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Chicago Rapper Noname Talks Black Liberation, Book Club, and Capitalism

BY: DEZIMEY KUM

Chicago-based rapper Noname spoke to members of the AU community via Zoom webinar on Monday, Sept. 21, as part of the Black Lives Matter series hosted by the Student Union Board, Kennedy Political Union, and Women's Initiative.

Born Fatimah Nyeema Warner, Noname has gained celebrity status through her unique rap style and raising awareness on Black liberation. She is constantly using her platform to highlight the dual oppressions of Black women as well as advocating for anti-capitalism. 

"Black women are constantly doing the most we can possibly do for everybody,"  Noname said during the virtual discussion. She touched upon the topic of Black women showing up to support  Black men for the Black Lives Matter movement despite being left out of the conversation and spotlight. Noname has been outspoken about the misogyny that is present in social movements, even as Black men and women are united in the fight for Black liberation.

As a Black woman who believes in social change such as dismantling systems of oppression, Noname has been pushing the agenda for radical change and unity amongst marginalized groups. She has made it her duty to create a space for people that could get them started on their journey towards independence and liberation. 

Last year, the Chicago rapper created the "Noname Book Club", which she launched to educate herself and others about the negative impacts of capitalism, whilst including literature promoting radical thought.

"I knew that I wasn't the only person who was wrong about a lot of the different systems that keep Black and other minority folks oppressed...I started the book club and wanted to make sure that it was an in-person experience because I never got to go to college. So,  it was important for me to have a community that I can learn with," Noname said.

She continued to share the process of her radicalization and previous attachment to Black capitalism, while openly confronting her gaps in her knowledge of capitalism, which eventually led her to start a book club. 

"I attribute my radicalization to Twitter. I was always under the guise that Black capitalism was a positive thing, and from there [Twitter] I realized I was wrong. So, I started reading and trying to understand where folks were coming from."

Noname Book Recommendations (join her book club here): 

  • Socialism…Seriously: A Brief Guide on Human Liberation by Danny Katch

  • Essays by Claudia Jones (not one particular book)

  • How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney

  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (one of her favorites)

  • Blood in My Eye by George Jackson


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