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Rize Up - An interview about ethical consumerism with Nattali Rize

Rize Up - An interview about ethical consumerism with Nattali Rize
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nattali Rize made a name for herself as the front woman of Melbourne-based urban roots band, Blue King Brown. Now days, ask her where she comes from and she’ll tell you “All Directions”. With no fixed address, Nattali is now based where the music takes her, whether it be Jamaica, Australia, or many places in between. Now making music under her own name, Nattali is currently on tour with her band in the United States.

Nattali's music goes hand in hand with her activism, tackling topics like consumer culture and mental slavery within her lyrics. One underlying message is that we can all "Rize Up" and make a change if we keep our eyes open and realise our power.

"But this system tries to dumb you down and keep you from it, while the awakening is coming an they’ll never stop it. With all this Truth in our lives we’ve got new potential, Know you're more powerful and potent than they’d ever tell you."

- Rebel Frequency

Bec chatted to Nattali about being a conscious consumer, how more musicians and events organisers should make a move towards using Fairtrade merch, and what artists she is listening to right now.

Nattali Rize - Warriors [Official Video]


What does being an ethical consumer look like to you?

Being an ethical consumer is someone who has taken the time to fully understand and embrace the decision to be conscious about what they support with the power of their dollar. What kind of world they vote for everytime they buy something. What signals they send to producers, corporations and companies when they pick up one product over another.

There is a very real cause and effect in choosing to support the rights of workers and farmers in other parts of the world, that feeling of responsibility in the spirit of one family, to choose certified fairtrade products wherever possible. Just the energy of acknowledging that sends out a positive vibration into the atmosphere.

However it’s not always easy nor accessible, that’s a reality for a lot of people, so we look to online outlets that can help to balance the market place and lead it up the ethical pathway.

  Do you remember when and how you first became aware of slave labour and other unethical practices in the fashion industry?

I can’t say I remember exactly. Growing up I became aware of a lot of injustices and fundamental parts of the system that made no sense to me, in that the sheer disparity and greed over collective prosperity confused me as a younger person, it then made me angry, and so I educated myself more on it.

My environment taught me to steer away from those brands that were known to have been perpetrators of slave systems in their production line but also in their mentality. The more we open our eye (third) the more we see slavery is a culture that permeates across an enormous portion of our daily ‘western’, ‘civilised’ lives through media, advertising, propaganda, lies about the foods we eat, what we should eat, how we should think, act, dress, and be! It’s in the language used to control and subdue humanity and our collective consciousness which is Rizing despite this continuation of colonialism through capitalism and all forms of slavery.

  You travel a lot for your music, do you ever find it difficult to consume ethically while you're on tour?

To be honest, I try to ‘consume’ as little as possible these days. But YES it is not as easy as I’d like to find ethical products in most places I have travelled through.

That is why I feel it is so important the work that Etiko are doing in committing so fiercely to ethical practices, and really being a light in a world where injustice and inequality in the workplace or factory is standard business models.

  "I’d love to see more artists, festivals and events, especially in Australia, using Etiko garments for merchandise."

I’d love to see the global online movement grow behind brands like Etiko who offer such a solid range of products, and I’d love to see more artists, festivals and events, especially in Australia, using Etiko garments for merchandise. We must have a mindset of supporting and strengthening each other and those who do actually stand up and make a difference in this world, which is why Etiko have my full support.

  Did a particular moment, person or experience inspire you to pursue a creative career?

Creativity is a seed that exists in all of us long before our birth. The actual earthly moment that happened was when I was 13yrs old, I noticed, with new eyes, the guitar that had been sitting in our living room my whole life. I asked my mum (whose guitar it was) to show me how to play something. She showed me the 12 bar blues and from that very moment I knew that I was going to be a guitarist, a musician, an artist.

  How would you describe your personal style? Does your everyday style differ at all from what you wear onstage?

I guess my style doesn’t differ too greatly from stage to street. I’d say me and my band are more outwardly militant onstage and perhaps more inwardly militant off [laughs].

But I mix it up also, sometimes I wear a black dress with Etiko high top sneakers, other times I'm in boots, but always one or the other. So I travel with 2 different colour pairs of Etiko sneakers for different outfits.

  Do you have any style icons or places/people you look to for inspiration?

There is not one person in particular, I guess I'm always looking around at different people and places for inspiration, or I might see something that just resonates with me and attempt to put my personal slant on it. However it is plain to see that conscious culture, geometry, ancient symbols, as well as Reggae and Rastafari culture has most definitely been a big inspiration for me in style as well as music!

  What are 5 artists you're listening to right now?

Samory I - Black Gold album. Get this album it’s so dope!

Damian Marley - Stony Hill album

Citizen Cope

Jah 9 - 9 the album

Raging Fyah

  What is your favourite Etiko product?

High top sneakers in red or all black :)

  What tips would you give to individuals who want to start being more ethical consumers?

We won't change the world if we don't change ourselves, and that means (changing) our individual patterns and habits to align with our beliefs and what we say. Walk our talk, and start breaking the old cycles of unnecessary exploitation.

It’s not always easy, but it’s also not very hard to start putting People over Profits, to Support Each other, Rize Together.

Unity Is Strength and Collaboration is the foundation of the Future. Think beyond this paradigm and start co-creating the kind of world you really want to exist and live in. It’s all in you, and your daily choices to Be the new reality.

We’re with You!

  Photo credit: onerebelcreative

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