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3on3 Bounce, Beats, Breaks and You

Deadly Vibe Issue 82 December 2003

So you’ve heard about the 3 on 3 event but don’t quite know what it’s all about? Then this story is for you.

It all began as an ambitious endeavour to take the positive message of Australia’s premier Indigenous magazine, Deadly Vibe, into Indigenous communities around Australia. And now, five years on, the Vibe 3 on 3 is still going strong.

The Vibe 3 on 3 has just wrapped up its fifth remarkable year, and the executive producer of the event, Gavin Jones, says that the event is looking better than ever.

“Basically, the 3 on 3 is bringing the message of the magazine straight into the communities,” says Gavin. “And that message is that you can be the best you can be. Don’t get caught up in drugs and alcohol, respect your family and community, don’t forget the importance of an education, and be proud of yourself and the colour of your skin.”

Right from its inception, the 3 on 3 has undergone a continuous evolution. Through the medium of friendly basketball games, the event has been used to open a dialogue on other, hard-edged issues, such as drugs, alcohol, education and housing. Working closely with Aboriginal medical services, the event has provided these and other health organisations with a vehicle through which to promote themselves, their services and good health generally.

The very first 3 on 3 was in staged in Broome in Western Australia and since then has travelled wide and far, from Weipa on the tip of Cape York to Yirrkala on the coast of Arnhem Land, not to mention Broome, Mildura, Murray Bridge, Rockhampton, Cherbourg and Kempsey as well as a host of other special Indigenous communities around Australia.

Along this journey, the 3 on 3 had steadily transformed itself from being primarily a basketball tournament into a major, modern-day Indigenous gathering, with a focus on everything that Indigenous people enjoy: deadly tunes, athletic prowess and artistic expression.

“The format of the 3 on 3 means that to win, you don’t just have to be good at sport but you have to have talents right across writing, music, sport and art, with bonus points for getting in and having a go,” Gavin says.

The most significant development in the 3 on 3 has been the inclusion of the hip-hop elements. This revelation of combining sport with music and culture has taken the event to the next level.

In a country where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have always been left on the fringes of social acceptance and equality, it is no wonder that Indigenous people would relate closely to a culture such as hip-hop that, by its nature, is black, non-conforming, freely expressive, spirited, politically motivated and controversial.

As well as competitive basketball, the organisers who recognised the communicative powers of hip-hop began playing continuous hip-hop music for the young people to bounce to throughout the event. They also added innovative rapping, beat-boxing and break-dancing seminars guided by talented Indigenous breakers Brothablack, Monkey Mark and B-Boy 2 Ezy.

Utilising the hip-hop influence, the 3 on 3 now has greater opportunities to encourage personal development, creative expression and physical fitness.

Aboriginal and traditional themes are also integrated into contemporary music and dance. The whole concept is aimed motivating Indigenous kids to believe in themselves, learn about and respect their culture, and to realise their full potential.

Of course, none of this would be possible without a great deal of combined effort and support. The 3 on 3 is a high-energy weekend that requires a great deal of planning and passion from its organisers.

Since the event’s inception, the dedicated Vibe staff have put their heart and soul into the event’s progression, and have been the driving force that keeps the 3 on 3 bouncing from community to community.

“The Vibe team are 10 of the most committed people to Aboriginal advancement that you will ever find and they give everything they have to ensure that the 3 on 3 runs well and is a great success in every community,” Gavin says.

Thanks in part to the hard work of Gavin and his staff, in only five years the 3 on 3 has grown significantly, with more and more people becoming part of the event each year.

The 2003 season saw record numbers of participants at the Yirrkala and Mildura events.

“For the future, I’d like to see more communities benefit from the 3 on 3, as well as increased involvement from local Indigenous organisations to educate young people about the business of community,” says Gavin.

With its continued success, the evolution of the 3 on 3 rolls on. Who knows what future heights are in store for the most comprehensive vehicle of Indigenous expression and self-empowerment in the country?

So keep reading Deadly Vibe magazine for all the latest information, because the next stop for the 3 on 3 may very well be a town near you.

(story 1/12/2003 end)

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