Jessica Mauboy: Empowering Women and Communities

Today we continue to celebrate Indigenous women. Jessica Mauboy dubbed the ‘Aussie Queen of pop’ is an incredible role model for young people all around Australia, particularly young Indigenous women. She has a strong voice nationally and internationally and has always been an advocate for women’s rights. Over the years, she has worked closely with remote Indigenous communities mentoring, educating and inspiring young kids. Today we explore the incredible impact that Mauboy has through her music and charity work as a strong First Nations woman.

Image from Jessica Mauboy’s music video ‘The Day Before I Met You.’ Image sourced from, 2015.

Jessica Mauboy grew up surrounded by music and started singing at a young age. She was exposed to music from both of her parents, singing Indonesian or cultural hymns with her dad and listening to country music with her mum's side of the family. Music became a way for her to let go and not be ashamed. Mauboy (2020) says, in an interview with Marie Claire’s editor, Nicky Briger for the podcast Finding Fearless:

“I would sing in school...I had teachers that were very confident in me and saw the power of music in me.”

As a songwriter Mauboy's music has always been very personal, her songs relate to her life, family and share important messages. The album ‘Hilda,’ released in 2019, tells the story of her Grandmother. In the latter podcast, Mauboy (2020) talks about significance of ‘Hilda:’

“My middle name is Hilda, after my grandmother. Nana was a soaring power. She was an Indigenous woman who fell in love with a white European man; it was a secret love because there was still segregation at the time. Being an Indigenous woman with a white fella, Nana struggled. But she stuck to her path. I think that’s where I get my fire from.”

Many of Jessica’s songs are about empowering women, such as her 2018 Eurovision song ‘We Got Love.’ The song delivers a message of compassion and the global power of love. The song is intended as a counterbalance to hatred and violence that was apparent during this period of time - the Florida School shooting and the reports of the sexual assault of a two-year old girl in Tennant Creek. The song speaks of the global power of love, that we all have a choice to use the power of compassion in the face of the world's suffering (ABC, 2018).

Jessica singing at Eurovision 2018. Image sourced from Metro, 2018.

Jessica is also heavily involved in advocating for the rights of her people. Most recently, through the iconic “The Time is Now” interview in Marie Claire with the incredible Samantha Harris and Miranda Tapsell. Through this article each of these strong Indigenous women call for real constitutional change. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still aren’t acknowledged in the Australian constitution, a terrible lack of recognition of Indigenous people’s rights as the original custodians of this country. As said by Mauboy, “we need to lift the barrier to move forward. For me, Indigenous constitutional recognition would mean freedom.”

Jessica Mauboy supporting Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Courtesy of ILF, 2015.

Jessica Mauboy connects with and supports Indigenous communities in a number of different ways. She is an ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF), a non-for-profit that supports literacy skills of Indigenous children in remote communities. Their purpose is to make a difference to the lives of Indigneous families by gifting books, supporting early literacy and first languages and running programs where communities have the opportunity to publish their own stories. Mauboy helps raise funds for ILF and builds awareness to raise the literacy levels in remote communities. Having spent much time in these communities over the years she understands the many barriers and challenges that exist (Jessica Mauboy, 2021), she explains:

“Kids in these communities are smart and often speak 2-3 languages, but English is often not their first language and they can therefore struggle to cope at school…..I passionately support ILF’s belief that literacy opens the door to a world of opportunities – including jobs, better health and general wellbeing and I am very much looking forward to doing what I can to work with them to make a real difference.”

Jessica Mauboy receiving her ADC Medal. Image sourced from SBS News, 2019.
Jessica Mauboy uses her platform to support Indigenous communities and push for the rights and education of First Nations People. Her music spreads messages of love and uplifts us all (SBS News, 2019). As said by the Anti Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramvich, when she was awarded with a medal for speaking out about racism and bullying in 2019:
"In a world sorely in need of genuine champions, Jessica Mauboy has answered the call by being a strong voice and a moral centre to remind us of what being an Australian is all about. The ADC could not be prouder in partnering up with Mauboy to create a more inclusive society and to lift our nation to even greater heights,”
This week and always lets celebrate powerful Indigenous women.