Miss Burlesque Australia Statement – 17th March 2021
Miss Burlesque Australia takes place on Indigenous land and we stand in solidarity with our First Nations community and all Peoples of Colour.
Miss Burlesque Australia celebrates diversity and maintains policy against cultural appropriation. While our commitment in the past has been to not allow these acts on our stages, we realise that there is more we must be doing to support cultural competency and allow authentic representation of marginalised communities within the burlesque industry.
It has recently come to our attention that previous Miss Burlesque Australia titleholder, Scarlet Adams, created several acts that disrespected other cultures in the past (particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Asian peoples, Native American peoples, Muslim peoples and African peoples). These acts were deeply hurtful and perpetuated harmful stereotypes.
Miss Burlesque Australia wishes to apologise deeply for the hurt that this has caused to the people’s targeted in these acts and for the ongoing emotional labour of all people who are Indigenous, Bla(c)k and People of Colour when these matters are brought to light. We acknowledge that apology alone is not enough.
Key actions MBA is committed to taking are:
▪️ Revoking the Miss Burlesque titles back from Scarlet Adams.
▪️Supporting greater representation of diverse voices, so marginalised communities can be better authentically represented in the comp (by waiving application fees for the people who are Indigenous, Bla(c)k and People of Colour, waiving application fees for people with disability, waiving application fees for people who are gender non conforming, engaging diverse judges and production crew);
▪️Supporting greater representation of people who are Indigenous, Bla(c)k and People of Colour, gatekeepers within the industry (MBA currently has 2 out of 7 on the board and are committed to working to in increase this);
▪️Updating the application process to provide an opportunity to declare past transgressions (and clarity of steps taken to make things right) and a clause that verifies inappropriate submissions will result in application fees going towards cultural competency growth programs;
There is more work to do, but we are really excited about the positive future we can create together!
We are facilitating further conversations and dialogue and are open to community discussion. If you have further thoughts that you wish to raise please contact National Producers Melanie Piantoni and Alyssa Kitt: [email protected] or [email protected]
We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to our State Producers Daddy Doe and Jazida for their hard work leading up to this statement and the conversations with advisory groups of people who are Indigenous, Black and People of Colour community.