Aboriginal women have a message for South African comedian Trevor Noah — we’ve got inner and outer beauty in spades.
Noah, best known for hosting the satirical American news program The Daily Show on US pay TV channel Comedy Central, is facing boycotts and protests when he touches down in Australia next month for a national stand-up comedy tour, End of Days.
Noah has drawn the ire of women and men after a clip from his 2013 stand up special, It’s My Culture, emerged on Twitter showing him making derogatory comments about the appearance of Aboriginal women.
Businesswoman turned fashion entrepreneur Amanda Healy, a Koori woman who is based in Perth, says she’s disappointed by Noah’s comments.
She uses only Indigenous models on the runway for her fashion resort label Kirrikin, including top models Samantha Harris and Hannah Collard.
Ms Healy says there is no shortage of beautiful Indigenous women to walk the runway.
“In this day and age that we continue to fight that battle and that somebody would continue to use that language and those sorts of stories is so disappointing,” she said.
“It is offensive, but more than that it’s making me think, ‘What the hell?’ And where does this all finish. Isn’t it time?
“I shake my head because to me it’s getting beyond words. He’s not the only one who does it. Is that how he talks about his mother. Is this how he thinks about his mother or his sisters? It’s a pretty cheap way to get laughs I think.”
Ms Healy said she was spoilt for choice when it came to models to represent her brand.
But she said beauty wasn’t just external.
“To me, most of the Aboriginal women I work with who are very much like me, older women who have been around the traps, we’re not skinny and gorgeous anymore,” she said.
“But I’ll tell you what, that’s what true beauty is. You have the physical beauty and you have the internal beauty of our women to. And we’ve got it in spades I can tell you.”
Although Noah has since backtracked on his comments, he has come under fire for not saying sorry.
In the 2013 clip he said: “All women of every race can be beautiful. And I know some of you are sitting there now going, ‘Oh Trevor, yeah, but I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine’.
“Yeah, but you know what you say? You say ‘yet’, that’s what you say; ‘yet’. Because you haven’t seen all of them, right?
“Plus, it’s not always about looks, maybe Aborigine women do special things, maybe they’ll just like, jump on top of you.”
The video has now been removed from YouTube.
Aboriginal writer and actor Nakkiah Lui was among those who responded to Noah’s comments.
“I’m beautiful because I’m Aboriginal,” she tweeted. “I’m strong because I’m Aboriginal. I’m Loved because I’m Aboriginal. I’m smart because I’m Aboriginal.
“I am surrounded by Beautiful Aboriginal women who aren’t punchlines, they’re warrior goddesses.”
Former Indigenous NRL star Joe Williams also condemned the stand-up comments on Twitter calling them “unacceptable” and “encouraging racial abuse”.
Marielle Harvey Hanrahan, whose Perth Fashion Festival last year introduced an Aboriginal runway show, said Noah’s comments were “appalling and unacceptable”.