Former X Factor Australia star Jason Owen has penned an emotional Instagram post to celebrate his Indigenous heritage. The 28-year-old declared he is a ‘proud Wiradjuri man’ as he marked NAIDOC Week.
Jason said he wants to raise his daughter Lyla, three months, to be proud of her heritage as a Wiradjuri woman. NAIDOC Week is held to ‘celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.’
‘I [have] once seen or heard these words. “You don’t look Aboriginal? Are you half-caste or quarter caste?” It’s 2022 and society still struggles to define what it means to be Aboriginal,’ he wrote in the post.
‘Your Aboriginality is not represented by the colour of your skin, your culture is what is on the inside, in your heart. Your Aboriginal identity is not something that can be questioned because of the way you look.’
Jason penned the song Proud, featuring singer Christine Anu, about his struggles ‘identifying as an Aboriginal man’. Christine, 52, is of Torres Strait Islander heritage. Jason, whose mother Patricia is Indigenous, said growing up he never wanted people to know about his heritage because he was scared about being bullied.
‘As a child and young teenager I never wanted to be seen with my mum because of how much bullying there was and how Aboriginal people were spoken about,’ he explained. ‘I’m now a proud Wiradjuri man and will raise my little girl to be an educated proud Wiradjuri women.’
The Wiradjuri people are a group of Aboriginal Australians from central New South Wales. Jason first rose to fame on The X Factor Australia back in 2012.
After finishing as a runner-up on the series, Jason went on to release his debut album Life Is A Highway, featuring 10 classic covers of tracks he grew up listening to.