Courtesy of Sister2Sister
The story of Aboriginal soul singers in The Sapphires hits closer to home than you might expect.
Three soul-singing sisters at the height of the civil rights era, a well-meaning but inexperienced manager who gets them their first tour, and an estranged cousin who joins the group after years of passing for White in the big city. The story may sound like one you’ve heard before, but, in The Sapphires, the manager is White, that big gig is in war-torn Vietnam, and the sisters? They’re Aboriginal Australians.
Although the Aborigines, or indigenous Australians, were believed to have Asian and European blood, a recent study proved that these first Australians were, in fact, descended from Africa. After centuries of being displaced and marginalized by British settlers, Aborigines finally gained full voting rights in 1967—two years after Black Americans saw similar gains and just around the time that the real-life Sapphires started chasing dreams of superstardom.
Writer/actor Tony Briggs, who based the movie on his mother and the group she fronted, said the fact that most African-Americans know nothing about their brothers and sisters down under is one reason the film is so important.