• Throughout NAIDOC week, TikTok will shine a spotlight on videos from Indigenous accounts (Tik Tok)Source: Tik Tok
Live performances, music, culture, and history will be highlighted to help create a positive, inclusive community and elevate First Nations people on TikTok this NAIDOC Week.
Rae Johnston

9 Nov 2020 - 5:26 PM  UPDATED 9 Nov 2020 - 5:46 PM

Throughout NAIDOC week, TikTok will shine a spotlight on videos from makeup artist @sari_ella_thaiday, artist and dancer @katerinaleeroe and rapper @jmillaofficial. Comedian @balaclint and @kookingwithakoori will also feature, and spoke to NITV News about the opportunity. 

"I never thought in my wildest dreams that I'd have TikTok actually messaging me saying hey, wanna do something for us?" @kookingwithakoori told NITV News. 

"I'm like, hang on. Is this legit? Like is someone having a go, or what? The police call it stalking, I call it modern-day blacktracking - so I did my research and did my background checks, and I went 'this is for real!'"

@kookingwithakoori started making cooking videos around three months ago, and today has almost 60,000 followers. He told NITV News he was inspired by cooking for his kids, and the Mob Feeds Facebook page. 

"I jumped onto Mob Feeds and said, I want to make my kids more traditional sort of meals. I know what I had when I was growing up, I want to learn what the other fellas had," said @kookingwithakoori.

"We bully beef, curry chicken, chicken vermicelli noodles and all that sort of stuff. So when I made the first bully beef, I went, you know what? I'm gonna video it."

"TikTok has the tools to be able to make content easily, it allows you to edit videos, put voiceovers, sounds, music, all that - it was just a really easy editing tool," said @kookingwithakoori. "I did bully beef and uploaded it to Mob Feeds, and I found the Indigenous side to TikTok."

@kookingwithkoori said he hopes the NAIDOC Week feature gives people a chance to learn about Indigenous culture. 

"There's still a lot of ignorance out there, unfortunately. And I try and use my channel as a tool to educate these people," said @kookingwithakoori.

"One of the comments I got was 'you left the most important ingredient out - petrol'. Really? That's the best you got, you're gonna come to my channel and troll me that's the best you got, petrol, really?"

@balaclint also spoke to NITV News and said NAIDOC Week on TikTok will serve as an inspiration. 

"It's a great way to show everyone else that anyone can be anything and that your dreams are never too big for one person." said @balaclint.

@balaclint has grown not only in followers (he's at 325,000 after a couple of years on the platform), but also in confidence. 

"I think that I have grown so much from the first time that I've made my first video. But every day I just make my videos, and I just stay confident and see what other things I can do." said @balaclint.

"I started off just making videos for the fun of it. But now I'm at that level where I'm getting a lot of offers from different companies for them to represent my name, or for me to do a video just for them," said @balaclint.

"I'm just going with the flow for now. I just want to continue to make more videos for people to relate to."

The secret to making good TikToks

To be successful on the platform, the consensus is you have to be yourself. 

"You are going to cop the negative side of stuff. Just don't listen to them. Don't feed the trolls, and just be genuine. People love genuine stuff. I think that's one of the reasons why my channel has kind of blown up," said @kookingwithakoori.

"I don't have the little individual sauces like you see them on the cooking shows - the little glass jars for the salt, the pepper and all that sort of stuff - I don't have that. I go to Kmart. I use plastic plates because I can't be stuffed washing up - it's easier for the kids. I've got six kids that I know of, so I'm just making stuff that I'll make for my family. It's just simple, easy stuff and I think that's what people love. It's the stuff that they cook. It doesn't look restaurant quality, but it tastes just as good." 

@balaclint agrees. 

"I just want others to be themselves. I definitely wasn't this confident when I first got TikTok. It all starts with you. If you want to be someone in the future that's strong and independent and just not you right now, it's always important to take that first step and just go with the flow," said @balaclint. 

"That's where it all starts. Just start with being you first."

How TikTok is showcasing our talent 

Birru Gubba and Ugar Island woman Emily Nicol has been working with TikTok to create the #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe music and performance program for NAIDOC Week, featuring First Nations artists live at 8pm AEDT every night on the @tiktok_australia account.

The live streams will feature emerging and well-known Indigenous artists, inviting users to experience and share in the cultural celebration.

The lineup includes Baker Boy, J-MILLA, Kee' Ahn, Sycco and Mitch Tambo. 

When you're creating a video on TikTok, you can choose from sounds to edit with your footage. Ms Nicol has also curated a Sounds playlist featuring the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. 

The playlist includes The Kid LAROI, The Merindas, Becca Hatch, Yothu Yindi, Trials, Miiesha, Dan Sultan, Dallas Woods, Jessica Mauboy, Thelma Plum, Aodhan, Electric Fields, Kaiit, Warumpi Band, Pakernu, JK-47, Leah Flanagan, Zeek Power, A.B.Original, Tasman Keith, Shakaya, Ziggy Ramo, Briggs, The Medics, Mau Power, Christine Anu, Black Rock Band and Gurrumul. 

Lee Hunter is the General Manager of TikTok Australia and New Zealand and said TikTok is passionate about celebrating Indigenous culture, both on and off the platform. 

"I'm really excited about diving into our NAIDOC program to watch talented First Nations creators showcase their creativity, listen to music and stories, and learn more about the experience of being Indigenous in Australia," said Mr Hunter. 

Twenty-three-year-old Balanggarra and Yolngu designer Molly Hunt worked with TikTok to create the graphics and artwork for NAIDOC Week.

Heading into the week, @kookingwithakoori has a final piece of advice. 

"The way to make Johnny cakes is flour, salt and water. Don't let anyone else say any different, it's flour, salt and water.

"Not all of us have an open fire in the backyard. I live in the middle of Penrith, I rent. So I can't have a raging fire in the backyard just to make Johnny Cakes. I have to use a hot plate, it's just as good. They may not be traditional bush style Johnny cakes, but they are Western Sydney Johnny cakes - that's how they are done," said @kookingwithakoori.

"Now, when is NITV gonna give me my own cooking show?"

'We're still here': Indigenous art lights up the nation’s capital
Indigenous artworks from more than a dozen art centres are lighting up the National Carillon in Canberra this NAIDOC Week.