Rapper Noname’s Brief But Spectacular take on community learning and solidarity

Noname is a rapper and founder of the Noname Book Club, which encourages readers to support local bookstores and books by authors of color. The club now has 14 chapters across the United States. Here's her Brief But Spectacular take on community learning and solidarity.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    Noname is a rapper and founder of the Noname Book Club, which encourages readers to support local bookstores and books by authors of color. The club now has 14 chapters across the U.S.

    Tonight, Noname offers her Brief But Spectacular take on community learning and solidarity.

  • Noname, Founder, Noname Book Club:

    Being someone who was raised by entrepreneurs, my mother owned her own bookstore and my grandparents owned their own landscaping company, I still was going off the mentality that I was raised behind.

    And, yes, I definitely tweeted that capitalism was not evil, that it was a tool. And a lot of people pushed back and were very expressive about how wrong they felt that I was.

    So, I just started doing my own research and realized there is a whole structure in place that keeps people poor and keeps people isolated and marginalized, no matter how hard they try.

    I started going through the rabbit hole of reading and learning more about systems that keep people oppressed. I started reading "Wretched of the Earth" by Frantz Fanon. Soon after, I found George Jackson's "Blood in My Eye." He spoke a lot about the need for social revolution.

    I really wanted to sort of form a community, like a — like, to have a book club. I selfishly thought there might be people who in the meeting could help me understand the material that I was struggling to get by myself.

    The book club is basically just a space where we can read books that are written predominantly by Black folks and that usually have some sort of political theme.

    Right now, we have about 14 chapters. I felt it was really important to not just have chapters all across the country on the outside, but also to have local chapters inside of prisons and jails, because I think information should be free and accessible to everybody.

    One thing that the state is really good at is making us feel alone in our experiences. It's just important to be in solidarity with our community, even the people, unfortunately, who we don't get to see.

    We receive letters from our members on the inside all the time. Just yesterday, my friend e-mailed me a picture of one of our members and, like, his family. He had just finished "The Nation on No Map," and he was just going on about how much he loved it and how excited he is to be in the program.

    Those types of connections are really cool to me, because that's also one of my favorite books. Having more spaces where we can have more challenging and radical conversations about the world that we live in and how we contribute to violence and destruction.

    I want to be in community with folks who are learning about not only how those structures came to be, but how to dismantle them.

    I'm Noname, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on community learning and solidarity.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    And you can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.

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