Before Jimmy Little passed away in April, 2012 he set up a charity to help children and the indigenous people that will continue on in his name. That includes the announcement today of the Jimmy Little Grant.
Jimmy Little Foundation CEO and member of The Angels and Gangajang, Buzz Bidstrup tells Noise11.com that years ago Jimmy wanted to set up an organisation that can help raise awareness of kidney dialysis and kidney problems within the indigenous community and he did. It became the Jimmy Little Foundation.
“We worked with two organisations in particular, one called The Purple House in Alice Springs and we lobbied, sometimes gently,” Buzz said. “Jimmy would call it ‘the soft sell’. His soft sell had an edge to it. It wasn’t a nasty edge, it was a Jimmy Edge! The Jimmy Edge was ‘how can you let this thing be happening in our backyard’”.
The Foundation grew quickly in the Northern Territory. “We managed to get the foundation to a point where people came to us with ideas and with money,” he said. “We were able to finance a Renal Dialysis bus, which is now based in Alice Springs”.
However, the Foundation did hit a roadblock, so new thinking was needed. “We got to a point after a year where without millions of dollars we can’t do much more,” he said. “The Uncle Jimmy Nutrition Education Program was born out of me watching these kids walk out of a local store in Arnhem Land with Simpsons candy bars and Futurama cola. It was all branded stuff. Then this little kid walked up to Jimmy and said ‘you’re on The Wiggles’. That was the thing; all of the kids knew him from The Wiggles and the older people from his career. I said to Jimmy ‘how do you feel being the face of this’ and he said “I would be honoured’. That is how the Face-Up program started and is now being delivered in over 50 communities”.
“We work with stores to promote healthy foods. We work with schools, health services, community groups, not for profit organisations. The work goes on. It will never stop,” Buzz said.
The work of Jimmy Little received another boost today with the announcement of The Jimmy Little Grant from Tony Harlow at Warner Music. “Jimmy Little was one of Australia’s greatest artists and his loss has left behind a huge hole in both indigenous and country music,” Tony Harlow said.
“In his lifetime Jimmy’s contribution to the music of Australia and to its Aboriginal communities cannot be captured in words alone. Jimmy stood as an inspiration of what was possible and a standard to aspire towards. The people he touched, directly or indirectly, through his music and the Jimmy Little Foundation would stretch from one end of this vast land to the other,” he said.
“Jimmy has been extensively honoured by the industry and by his peers. But it is appropriate and fitting for Warner Music Australia to acknowledge the fact that Jimmy always focused on “giving back” and we are proud to collaborate with his family and foundation to provide a long standing legacy that will reflect his work and contribute to ensure that it continues,” Harlow adds.
This new collaboration, run in partnership with Association Artist Managers (AAM) will help develop Indigenous management talent.
Warner Music has also released ‘Songman’, a 3CD album featuring Jimmy’s ‘Messenger’ and ‘Life’s What You Make It’ albums and the third disc featuring a live concert recorded at the Sydney Opera House in 2001 and previously unreleased songs from the Messenger sessions.