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Beni Bjah + Flewnt Call Out Australian Justice System With Gritty Track 'Throw Away The Keys'

4 July 2023 | 12:03 pm | Jessie Lynch

The pair share life-long frustrations of systematic racism and plead for justice and freedom for their people.

Beni Bjah + Flewnt

Beni Bjah + Flewnt (Supplied)

West coast Noongar hip-hop talent Beni Bjah and Flewnt have teamed up for the first time for Throw Away the Keys – a gritty new track made to highlight the injustices their people face in the Australian justice system and the devastation it causes to the community. 

Strongly referencing a woman being incarcerated over train fines in Western Australia, the poignant new track speaks to the many failures by the system, including Indigenous deaths in custody (with still not one conviction to this day); the high incarceration rates and over-representation of Indigenous people in Australia’s prison system (more than 40% in WA); Raising the age (the minimum age of criminal responsibility, which is currently 10); and the devastating knock-on effect it has on the children.  

Opening a dialogue to long overdue conversations and hard truths, the pair share life-long frustrations of systematic racism and plead for justice and freedom for their people. 

Throw Away the Keys sees Bjah and Flewnt return to raw and unfiltered hard staunch hip hop, with the pair displaying rapid-fire bars against a notorious gritty West coast beat.

The film clip to accompany the track is also just as confronting, with the video shot by Uncool Sam at the Fremantle Prison in Western Australia that sees Bjah and Flewnt dressed as inmates and rapping throughout the prison corridors and grounds.

The lyrics dive into the frustrations of the Australian Justice System's treatment of Indigenous peoples, with the duo rapping, "I don’t wanna see another brother die in prison, I don’t wanna see another mother cry isn’t this the right time take a stance to the system? Or we getting more fathers that are gone from their children,They actually killing us literal death, chucked in a cell little respect."

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Freemantle Prison has notoriously housed some dark times for Aboriginal people, including the incident that took place on 28 August 1984, in which Indigenous poet Robert Walker died of asphyxiation while being transferred by prison warders from 1 Division to the Prison hospital.

According to subsequent reports following his death, "Other prisoners in the jail witnessed the assault on 25-year-old Robert Walker by prison officers David Boath, Jeffrey White. Robert Miller, David Hyde and James Holbourne with medical orderly Edward Hannah in attendance."

"On a grassed area in full view of a large number of cells, Robert Walker was assaulted for over 20 minutes and every time he screamed, Chief Officer Boath would hit him with a truncheon. According to one witness, Robert Walker received 80 blows overall."

While the event occurred back in '80s, sadly, Aboriginal deaths in custody continue to be a major problem within the Australian prison system, with 547 Indigenous deaths occurring in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody concluded in 1991.

Apart from both Bjah and Flewnt being Noongar marmun (men) they are connected through SBX hip-hop family (Drapht, Optamus), and the West coast hip-hop scene.

Bjah, a West coast icon, took his love of hip-hop and passion for his people to pen the lyrical wake-up Australia needed, releasing his debut single Survivor in 2016, which saw him become the first-ever indigenous artist to win West Australian Music’s Song of the Year Grand Prize Award.

He has opened for the likes of RZA, Tyga, and Cypress Hill; and is known his track This is Australia (a reimagining Childish Gambino’s This is America), which went viral last year.

Making his debut in 2018, Nyoongar Wongi MC & activist Flewnt (Joshua Eggington) is making some big waves – following the success of his annual Flewnt’s Boorloo Block Party at Perth Festival, he recently performed at Vivid Sydney, and featured on triple j’s Bars of Steel with his son, Inkabee. 

A youth worker by day – including a mentorship program at WA’s Banksia prison – Josh is passionate about empowering youth and the wider community on culture and truth-telling through hip-hop and music. 

You can check out the clip for Throw Away The Keys below.