Hollywood arrived in Redfern in the middle of February, when US TV host Conan O’Brien came to the NCIE to interview Australian rapper, actor, writer, & activist Briggs, and learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Conan was in town to film an episode of his Netflix documentary Conan Without Borders. While in Sydney he spent time at Bondi Beach, visited a nature sanctuary & learned to play AFL with the Sydney Swans.

Briggs, Conan, his production team, and members of the NCIE team, began the visit by taking part in a smoking ceremony lead by Uncle Graham King.

Conan’s team live-streamed the ceremony to fans all around the world direct from the fire pit at the NCIE in Redfern.

Uncle Graham took the opportunity to explain the significance of the ceremony, and asked those around the fire to share a personal story of gratitude, before gum leaves were placed on the fire to complete the ceremony.

Uncle Graham, Grant, Conan, Tylah and Briggs placing green gum leaves during the ceremony

Following the smoking ceremony Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Flint Facilitator Abigail David took Conan to the IDX offices and used the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia to explain the different nations & languages across Australia.

“It was great meeting Conan! I hope he has a little bit more of an understanding and knowledge about the beauty and diversity in Indigenous cultures. I hope he can take this knowledge home and share with others how amazing our culture is,” said Abigail.

IDX Flint Facilitator Abigail David shows Conan O’Brien the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia.

Conan and Briggs then got down to the business  of filming the interview, exploring Briggs’ work as a rapper, writer, actor, and activist,  as well as current issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Before #TeamCoco left our site,  NCIE CEO Clare McHugh presented Conan with a Jarin Street Aboriginal print Yoga Mat, and a pair of Aboriginal flag Budgy Smugglers, both of which are sold at the NCIE Fitness Centre cafe as part of our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

“It was very exciting to have Briggs, Conan and his team on site at the NCIE. Conan’s team were not only respectful and engaged and fun to deal with but also very much into learning and understanding everything here today,” said Clare.

“We were thrilled to help provide a cultural ceremony and really appreciated Conan’s respect and interest in learning about our mobs”.

Uncle Graham King, Grant Cameron, Aunty Delilah MacGillivray, Abigail David, Clare McHugh, Conan O’Brien, Tylah Mundine, Briggs, Tom Cramond and Steven Davis  after the smoking ceremony at NCIE.

Check out NCIE’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see more photos from the day.

Conan Without Borders: Australia is due out on Netflix in April.