Combatting discrimination and amplifying queer voices: JamarzOnMarz on Up For It
December 2nd 2020
Emerging Sydney-based rapper JamarzOnMarz joined Courtney and Lucy for Up For It’s weekly queer segment Kings and Queens last Thursday to discuss how his identity as a young Black and queer person influenced his journey to becoming an artist, and what’s on the cards for him in 2021.
Shooting to local fame earlier this year for his petition calling on the NSW Education Minister to put an end to school uniform policies that discriminate against Afro-textured hair, JamarzOnMarz describes his latest music video ‘Tomorrow’ as bringing his “dream of being a proud queer student to life”. Set in a high-school classroom, the video celebrates Blackness and queerness and challenges anti-Black/anti-LGBTQIA+ attitudes in schools.
Being one of Australia’s few openly queer rappers, JamarzOnMarz describes how he was drawn to hip hop for its potential to be political, combat discrimination and to make tangible change in the world. Often using hip hop as a vehicle for queer storytelling, he says:
“[The queer community] need to be championed more and our stories brought to the mainstream, not pigeon-holed into “this is only for the queer community” – no, this can be for everybody, there is relatability there.”
JamarzOnMarz was recently selected to perform in the Express Yourself – Queer Discovery music showcase, an opportunity for emerging queer musicians to audition to perform at Mardi Gras 2021.
Listen to the full chat up top. You can catch JamarzOnMarz in action at LazyBones Lounge this weekend, and tune in to Kings and Queens each Thursday morning for your weekly dose of queer culture and discourse.