THE below are my thoughts. I do help Jamie Jackson out as his manager for ideas and PR but my motives (like most in my life) are not monetary ones. If the Star Observer would like Jamie’s opinion I’m sure he’d be happy to craft a piece in due course. The reason I say this, as Jesse Matheson has pointed out, Jamie and I do not always agree. Oh, how I would of loved the single to be called Concrete Head Smash!. Instead of just getting the cover of a magazine last week and becoming the top trending story on News.com.au, I’m sure it could have secured Jamie some air time on television. As it turns out, I think the title, I’ve Decided That I’m Great is positive, fun and uplifting. So why the hate?
News.com.au weren’t choosing between an article about gay rights and this song. This song was competing with articles like “Football WAG’s furious rant on Instagram” and “The jobs most likely to be stolen by Robots”. I’m proud to say that the promise of a Jamie Jackson single was the number one story on News with thousands of hits. This is the conversation starter.
Jamie and I both had the biggest stories in our community last year coming out of Mardi Gras 2013. But while I was getting nominated for an ACON Honour Award and picked up a gig with OX Live, Jamie went to work at McDonald’s and got dragged through 10 months of our legal system on charges that were unsubstantiated and eventually dropped. Other than the generousity of his lawyers who initially covered his $40,000 in legal fees (and later won them back) where was this so-called community support for Jackson?
I disagree with the assumption that the community had rallied behind him. I recall the community was brought together because of Jamie for a brief 72 hours or so. Additional footage was then released by the force and Jamie, unfairly in my opinion, lost the media debate. Despite all charges being dropped and a scathing statement from the court as to his treatment by a particular police officer, many in our community still feel free for whatever reasons to continue writing nasty things about this young man or assume his guilt.
My job as a manager is to assist Jamie to readjust his branding and it’s not the hardest task. Jamie is a likeable guy and most journalists who he has had proper interviews with, in my experience, have come out of the interview rooting for him. He is young and he can be shy but you can gather from all the articles that have been published elsewhere that the writers genuinely feel for Jamie. Anyone who is approached at a bar late at night and asked personal questions would squirm and I’ll leave my response in relation to those inappropriate allegations at that.
The 1978 Mardi Gras led to a rights movement across the entire country. Last year’s event lead to an accord focussed on a couple of hours on a Saturday night up Oxford St once a year. What we should be wanting is a much wider change with the ways in which the force is trained to deal with the LGBTI community. There’s a big difference there. This hastily-enacted accord that Jesse Matheson wishes to celebrate is in place to preserve the Parade but it does not transcend beyond one night on Oxford St.
Just two weeks before the 2014 Mardi Gras Parade the police came to the table, dragging their heels, to announce this so called ‘historic’ accord. Do we think this is up to scratch? Is the force that is based in western Sydney proud that the cornerstone of this agreement was to limit their participation in dealing with Mardi Gras? Are all sides, including our own, admitting defeat in the west? How about a 52 week, “all the streets of Australia” accord? Why weren’t police already properly trained to deal with our community? Why were the new lockouts fast tracked onto the weekend of Mardi Gras?
There are some serious conversations that we as a community need to have with government, the police and ourselves. Whether you like it or not, this 26 second snippet and the yet-to-be released two minute YouTube video have provided us a media platform to have that conversation. I believe you will want to thank Jamie in 10 years time. I already have.
It takes brave people to stand up for what they believe in. I know a lot of the players in our Sydney scene and it would serve my radio career and general life well being to not assist Jamie. But we really need to look at ourselves twice if we’re getting so worked up over 26 seconds of audio. The truth is Jamie could be dead today because of what happened at the 2013 Mardi Gras. Tomorrow he might release a song that could be a catalyst for change, in a few years he may become an advocate for whatever cause his heart sees fit. Good on him.