noname’s new video is a b-movie metaphor

December 5, 2018
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Noname is closing out her triumphant year in style. One of our favorite Chicago MCs who was also among the highlights at October’s AFROPUNK Carnival of Consciousness in Atlanta, the young woman born Fatimah Nyeema Warner just dropped a video for “Blaxploitation,” a heady banger from album-of-the-year contender, Room 25.  And though Noname is nowhere to be found in the Alex Lill-directed clip, her gaze — playful, thoughtful, brilliant — saturates this short film.

The star of the video is a young Black child, wrecking playful havoc on a miniature set of a city that, based on the elevated train, sure seems like Noname’s hometown. As a Phoelix-produced, hard-funk bassline echoes the soundtracks of the movies that give “Blaxploitation” its title, Noname unfurls two verses which reinforce the notion that the personal is political.

“Write a think-piece in a rap song, the new age covenant,” is how the poet-lyricist frames it, self-indicting herself and the gentrifying hypocrite classes in one fell swoop. In the video, the innocent Black boy wanders the city, playing the lead part in a monster b-movie America makes over and over again, as cutaways to white people in apartments and pundits on TV register the unfounded terror, yet ending in innocence, not tragedy. Nevertheless, it’s an apt metaphor, and an incredible visual accompaniment to a great song.