ARIA Launch Hip Hop & RnB Advisory Group

30 January 2024 | 3:32 pm | Ellie Robinson

The aim was to “listen, learn, and understand how ARIA can help to achieve better representation”.

Nina Las Vegas / Pookie

Nina Las Vegas / Pookie (Facebook)

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The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) has announced the launch of its official Hip Hop and RnB Advisory Group, which the org says is “designed to support and celebrate opportunities for growth across the genres”.

The group consists of 19 professionals spanning artists, managers, label reps and media figures, headed up by co-chairs Julia Robinson (who also works as ARIA’s Head of Policy and Advocacy) and Mohamed Komba (an A&R consultant at Warner Music Group).

Artists involved include Aćol Agaar Apollo (better known to most as Pookie), Kween G, Naomi Wenitong, Austin Benjamin (aka Utility) and Nina Agzarian (aka Nina Las Vegas), as well as industry experts like Sosefina Fuamoli, Ali Tomoana (Soul Has No Tempo), Haydn Wings (Take Flight), Vyvienne Alba (Vyva Entertainment), Matthew Craig (AUD$) and Dannielle Callaghan (Black Music Alliance Australia).

Rounding out the board are artist managers Christopher Kevin, Hau Latukefu, Jelal Edmonds and Petrina Convey, and label reps Adam Booth (EMI / Calibre) and Ben Martin (Island).

Appointed members will serve terms of no more than 24 months, with the option to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. In a press release, ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd explained that seeds for the group were sewn last year, with the association endeavouring to “engage more closely with the hip hop and RnB communities”. The aim, she said, was to “learn how we could best support some of the most exciting new music coming out of Australia”.

Herd added: “This included direct consultation with a wide range of people in those communities, a series of panels and roundtables, government advocacy and events. Our aim was to listen, learn, and understand how ARIA can help to achieve better representation.

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This work lead to the development of a broader strategy to advocate, showcase, educate and consult for hip hop and RnB in Australia, of which the new advisory group plays a huge role. We are beyond thrilled to continue out work build better pathways to facilitate meaningful discussion and build even stronger relationships with the community. There is plenty of work left to do, and we’re very excited to get started.”

In a statement of his own, Komba added to the narrative: “Over the last few years we have seen a cultural shift in the RnB and hip hop scene in Australia, and I feel that last year’s ARIA nominees were a great testament to how far we have come and where we are heading.”

The sentiment was shared by Robinson, who said she was “thrilled to be working alongside such an incredible group of people from the hip hop and RnB community on deepening ARIA’s commitment and connection to the music, stories and people of these genres”.