Kandere is Wahe Kavara and Lakyn Tarai, a powerful meeting of two artists who consume and produce music in ways that challenge the staleness of the current scene. The first time I saw Kandere perform I was completely in awe of the way they filled the room with their energy which was profusely moving and even more than that, exciting. That led to me drunkenly approaching Wahe in the club one night to tell them they “were the best act” I’d seen all year. Luckily for me, they’re still answering my emails.
“Hip-hop is a way of celebrating blackness and a culture that is beyond resilient. It’s something that black people around the world have rejoiced in, cried tears into their pillows at night to and [many have] held their aunty’s hand listening to Mary J Blige.
It was a revolutionary art form as it allowed black people to see reflections of their own beauty and power that are never portrayed in mainstream society. What does a white man have to fight for in Australia? A country based on genocide and colonialism of the first black people of this world. White culture is full of violence and cultural dominance, not resilience. White artists creating hip-hop and dominating over black artists is just another form of colonialism in my eyes. White hip-hop is not the soundtrack of political struggle of our times, when we are screaming at rallies we are playing Kendrick and Solange because it actually means something [to us].
We identify as non-binary, but we were socialised as black women and often get read in this music scene as women. I have no doubt it has lead to us being devalued as artists. I’ve seen a lot of other white artists rise up really quickly. I’ve been here for a decade but you weren’t ready to see me until now.
Black women do a lot of important community work [which] is done out of love to uplift a community not deepen the pockets off white scammers making money off black talent. Treatment of black artists in Australia is abhorrent. We were recently racially profiled at a festival we played that was supposed to be “inclusive”. There was no apology, no acknowledgement from management at all. They literally could not even look us in the eye after the incident was brought to their attention. It fucked us up. At the time I was thinking to myself ‘Are we human? Are we worthy of dignity?’ I feel like white supremacy is threatened by the unstoppable force of black power and black excellence and it should be scared because we are coming for you.” “As for our responsibilities as WOC (or AFAB because we are non-binary) we must come together to heal ourselves, affirm each other and organise together. Things like standing united against racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, classism, ableism, and imperialism is what I expect my sisters to damn well do. I’m surrounded by queens who are constantly educating, elevating marginalised voices in our community through different artistic mediums. More often than not these black women are hustling, doing a lot of everything for free and outta love. That’s another thing, WOC need to be PAID. Where’s my money??? Why do gig organisers who are white not prioritise us? There [have] been parties where we’ve left feeling so tokenised as a hip-hop duo. Are we just here for the photo op? The diversity factor? To [pander] to your white guilt? All in all the music industry as it stands today is just a reflection of this patriarchal, white supremacist and heteronormative society we live in.”