Yolngu hip-hop artist Baker Boy has taken home three awards at the 2020 National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s NIMAs were announced at a virtual ceremony which was broadcast across TV, radio and online across social media.

The event saw 2019 Young Australian of the Year, Danzal Baker a.k.a. Baker Boy, win Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Film Clip of the Year for Meditjin—meaning ‘medicine’ in Yolngu Matha.

Joining the ceremony from Bendigo, Baker Boy accepted his award and thanked his family and fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

“Woah, my heart! This is crazy. I honestly didn’t think I could win at all tonight, but I just want to say to all the nominees tonight across all of the categories; you are incredible, you are amazing, and I am so proud of you all, my brothers and sisters,” he said.

“To my family back in Darwin across Arnhem Land, I’m so proud to represent my people and so overwhelmed by the support and success I have achieved rapping in Yolngu Matha and English.”

Other winners included:

  • Archie Roach for Album of the Year for his latest release Tell Me Why
  • Miiesha for New Talent of the Year
  • KDA Crew for Community Clip of the Year with Djabuganydji Bama
  • Rrawun Maymuru and Nick Wales who took out the Indigenous Language Award for Nyapillilngu (Spirit Lady)
  • JK-47 for the triple j Unearthed National Indigenous Music Awards competition.
Archie Roach. Photo supplied by NITV.

Late Ngarrindjeri singer-songwriter and guitarist, Ruby Hunter, was inducted into the NIMAs Hall of Fame. Touching musical tributes were made by her partner Archie Roach and singer-songwriter, Emma Donovan.

Due to the closing of the Northern Territory, the event saw a last-minute change of plans. Planned host Stephen Oliver was unable to attend, so actor, director, producer and jack of all trades, Elaine Crombie stood in with NIMAs Creative Director, Ben Graetz.

The NIMAs saw the world premiere and live performance of Midnight Oil’s new track, Gadigal Land with Kaleena Briggs, Bunna Lawrie and Dan Sultan.

Live performances were also given by Thelma Plum, Miiesha, Mambali and JK-47 with live-crosses to Jessica Mauboy, Mitch Tambo, Electric Fields as well as remote communities in Yirrkala, NT and Broome, WA.

“I’m extremely proud that while 2020 might have presented its challenges, the National Indigenous Music Awards rose above the noise of this difficult time to present an amazing and uplifting night of First Nations artists,” said Creative Director and host Ben Graetz.

“The broadcast has brought the community together in a celebration of resilience and talent. Never before has it been more important to recognise our past, present and future and to come together as one.”

With the largest audience present in the awards’ history, the two-hour event was broadcast across National Indigenous Television (NITV), Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and simulcast across double j, TEABBA and the National Indigenous Radio Service. It can now be viewed on SBS On Demand.

By Rachael Knowles