Carly Wallace has been left devastated after Facebook deleted her Indigenous comedy page 'Cjay's Vines', which had several videos, memes and photos drawing light to Aboriginal culture, for reportedly not ‘following’ the ‘Facebook Community Standards’.
Carly Wallace, better known as CJay, is the page owner of CJay’s Vines, which she created in October 2016. Carly utilised the page to showcase her comical skills and Aboriginal heritage, but what started off as just a ‘silly’ online idea, soon turned into not only a business platform, but social group too.
“Cjay's Vines was for our mob, for them to have a laugh while educating others about who we are as Aboriginal people."
“I know it was just a silly Facebook page but it meant something to me and a lot of others who have come out and showed me their support. I received messages daily from people who told me my page helped them through dark times, from people with serious illnesses who watched my videos and laughed and told me I made them feel better even for just one moment,” she said.
“I've had speaking gigs offered to me from Cjay's vines, the opportunity to speak to youth and community and now that's just gone. Deleted, along with more than 22,000 followers and all of my creative work.”
More importantly Carly says this was a way in which she could educate people about her culture whilst also entertain them.
“Cjay's Vines was for our mob, for them to have a laugh while educating others about who we are as Aboriginal people. Now that it’s removed I realise it’s bigger than me.”
She is form Far North Queensland and was raised in a little place near atherton tablelands, which is traditional country.
“My mob was on country with me. I’m a traditional country Aboriginal girl. My black mother inspired a lot of my memes, so it was about my family and cultural experiences, which is what fuelled my humour.”
Carly’s memes used humour to express the differences between Indigenous parents V’s non-Indigenous parents, things mum’s, aunties, uncles and cousins would say or do. With some of her videos even receiving well over 100,000 views.
But like most online pages, Carly said she endured her fair share of ‘trolls’ who would make negative comments, some from people who don’t understand her culture but also from some Indigenous communities too.
“Anything that has the title Indigenous or Aboriginal we are always going to get negative comments, that’s just something our mob knows,” she said.
“Some people just say it’s a stereotype, but that means I’m living a stereotype. It’s just what I grew up around and basically things from my life,” she said.
Now living in Brisbane and working for AIME, Carly works closely with community and kids and would avoid swearing and crude behaviour at all costs in order to be a positive role model.
“I wanted to show our mob that with blackfella humour, we don’t need to swear to be funny.”
A change.org petition to re-instate CJay’s Vines has reached over 300 supporters in just two days, and someone has also created a new Facebook Page titled 'Bring Back CJay's VINES'. Carly says she’s overwhelmed to see support from her loyal cyber friends.
Facebook have not specifically told Carly which post was deemed as ‘offensive’, she believes someone reported her page and despite appealing for it not to be deleted, it was.
“There are lots of other pages on Facebook that get to stay up that have more damaging content, but mine gets shut down. I push the boundaries when it comes to race but I’m respectful. I just raise awareness for Indigenous and non-Indigenous viewers.”
Carly has a Youtube channel but it doesn’t have the same reach as her Facebook page. She doesn’t want to put in hours of effort starting a new page in case it gets shut down again. All she wants is her ‘online community’ back again.
“I’m a real person with a real story, and my type of humour broke down a few different boundaries. I was able to appeal without being too confrontational but educating people about my culture at the same time,” she said.
“It became a social place where a lot of people connected on the page, not just me. People would tag their friends on my page and share laughs together so for this to be deleted is pretty shattering.”