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    An Indigenous Elder Met With Rob Thomas Last Night To Teach Him About "Black Australia"

    The meeting comes after comments the singer made last week about "black Australians".

    by ,

    Rob Thomas met with award-winning Aboriginal photo journalist Barbara McGrady in Sydney last night to apologise for comments he made last week about drinking until he was a "black Australian."


    "What you do is, when you get on the plane on your way here, you start drinking," Thomas told his Melbourne audience.

    "And then I drink until I think I'm Australian," he says, before adding: "And I keep drinking until I think I'm a black Australian."

    The comments received a large amount of backlash from the Indigenous community and online.

    One of those was from McGrady, a proud Gamilaroi woman who took to Facebook and challenged Thomas about whether he had actually met an Aboriginal person.

    Facebook: bmcgrady1

    Thomas then reached out to McGrady and asked her to come and meet him privately and photograph his Sydney concert, which was held last night.

    Facebook: bmcgrady1

    McGrady and Thomas, along with his wife Marisol, had a private conversation in his dressing room at the back of the Sydney Opera House.

    For thirty minutes Thomas and McGrady candidly spoke about racism and the sterotypes around Inidgenous people. Thomas told McGrady that he broke down in tears after hearing about how offensive his remark was, calling it a "stupid joke".

    "I'd really like to know what prompted you to say something like that, because it was kinda odd?", asked McGrady.

    Facebook: bmcgrady1

    "I didn't know where you were coming from and all I heard was, 'black Australian and drunk', and in this country thats a terrible racist stereotype," she said.

    Thomas told McGrady that when someone pointed out that the sentiment would be the same as saying Native Americans were drunks, he realised immediately that he knew nothing of Aboriginal culture.

    Facebook: robthomas

    "I've been coming here for 20 years and I know so little about this country and the Indigenous people and I don't know if there is an excuse for that. When you reached out to me you offered an olive branch that made me start crying, that you were willing to speak with me," Thomas told McGrady.

    "I read everything you wrote and I just really wanted to speak with you. Through this whole thing over the past three days, the only people that have reached out to me were people who were Indigenous," Thomas said.

    "My life is spending my new years doing charity for the African Children's Choir and my entire family is Latino, and my son is Vietnamese, it's multicultural and it's about acceptance and love. So to see the word racist next to my name is not something that would ever be in my character."

    "As horrible as it has been for a second, I have found this connection with Indigenous people."

    McGrady has told BuzzFeed News that she was pleased with the meeting and that she truly believed Thomas was genuinely remorseful.

    Facebook: bmcgrady1

    "I was so incensed at first, [for] this guy to come over here to my country and say these things. Having had a frank talk with him, I believe he is sorry. I thanked Rob for explaining himself and I accepted his apology and I truly believe what he said was genuine and heartfelt."

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