COVID closures and pandemic restrictions weren’t enough to dampen the spirits at this year’s National Indigneous Music Awards (NIMA), with the event going completely virtual for the first time across TV, radio and online platforms, showing the resilience and tenacity of a community intent on celebrating First Nations talent from across our lands.
The night’s big winner was Yolngu man, Baker Boy, who took home trophies for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Film Clip of the Year for his hit Meditjin. Accepting his award live from Bendigo, Baker Boy offered love for his fellow First Nations artists, and thanked his family across Arnhem Land for their belief and support.
‘Woah, my heart! This is crazy,’ he said at the ceremony. ‘I honestly didn’t think I could win at all tonight, but I just want to say to all the nominees tonight across all of the categories; you are incredible, you are amazing, and I am so proud of you all, my brothers and sisters,’ said Baker Boy.
‘To my family back in Darwin across Arnhem Land, I’m so proud to represent my people, and so overwhelmed by the support and success I have achieved rapping in Yolgnu Matha and English.’
Other big winners on the night were Archie Roach, who won Album Of The Year for Tell Me Why, Miiesha won New Talent of the Year, KDA Crew won Community Clip of the Year, and Rrawun Maymuru and Nick Wales took out the Indigenous Language Award for Nyapillilngu (Spirit Lady). Kee’Ahn won the Archie Roach Foundation Award.
The two-hour broadcast was hosted by the legendary Elaine Crombie, and NIMA Creative Director Ben Graetz.
There were touching musical tributes from Archie Roach and Emma Donovan as Ruby Hunter was inducted into the NIMA Hall of Fame, and an amazing must-watch tribute to the Warumpi Band classic, My Island Home, was performed by Neil Murray, Christine Anu, Mau Power, Jim Moginie, Rob Hirst and the Malu Gubaw Kazil (Sea Breeze Children) Choir.
The new generation of Indigenous talent were also well represented with spectacular live performances from Thelma Plum, Miiesha, Mambali and JK-47, while there were live crosses to Jessica Mauboy, Mitch Tambo and Electric Fields, as well as to remote communities in Yirrkala and Broome.
Event co-host, Ben Graetz, said he was extremely proud that while 2020 might have presented its challenges, the National Indigenous Music Awards rose above the noise of this difficult time to present an amazing and uplifting night of First Nations artists. ‘The broadcast has brought the community together in a celebration of resilience and talent. Never before has it been more important to recognise our past, present and future and to come together as one.’
Opening with a spectacular Welcome to Country, and closing with the worldwide premiere studio performance of Midnight Oil’s Gadigal Land with Kaleena Briggs, Bunna Lawrie and Dan Sultan, the event was broadcast on National Indigenous Television (NITV), Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and simulcast across Double J, TEABBA and the National Indigenous Radio Service; creating the largest audience in the event’s history, touching every part of Australia and reaching across the globe. The awards are available to watch now on catch-up from SBS On Demand.
NATIONAL INDIGENOUS MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS 2020
Artist of the Year: Baker Boy
Album of the Year: Archie Roach – Tell Me Why
Song of the Year: Baker Boy ft. Jess B – Meditjin
New Talent of the Year: Miiesha
Film Clip of the Year: Baker Boy ft. Jess B – Meditjin
Community Clip of the Year: KDA Crew
Indigenous Language Award: Rrawun Maymuru & Nick Wales – Nyapillilngu (Spirit Lady)
Triple J Unearthed: JK-47
Hall Of Fame Inductee: Ruby Hunter