going: forward it to someone who’d like it, hire me for your media and content needs, book me as a host, or work with me on your promotional events.

If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues and subscribe here.

~Simone xo

Views From My Desk, Vol. 2

Hey y’all,

Hope this finds you in good spirits! Between mourning the one-year anniversary of my beloved grandmother’s passing, working on various projects, enjoying the new spring weather and moving house in the midst of an endless lockdown, it’s definitely been an emotional rollercoaster for me!

Here’s a list of things I thought were worth sharing this week:

  1. I was working as a media personality in New York City when I met a teenage talent named Gabi Wilson, who signed a deal with RCA Records under the guidance of her idol Alicia Keys’ management team, MBK. Years later, she morphed into H.E.R. and, as we all know, became a superstar. She’s now about to make her big-screen debut in the film adaptation of The Colour Purple from Broadway.
  2. If you feel the world is getting murkier by the day, how about investing in a clarity coach?
  3. Dolce & Gabbana brought out the big guns for their stunning Alta Moda show in Venice over the weekend, with the fashion duo obviously back in favour with the A-list (cancel culture, say what?)
  4. Every gym bro’s podcasting hero, Joe Rogan not only tested positive to COVID-19 this week but true to form, says he’s healed himself with an unproven treatment.
  5. In a couple of weeks, acclaimed writer Colson Whitehead’s new, 1960s-based book Harlem Shuffle is released. One character describes Harlem, where I lived for the greatest decade of my life, as a place where “everybody’s kicking back or kicking up. Unless you’re on top.” True to this day.
  6. Michelle Yeoh is a TOTAL badass.
  7. An examination of the connection between relentless government intervention since colonisation to the trauma and disadvantage experienced by Indigenous Australians, Incarceration Nation is streaming now on SBS On Demand.
  8. Spotify has launched BLEND, a shared playlist feature for you and your loved ones (with the same taste in music, obvs).
  9. Moving house on the first day of spring definitely feels right! Here are some spring-cleaning tips that might be useful for Australian readers.
  10. Increase the peace, West Sydney. My heart goes out to these kids, man.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you think there are ways to make this bulletin pop more—I’m all ears!

This newsletter is free but not cheap. So you can help it keep going: forward it to someone who’d like it, hire me for your media and content needs, book me as a host, or work with me on your promotional events.

If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues and subscribe here.

~Simone xo

Views From My Desk, Vol. 1

Hey y’all,

Yesterday (or today, in the U.S.) was/is my birthday! It’s a celebration! Great way to kick off this newsletter.

Here’s a list of things I thought were worth sharing this week:

  1. First, I wrote about why the new lineup for The Wiggles is powerfully significant for children of colour.
  2. My friends at Illusive Touring are looking towards the (Odd) future and bringing Tyler, The Creator, out on tour to Australia next year. So let’s stay positive that 2022 will be everything we need it to be!
  3. Rather crazy to think this Tiffany & Co. promotion is the first advertising campaign the Carters have ever starred in together.
  4. I’ve gotten so used to binge-watching my TV shows that when a new series starts and has the absolute nerve to drop episodes weekly, I’m mad as hell! That said, Nine Perfect Strangers on Amazon/Hulu has me hooked.
  5. My friends at Media Diversity Australia are recruiting 400 supporters and would love you to pledge just $10 a month to help make this happen. You can support Indigenous journalists and culturally diverse journalists, including people with disabilities. Your assistance helps MDA run programs to support CALD journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events and provide practical solutions for the media industry. Donate here.
  6. I can’t hear the word ‘Aaliyah’ without almost shedding a tear. Not only about the late artist’s tragic passing, but also because I still can’t believe I lost the audio files from our interview, which we did just a month before she died. I cannot believe it’s been two decades since Baby Girl left us.
  7. I have a slight obsession with the 1920s/1930s. Considering it was a century ago now is amazing. I love the architecture, the Great Gatsby-esque vibes, the Harlem Renaissance, all of it.
  8. Thoughts with Afghanistan, today and always.
  9. Hmm, remember what I said in Bullet Point 2? Apparently, immunologists fear the worst as a strain of COVID deadlier than the current Delta variant is potentially looming around the corner. Lawd, have mercy.
  10. A reminder for this week: It’s okay not to be okay. We’re all in this together. So here are some practical ways to fight through the trauma of lockdown and beyond.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you think there are ways to make this bulletin pop more—I’m all ears!

This newsletter is free but not cheap. So you can help it keep going: forward it to someone who’d like it, hire me for your media and content needs, book me as a host, or work with me on your promotional events.

If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues and subscribe here.

~Simone xo

Simone Amelia Jordan Joins Media Diversity Australia As Project & Events Manager

Per Mumbrella:

Not-for-profit Media Diversity Australia has expanded its team as it plans to grow and have more impact on an industry it sees as lacking in diversity.

Chris Vaughan has joined the team as its operations director, bringing experience from his work in the finance industry, as well as media and advertising.

Vaughan said the work Media Diversity Australia does is close to his heart.

“I moved to Australia at the age of seven from London, it took many years before I saw someone else who looked like me let alone on the TV. It was because of that and many other reasons, that I feel very passionate about playing a part in this narrative to ensure that the seven year old me today is able to see more diverse cultures represented equally across all media platforms,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan worked for the past eight years in the financial services sector as an investment strategist and has led and built domestic and international partnerships. He has also worked both in Australia and the UK as a Freelance Television Producer for Fremantle Media, ABC and the BBC.

Media Diversity Australia made headlines in August 2020, when it released landmark research on the state of representation in television news and current affairs.

The report, Who Gets To Tell Australians – led by the NGO and produced by four universities was funded by Google and the union representing journalist, The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. It found that at the time, every national news director in Australia was a white man, and 96.9% of those in the most senior news management roles either had an Anglo-Celtic or European background.

More than 75% of presenters, commentators, and reporters on screen in news and current affairs broadcasts had an Anglo Celtic background, while only 6% had Indigenous or non-European background.

Now in its fourth year, the not-for-profit organisation will be doubling its paid internship program to create pathways for talent from a diverse array of backgrounds to enter the industry. The organisation also plans to repeat its research on the state-of-play in television news and current affairs to measure what has changed in three years.

“We have a clear vision and strategic plan over the next three years, which will see us scale our efforts to ensure we have a stronger representation across the entire media landscape of both culturally and linguistically diverse talent and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” a spokesperson for the NGO said.

Also joining the team is Simone Amelia Jordan as events and project manager, whose career spans news and music journalism and music management.

“When I came home in 2016 after a decade away in New York, I was immediately hit with familiar feelings of frustration and disappointment. Why did Australia’s mainstream media look as homogeneous as when I left? It was completely disheartening,” Jordan said.

“The following year, I learned about the launch of Media Diversity Australia, and was proud to support such a crucial movement. To now work with them in an official capacity is an honour,” she said.

Media Diversity Australia was founded in 2017 by journalists Isabel Lo and Antoinette Lattouf. They are supported by an  advisory board including Indigenous journalist Stan Grant, The Project Host, Waleed Aly; veteran journalist Monica Attard, SBS head of indigenous content, Tanya-Denning Orman; philanthropist Talal Yassine, former Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphomossane; multicultural advertising advisor, Sheba Nandkeolyar and head of the Walkley Foundation, Louisa Graham.

Debut #GetInTheGame Live Event: January 2020

Today marks exactly one year since I hosted (and organised) my first live #GetInTheGame event.

The sold-out seminar featured a line-up of brilliant women I’m honoured to call my dear friends, each of them with acclaimed careers in the music and entertainment industries.

And in the spirit of true sisterhood, Lani Richmond (artist manager, Aloe Blacc), Eb Jones (then Head of Social & Influencer Strategy, WNBA), Sherin Moustafa (then artist manager, Becky G) and Prinnie Stevens (performer) immediately said they would do the event with less than two week’s notice. When I have a bright idea, I like to execute it as soon as possible!

From L: Simone Amelia Jordan, Lani Richmond, Eb Jones, Sherin Moustafa and Prinnie Stevens.

This particular experience was so exhilarating and successful that it lead me to create Higher Ground Consulting Agency mid last year, and focus on the professional development of local artists and creatives from First Nations and CaLD talent.

Our audience soaking up knowledge from the all-star panel of female powerhouses.

I spoke with each woman in-depth about their unique journeys, with our Australian-born panelists providing particular inspiration to the sold-out audience. As musicians, journalists, managers and executives, we provided a powerful look at the spectrum of vocations available to those who aspire to work in showbiz. We also encouraged those in the audience from marginalised backgrounds to keep dreaming, and make those dreams BIG.

Special thanks to my husband Duane Jordan, my amazing right-hand Erika Medina, plus the indomitable Milly Petriella (head of artist relations, APRA AMCOS) for generously sharing her pearls of wisdom on the day.

Check out a video snippet from the day, and here’s to more incredible events in 2021!

IWD 2020 Panel: ‘Women Changing The World’

On International Women’s Day this year, I spoke at a ‘Women Changing The World’ event organised by tech start-up incubator Fishburners.

The panel featured women using their entrepreneurial talents for good. Here are some takeaways.

“You’re not always right, which takes a long time to learn. Everyone has their vision, but keep focused on the common goal.” – Simone Amelia Jordan

Packed house for the ‘Women Changing The World’ panel on #IWD2020. Image: Fishburners

“Take up space and flex your voice. Make room, take a spot. At events, at board meetings, wherever you need to be.” – Sasha Sarago

“You need to build resilience. You will be disappointed every second day. Equip yourself with a strong back and a strong network that backs you.” – Carola Jonas

Attendees soaking up knowledge at the #IWD2020 panel

“Stick to your vision and mission. The point of innovation is it is different and it won’t make sense to a lot of people. A lot of it is intuitive.” – Patricia Kaziro

“Value what you bring to the world. We need male energy but we also need female energy and to date, female energy has not been equal.” – Deborah Fairfull

“It does not get easier; things get harder. There are lots of ideas out there and just because something wasn’t your idea, doesn’t mean you can’t get on board.” – Jenna Leo

Step Forward: Vision Board Workshop [March 2018]



Vision Board Workshop, Sydney Australia

Grab your girls and let’s celebrate Women’s History Month!

Are you in need of INSPIRATION?

Vision Boards display images that represent whatever you want to BE, DO or HAVE in your life.

In 2018, our lives are moving at a rapid pace and we’re losing sight of the GOALS and DREAMS shaping our future.

Make your ambitions VISUAL and REAL to create your reality and maintain your motivation.

Saturday, March 24 2018


Redfern Community Centre

29-53 Hugo Street, Redfern NSW

Cost: $47 + booking fee (includes):

  • Lunch + Refreshments
  • Pre-Workshop Tips
  • Large Foam Vision Board
  • Magazines
  • Scissors, Glue, Tacks, Stickers, Varnish

Catch Up On The Latest Episodes Of ‘The Bridge’ Podcast

Episode 13

Life comes at you fast, doesn’t it! I haven’t had a chance to post the past six episodes of our podcast as I was working hard on the Australian premiere of the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me (video and photos coming soon).

Here are the episodes below, where you can really notice the growth in chemistry between my co-host Nate Wade and myself in addition to an extremely diverse range of topics!

Episode 7 Of The Bridge Podcast: Getting Stronger

Episode 7

Episode 5 of The Bridge podcast is now live!

Myself and Nate Wade chop it up about:

-Is yet *another* big Hip-Hop tour cancelled Down Under?
-Australia’s recently released Five Year Mental Health Youth Report and how action is urgently needed to stem rising youth mental illness in the country
-How race plays a huge difference between the Hip-Hop/R&B music scenes in Australia and New Zealand
-The mystery surrounding the death of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez
-A tribute to Katherine Keating and VICE Impact
and much more!Please LISTEN, RATE, SUBSCRIBE — and send feedback!