Every day, millions of people take to the streets to fight for racial justice in America. After decades of inequality, the breaking point for the 2020 movement was the death of George Floyd, a black man who lost his life at-the-hands-of the police. The day of his death marked what is now known as the largest civil rights movement in history.
Noochie, a 24-year-old artist from D.C., is excited that the movement is finally accelerating. Growing up as a black man in America, he came face-to-face with racial inequality and negative encounters with the police. Being aware of everything that has already been going on, Noochie says he “already knows what time it is.”
The widespread movement is finally changing the narrative of racial injustices and police brutality in America for the better. Noochie says he can personally see this from the way in which news stations and businesses are showing support. Before this time, he never really followed certain news outlets because he “felt the narrative was against us.” But now, as the movement has caught fire, he feels “the narrative is changing right now in our favor.”
Q&A with Noochie on BLM:
How has everything that’s been going on made you feel?
“I'm excited about it because at some point you gotta change the narrative and in order for the narrative to be changed, shit has to change, something has to happen, something has to be decided. It might not be the prettiest thing in the world but something gotta happen. Shit gotta go left or shit aint gonna go right.”
What are your main thoughts surrounding the movement?
“I just feel like it's time for a shift. We got an opportunity, there's a window of opportunity right now. And I feel like people gotta be active or we will miss the opportunity. I feel like everything inside of it is negative stuff but you know they say, there’s a lot of good that can come out of bad. The reaction to it, a lot of it was initially violent but throughout the whole time, it’s been peaceful as well. A lot of people are coming together. What’s happening right now is very necessary, even though it stems from the murder of another black man by the police and just multiple murders by the police. It’s still important right now because that’s nothing new. We just reached a tipping point where something has to change.”
Have you ever had a very negative experience with the police?
“For sure. I had my house raided. I’ve been snatched out of the house, in my fucking sweatpants and tank top in the middle of October, face down in my own front yard. They broke my walls and shit in my house and didn’t even find nothing. That’s them not giving a fuck, them breaking everything, talking big shit.
I wasn’t a stranger to it when that happened but you know, it just added more fuel to the fire. It's just another example of the capable abuse of power, abuse of position.”
Are there parts of the movement that you feel like you relate to the most?
“Just being fed up. Just knowing like, alright fuck it, this is just life. Because, alright, a lot of people like to shed light on like a lot of the looting and the violence that was going on. But I just felt like that was like a necessary focus as well as the peaceful stuff that's going on. Because a lot of the time, that shit would get overlooked. People would be out here like ‘okay there’s a cause, we understand’ but until you start fucking their shit up, they start seeing we actually got some type of control over something. The whole issue of this thing is that we feel powerless in a country that’s supposed to be free and for us. But when we go out there and we have the numbers and we can just control the streets, shut the streets down, shut businesses down, force the president to bring out the fucking military at the White House, we showing them that we can do shit as we come together. So even though on the camera it may look like just violence, just shit going crazy with no purpose, that the message is mixed up, that it is not a peaceful message. The validness is the same essence. This is from two perspectives, similar to like a Martin and a Malcolm perspective. They want the same thing, but we just going about it different.”
If you had to put your thoughts, feelings, frustrations into a sentence, what would it be?
“Well I actually did a whole song on it. I got a whole verse on it. It’s called ‘Burn”. It’s me, David Banner, Cyhi the Prynce, Pastor Troy and a couple of other people. I go first on the song, we actually just released it. David Banners on the hook, it’s pretty dope. But the whole first verse is about exactly what’s going on. The whole song is about what’s going on. And it’s coming from the perspective of the people that’s fed up by this. We’re tired.
There’s a line in the song that says ‘Fuck all that marchin’, we getting armed up/I’m tryin’ to be peaceful, but they woke the monster.’ That’s probably my sentence right there.”
Why was it important for you to be a part of the “What’s Going On: Digital Benefit Concert”?
“I just feel like I am a voice that people could look to for correct information or perspective on certain situations that’s going on right now because that’s kind of like, I don't want to say my whole thing as an artist, but I’m just transparent with what’s going on in my life because that’s all I know how to talk about, that’s what I like to speak on. I can try to talk on someone else’s perspective, try to be in somebody else’s shoes but you get the best when I'm sitting there talking about stuff that I can relate to, shit that’s going on with me.”
Were you excited to be a part of the performances at the concert?
“Yeah it was dope. It’s a good platform to showcase talent in Maryland, the DMV, because what we've been missing is not talent and not people that can make it happen either. We’ve been missing outlets, we've been missing the people that can make shit happen. And the talent makes it at some point and makes this shit make sense, giving people more eyes on the shit that needs to be seen.”
What is one thing you miss about performing live for fans during quarantine?
“Performing for fans was probably my favorite part of doing music. Just getting on stage and getting that reaction from people, not knowing how they’re gonna take it. But you know, experiencing it at the same time as them. That real life interaction is so different. It’s cool to get them online too but in real life, even if it’s like 10 people I don't care, It’s just so real, it's right there. Especially when you’re talking about this real life stuff, you see how people react to your real life, hearing what you’ve been through and shit like that.”
If you could, what would you make people really focus on about what’s going on in the world?
“I always refer back to a lyric I had because that’s usually where I put the answer to these questions. Every time I perform, I do the same song first. It’s called ‘Spilling Feelings’. I say a line about not worrying about what everybody else is going on. I say ‘I seen people I was better than get on way before me/ But they ain’t make me stop, just added more to the story/ I ain’t get jealous, I just studied what they did and how to do it better/ So when i get on, I stay on and I be on forever.’ So that’s really just like pay attention above all shit. If anything other people’s success drives me to go harder not to hate or anything like that. I feel like with that type of energy you can't lose.”
Do you have any specific goals for the movement? Any specific outcomes?
"I want to see us come out of this and not be in the same position on the totem pole that we’ve been in. That’s what I feel like will come from this, it has to."
What would you say to other people who have “bigger platforms” who have not yet spoken out about what is going on?
“If they’re uneducated on the situation, I feel like they should stay quiet until they educate themselves on the situation. Because unfortunately, our people pay way more attention to celebrities and big businesses than they should, as far as like, more than what they are. If she’s famous for painting, I'm not coming for activist advice. If she’s famous for singing, I’m not about to ask her what her policies are on politics. It doesn’t correlate. But for some reason, that's what we look up to and we expect people to know everything just because they have money, because their talent got them success. It’s not like they’re successful for activism so we are expecting a lot out of people that we shouldn’t. People mistake financials for education. People in those positions, being as though they have access to a lot and do have the resources, can reach people, talk to them and educate them. I feel like those people need to be educated, especially if they’re you know black or any type of minority, they need to know how to navigate in their position, utilize their position and help us, help people that might not be in their type of position. So if you don’t know, educate yourself and if you do know, make sure you’re spreading the right message. Don’t be scared of the backlash you might get from whatever, it’s not a scary time right now, you gotta be active.”
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