On Sunday ABC screens Wrong Kind Of Black a docudrama on 1970s Indigenous DJ Monty Pryor, nicknamed, “The Black Superman” and his brother Paul, caught up in a world of cops, crocs and blood-spattered dance floors.
From the cops and the crocs of 1960s Palm Island to blood-spattered dance floors in 1970s Melbourne nightclubs, the story of afro bearing, flare wearing DJ Monty Pryor (Clarence Ryan) and his brother Paul (Aaron McGrath), is based on their real life experiences and brings a rare perspective to a tumultuous era in Australia’s history that resonates just as strongly today.
Monty, a Birra Gubba and Kunggandji man from Townsville, is working as a DJ in Melbourne at the height of the ‘70s disco inferno. Nicknamed ‘The Black Superman’, Monty spins tunes at the Albion Charles hotel, where he and his younger brother Paul rub shoulders with a motley crew of Russian mobsters and Aussie yobbos alike.
One night, a game of Russian roulette escalates into an accidental shooting and brings Monty face-to-face with an angry police officer. The all-too-familiar scenario transports Monty back to his childhood on Palm Island, where he and Paul learn for the first time that their culture is not tolerated and that the price of its preservation could be deadly. When a traditional celebration is stormed by armed police, Monty runs for cover into croc-infested water, praying to old Gods and new.
It’s safer to face the crocs than risk the cops – and the lesson still holds true more than a decade later.
Director: Catriona McKenzie; Executive Producer: Emma Fitzsimons; Producers: Andrea Denholm Kelly West, Melanie Brunt; ABC Executive Producers: Rick Kalowski, Andrew Gregory.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this program contains images and voices of people who have died.
9.25pm Sunday on ABC (4 x shorts will be available on iview from Sunday morning).