Culture

Watch Noname and Boots Riley Talk Activism, Imperialism, and More

Noname and Boots Riley discussed art, politics, and revolution.

On Monday, Noname and Boots Riley joined Haymarket Books for a two-hour virtual discussion. The two artists, both known for their political acumen, talked reform, revolution, and capitalism. Stream the full conversation below.

Haymarket Books is an independent, radical, non-profit book publisher. Every dollar from sales supports Haymarket’s publishing efforts.

The two artists are prime candidates for such a discussion. Over the last year, Noname launched Noname’s Book Club. The group has chapters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

Riley is one of the founding members of Oakland rap group The Coup. In 1991, he and other rappers created the Mau Mau Rhythm Collective. The group promoted community-based organizations like the Women’s Economic Agenda Project, Copwatch, the International Campaign to Free Geronimo Pratt, and the Black Panther Alumni Association. The group threw “Hip-Hop Edutainment” concerts to support these organizations.

After 1994, Riley decided to focus on local activism. He formed the Young Comrades, which successfully campaigned against Oakland’s 1996 “no-cruising” ordinance which targeted Black and Brown communities in Northern California.

Four years later, artists inspired by Riley launched a series of concerts to protest California’s Proposition 21. The members believed the proposition was an attack on Oakland’s thriving car culture.

In 2018, Riley wrote and directed Sorry to Bother You. The film won an Independent Spirit award for Best First Feature. Additionally, the film earned six other nominations from other independent film organizations. The film earned $18.3 million on a $3.2 million budget.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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