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Melbourne rapper Krown on overcoming racial and mental health adversity

There's still a long way to go.

When it comes to the intersection of race and the Australian music scene, there's still a long way to go before an equal playing field is set. However, recent milestones suggest we're taking steps in the right direction.

2018 was an incredible year for musicians of colour. Sampa the Great and Baker Boy recently cleaned up at the Age Music Victoria awards, recognising music that pays direct homage to multicultural stylings. You'd be struggling to find a festival lineup this year without seeing R&B singer Thando, who has had a stellar year of live performances around the country.

For South Sudanese rapper Krown, another up-and-comer in the industry, his growing clout comes hand in hand with acting as a role model in his community. Krown is conscious of the prejudices against South Sudanese groups in Australia, and uses music to shine a positive light on marginalised and misunderstood groups.

"I try to help when I can as a leader for youth and be the best I can be, sometimes the best mentoring is focusing on doing the best you can," Krown says.

"When I release new music and content I hope to inspire the community and those looking for a push in a new direction."

In his interview for the Voice for Change series, Krown recalls a time that truly exemplified the double standard inherent in Australian culture. Following a record launch event in at the Gasometer Hotel, a fight broke out between a couple of young people. Mainstream media got a hold of it and coverage ran wild, stirring questions around whether something should be done around so-called African gang violence

In Krown's eyes, there isn't only constant pressure for people of colour to do well and supposedly earn their keep, but also disproportionate judgment handed down when something goes wrong.

"I was present there and the experience was unexpected, I saw the success of what the young people can do. We have great examples of excellent leaders but the minor figures overshadow that side of what should be seen," Krown says.

"I felt hurt to see how the end of that event, which had the power, success and fruitful image of youth, turned into an escalated fight outside the venue which generated a backward progression."

Outside of racial tension, Krown says his mental health is another barrier he, and many others, face in the music industry. When that challenge rears its ugly head, however, Krown has learned how to alleviate the problem.

"I have faced many obstacles but also many lessons, pursuing music success gives me excitement all over even those times I felt low. I had to change and upgrade my perspective and define my purpose," Krown explains.

"Mental health is a central point for me, in order to move forward I minimize and eradicate anything pulling me down because I don't do what I do for me but also those that look up to me, including family.

"Obstacles are part of the process. I expect them, but don't dwell on challenges."

Check out Krown's interview for Voice For Change below:

For more info on the Voice for Change series, head to their website.