LOCAL: Lisa Hunt has lived in the Byron Shire for years. Photo: Supplied
LOCAL: Lisa Hunt has lived in the Byron Shire for years. Photo: Supplied

‘I have been crying for a week’

AFRICAN-American singer Lisa Hunt calls the Northern Rivers home, but her heart aches for the suffering and unrest in her original country.

The singer said she will be attending the demonstration at the Byron Bay Recreation Grounds this Saturday from 2pm.

"I'll go with my mask, with an Aboriginal flag and maybe an American flag too," she said.

Born in New York, Hunt has lived in London, Italy and Australia for decades, but visits her American family regularly.

First the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the civil unrest after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have affected her.

She said there was something ingrained in USA society that did not allow African-Americans to access to the opportunities they should.

"Even in good-hearted white folks, there is still something in them that they cannot allow us to succeed or to have power," she said

"I see so many black faces on TV in America, the police commissioner is black, a number of mayors of towns and cities are black women, so we are getting there.

"But that video (of police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd) just felt like every advance we made was undone.

"I have been crying for a week. I can't think about it without becoming overwhelmed."


Lisa Hunt in her native New York.
Lisa Hunt in her native New York.


The popular artist said she was used to be treated differently because of the colour of her skin.

"What do we have to do to not suffer indignities? I am used to little indignities. Every time I go through Customs, here, in America, Europe, every freaking time," she said.

"My husband is white and Australian, and we had to stop going through Customs together because it meant we were both going to get searched and delayed.

"He never gets stopped, I always get stopped and always have to explain myself why am I in Europe? why am I coming from Australia? What I am carrying?

"You try not to get caught up in it, but there is something about that week with Ahmaud (Aurbery, the Georgia man gunned down in May by a father and son while jogging), Amy Cooper (who called the police on an African American man in May with false harassment claims on Central Park) and then George (Floyd), on top of the pandemic, with all the black and brown people dying, that was the final straw that broke something.

"And didn't just break it for black people, it broke it on everyone."


Demonstrations announced for local towns this weekend