‘Best two minutes of Aussie TV, ever’
A two-minute monologue closing out last night's episode of Q&A has been hailed as the "best two minutes of Australian TV ever".
Neighbours actor Meyne Wyatt, a Wongutha-Yamatji man from Kalgoorlie, spoke passionately against injustice towards Indigenous Australians in the emotionally charged episode, which focused on racism and black deaths in custody, following the weekend's nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.
But it was his chilling performance at the end of the show which prompted an outpouring of support from viewers.
In a stirring speech from his play, City Of Gold, Wyatt condemned police brutality and spoke about black identity as he became visibly emotional.
"I'm always going to be a black friend, aren't I? That's all anyone ever sees. I'm never just an actor, I'm an Indigenous actor. Hey, I love reppin', but I don't hear old Joe Bloggs over here being called 'white Anglo-Saxon actor blah di blah,'" Wyatt began.
"I'm always in the black show, the black play. I'm always the angry one, the tracker, the thief. Sometimes I just want to be seen for my talent, not my skin colour, not my race. I hate being a token, box to tick, part of some 'diversity' angle. 'Oh, what are you whingeing for, you're not a real one, anyway - you're only part.'
"Well, what part then? My foot? My arm? My leg? You're either black or not. You wanna do a DNA test, come suck my blood.
"'But how will we move forward if we dwell on the past?' That's your privilege. You get to ask that question. Ours, we can dance and be good at sport. You go to weddings, we go to funerals.
"'No no, you're not your ancestors, its not your fault you have white skin' - but you do benefit from it.
"You can be OK - me? I have to be exceptional. I mess up, I'm done. There's no path back for me, there's no road to redemption. Being black and successful comes at a cost. You take a hit whether you like it or not, because you want your 'blacks' quiet and humble.
"You can't stand up, you have to sit down. Ask a brother boy, Adam Goodes. A kid says some racist sh*t - not ignorant, racist - calling a blackfella an 'ape'. Come on man, we were flora and fauna before 1967 - no actually, we didn't exist at all.
"He got it. It was a kid - this was a learning moment, he taught that kid a lesson. But they didn't like that - a black man standing up for himself, no, they didn't like that.
"'You shut up boy, you stay in your lane, every time you touch a ball we're going to boo your a**e'. So he showed them a scary black, throwing imaginary spears and sh*t - but did they like that? Oh, nah nah nah, they didn't like that.
"Every arena, every stadium, they booed him. 'It's coz the way the flog plays football' - bulls**t. No-one booed him the way they booed him until he stood up and said something about race.
"The second he stood up, everyone came out of the woodwork to give him sh*t. And what, he's supposed to sit there and take it? Well I'll tell you right now - Adam Goodes has taken it. His whole life, he's taken it.
"I've taken it. No matter what, no matter how big, how small, I'll get some racist sh*t on a weekly basis, and I'll take it. You know, it used to be that in your face - 'You boong, you black dog, coon' kind of sh*t, 'Gonna chase you down the ditch with my baseball bat' skinhead sh*t … when I was 14 years old.
"But nah, 'We've come forward, we're progressive, we're going to give you that small subtle sh*t'. Sh*t that's always been there, but it's not that obvious, in your face s**t, it's that, 'Ooh no we can't be seen to be racist' kind of sh*t.
"Security guard following me around the store, asking to search my bag. Walking up to the counter first, and being served second, or third or last kind of sh*t. Hailing down a cab to see it slow down, look at my face, then drive off. More than once, more than twice - more than once, twice, on any one occasion, yeah, that sh*t I'll get weekly.
"Sometimes I'll get it days in a row, if I'm really lucky. And that's the kind of sh*t I'm letting them think they're getting away with, because to be honest, I can't be bothered. I can't be bothered teaching their ignorant a**es on a daily basis. I don't have the energy or the enthusiasm. It's exhausting, and I like living my life.
"But on occasion, when you've caught me on a bad day, where I don't feel like taking it, I'll give you that 'angry black' you've been asking for and I'll tear you a new a**ehole. Not because of that one time, but because of my whole life. At least Adam (Goodes) danced … and they still p**sed and moaned.
"But it's not about that one time, it's about all those times. And seeing us as animals and not as people, that sh*t needs to stop. Black deaths in custody, that sh*t needs to stop.
"I wanna be what you want me to be, I wanna be what I wanna be. Never trade your authenticity for approval. Be crazy. Take a risk. Be different. Offend your family. Call them out. Silence is violence. Complacency is complicity.
"I don't wanna be quiet, I don't wanna be humble, I don't wanna sit down."
The monologue quickly sparked a strong reaction on Twitter, with comedian Nazeem Hussain describing it as "the best two minutes of Australian television ever".
Others also heaped praise on Wyatt.
Thank you @Qanda and @meynewyatt This has to go global. This is more than a statement from the heart. This is a roar from a people a roar from history through a man who will be heard. Let it rip Tweeps!! #blacklivesmatteraustralia @TheDailyShow @colbertlateshow @sethmeyers— DavidW2035 (@DavidW2035) June 8, 2020
"Powerful monologue … strong, enriching, empowering, graphic and sadly one that reflects something all to real with how we view and treat Indigenous Australians," one person tweeted.
Another tweeted a video of Wyatt's speech, and wrote: "'Silence is violence.' Watch ALL of THIS. Sit with the discomfort, the reality, all of it. Sit with our racism. Understand the privilege and complicity of having a choice to ignore it. Act, do, learn, DO NOT be silent."
See that pain and anger simmering beneath the surface of these Mob on #qanda tonight? That doesn’t get left at the studio door. That no good feeling follows you around day, night, everywhere. Racism, white supremacy is an insidious diesease that must be driven out of our society.— Shari L Sebbens (@sharileesebbo) June 8, 2020
Earlier in the show, an emotional Wyatt told the panel - which also included Sydney actor and writer, Nakkiah Lui, lawyer and human rights advocate Nyadol Nyuon, Federal Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers and NSW Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg - that he was sick of sitting and being "the nice guy" while Australia's institutions were "killing us".
"It's been continuous since Captain Cook landed on these shores. It's still happening. It's a denial of our existence," he said.
"We're demanding. We're demanding justice. And those protests in America - they're not protests, they're demanding it.
"There are riots and people are talking about order. Who cares about order if there's no justice? We want justice. I'm sick of talking about being in order - you know what? It doesn't work. Being peaceful - peaceful protests - don't work. You're never saved. You're never happy for what we do."
Wyatt continued to raise his voice as the audience sat silent.
"I've got to sit here and be the nice guy," he said. "I don't want to be the nice guy no more. I'm sick of it. Everyone sits there and listens to you be this animal. I don't want to be an animal no more."
Originally published as 'Best two minutes of Aussie TV, ever'
This monologue rips into my heart. This is talent and truth and and theatre that tears into you. Listen daily. Let’s Watch this daily. Don’t forget it. #QandA #meynewyatt #cityofgold #listen #silenceisviolence https://t.co/04glzDXHKf— Julia Zemiro (@julia_zemiro) June 8, 2020