This week, Boot Riley talks about a time he did everything right. This episode is hosted by beloved Moth StorySLAM and Mainstage host, Jon Goode.
Story by: Boots Riley
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to all together now fridays with them all I'm your hosts. For this week, John good, you may have seen me hosting the atlanta mall story, slams or hosting a mainstay around the country somewhere or exchanging coins were cast at the crowbar coin. Star, however, who know me or if we are meeting for the first time, is wonderful to be sharing this time and space with you today, our stories from screenwriter director in hop lyricist extraordinaire, the one and only boots, riley actual, he raided the boots during the occupy wall. Street movement is cati park which we were calling troy Davis park at the time. I was a huge fan and hesitant to introduce myself, because nothing is worse than finding out people. You are a fan of suck to my great delight. Boots did not. He was a
Sure I do share a conversation with, and I am so glad that you too will now be in some way in conversation with him also view his story. Boot told this story at a main state in san francisco, where the theme of the night was going for broke. Just a quick note will be here boots story, but those of you who might be sensitive this story does include discussions of gun ownership and some mentions of violence. Here's boots riley live at the mall so I have a bad called the coup and we ve been around for twentysomething years through a ladder technology in general asian type changes and the
technology changes one that has really changed our musical at these days, you can have a studio on your laptop and just be record in any way your car, in the alley wherever but back in when we started out in the early nineties you have to actually go to a studio and do it analogue in Studios cost a lot of money so we didn't, have a lot of money and we always did the midnight to eight shift, because no and he wanted that time, and that was the cheapest time in and we, he liked it? I liked it because we come I'll be morning time every by just be waking up and we'd have a new song, and we but to the studio. Are studio, was act, Right in this neighborhood in the tenderloin, and we would we lived in open.
And so every morning we drive across the bridge back home. One morning were driving back across the bridge. Pan the funk stress, the coups d J was driving. I was sitting in the back with some other folks had been in the studio and We realized we left our keyboard player at the studio. and so we needed to turn around and. The only place to turn around on the bay bridge. treasure. Island and Time treasure island was in full of and those like it is right. Now it was a naval base, so we. got off on treasure, island made that turn and started heading back up the hill towards the bridge.
When all of a sudden, we here was the military police, stopping us, they stopped us together, Stop this in asked us all, for our ideas are a bunch of us in the car. We all give him my ideas. They asked pan for the registration and I say from the back registrations in the glove compartment, so some by opens the glove compartment and a waterfall of bullets come down. Let me explain how those bullets got here. So this was oakland in the early. t nine is in their early nineteen nineties and although oakland was is kind of known for this media created image of mass
black black violence. What we know is that. From cdc statistics is that actually there was less black on black murder in the early ninety nine and there was in the fifties and Sixtys, and so although many people, when they thought of oakland, were scared of being scared of black people, basic. that wasn't what I was afraid of what I was afraid of. Were white supremacist lily. Explain further this situation. the late eighties and early nineties, white supremacist organizations made outward claims that they were going to take back the bay area. There was, lynching in the late eighties at the laughing bart station there, in woodstock in the early nineties napa there was a deal There were neo nazi rallies in union square. This.
was a time when people like Tom metzger, where national news and david do could get elected to office and places like ocean beach or not safe for people of color, because you'd get stab by racist, skinheads. So when the white supremacist organizations like area nations, started putting out lists of wrappers. They thought should be killed that they weren't gonna kill, but they thought they should end up dead. First when they started putting out these lists. There were wrappers, like ice cube and chuck d people who were known for their social justice, lyrics and the cool you could say we were about social justice. We were a radical communist group. We still are. We are radically communist ban with with
album titles t I kill my landlord genocide and juice white, supremacist didn't like us, and we ended up On one of those lists and its not a good feeling to know that there are crazy. People looking at a list of people that should be killed, and you are one of them. So we bought guns. We did it. We didn't. We also didn't want to get mess with by the police. So we did it all the way legal. We registered them we went to the shooting range to make You? We knew what we were doing with them and. We transported them legally when we needed to transport them with that meant carrying it in a lock box, while was unloaded in the trunk of your car.
what I didn't realize this morning before I told somebody open the wreck. The glove compartment was that we at least Bentley been to the shooting range and there was a box of bullets that were open and they came riding down like a waterfall and they seem to be going in slow motion and the cop pulls out his gun. and has it two inches from has two inch from pans head and says, Put your hands up, everybody put your hands up, which we do and what. gone two inches from her head. Pam is cry the radios in for backup, what seems like seconds four or five jeeps full of mps come and they jump out of the cars.
Say forming a semicircle holding Machine guns. So we're sitting there with their hands up and these mps become the chorus. The answer to that, Apps call so whatever he says they repeat once or twice so when he says who as the gun. They say who, as the who. And I realize that my next words could decide whether we live or die. But I know that I have to answer something. So I think very.
Carefully about the words that I will use in which order, I will say them in, as I say, in the truck. In a lot box. Unloaded. The exists, a gun. It is registered to my name, and so they say. get out of the car. Keep your hands up, it's kind of. Aren't you get out of a car with your hands up. but believe me, since I know the stakes my hand. And stay up, and I figure out how to get out of the car.
standing outside the car. Shaking with What seems like dozens of machine guns pointed at me, and dozens of mps looking for whatever action, they're, gonna, see today and the cap, the initial cop opens up the tramp. He sees the lock box says where's. The key I show other key opens up. The box still got my hands up. He sees there a gun and a clip which the cliff is what the bullets are kept in an essay with my voice shaken in, but just trying to get the sound out at sea, It's a load it. It's totally legal How do I know that
this gun is unloaded. Well, you see the clip right there. You see, it's unloaded he says how do I know there is not one in the chamber. So will you could pick it up in open it and look in the chain Says I'm not touching your weapon nowhere is going with this pick up the gun, And show me stand there and he says pick up the guy. And then his course of in peace, a beggar
says again pick up the gun and they say pick up the guy pam. You don't break up the guy. I say I'm not taken up the gun and then he says again pick up the gun pick up the bun, and I noticed one of the mp's has tears coming out of his eyes, while he's yelling for me to pick up the gun, and then that makes tears come out of my eyes cuz. This is it
And after a couple more times of him saying pick up the gun, I said just take me to jail. Take me to jail, I'm not touching the gun, I'm not touching. The gun. Take me to jail and I see a look. Maybe it's defeat or something. Maybe it's just contempt in his eyes, as he says, get in the car. So I get back in the car and he goes over and conferences with the other mps and comes back hands as our licences and says: look you all have traffic warrants, so we could be taking you to jail but as occur, chrissy see we're gonna, let you go. because this has just been amiss.
Understanding a bad situation here, I don't really want you, because this we need at us anymore and After the guns are not pointed out us anymore and every we're we're about to take off, I ask him: why did you stop? of their terrorist. You could be terrorists, we don't know what's going on, so we have to stop in check and I say What's going on so we have to stop good check and I said well if we were some, good old boys in a four x, four pickup truck with a gun mounted on the back of our on the back of our windshield. I don't think you were to stop this he's. I know about that. We take off pull up towards the hill and leave their with,
they are so I have to cross that bridge, and I see the sign this s treasure island exit bridge, and I see the sign that says treasure. Island exit. And it reminds me of the time. Let me doing everything I was supposed to could have got me killed. Thank you, that was right and boots. Riley is an activist in the co founder of the critically acclaimed in overtly political, hip, hop group from his story. The coup boots is also the writer and director of the award winning movie. Sorry to bother you boots is also the writer and director of the award winning movie. Sorry to bother. You I myself, a nineteen year old african american man, when's high in college. I found myself a nineteen
definitely white college compared to the what kind of my life had been At a nine year old, predominantly white college compared to the what my life had been up to that moment, it was certainly different, certainly He has if you'd like to come to a party with me, it would be what was known at the school. Weekend. I asked if you'd like to come to a party with me. It would be what was known at the school as a black party, because black people would be partying and without hesitation. He said yes, so we went to the party tonight.
People. There was a warm environment, and I mean that literally it was, it was hot in their, the poles were sweating and we hope we had a ball man dance. The night we left exhausted and began walking back to our dorm room chain was about fifteen yards ahead. I was walking slowly with my head down my feet. Heard I mean house music will do that to you, then I heard a voice say: hey I need to see your idea. It was a campus security go in. It was not uncommon. As an african american student, we stopped at all types of ours and asked to produce your papers. it was so calm and Ethel, nothing of it our reach to retrieve my. I
And just then, she came walking back with his idea in his hand, he said here is my idea and security guards dad. I don't need to see your ip and chain replied, we're both walking down this sad so either you d to see both of our ideas or you don't need to see anyone's idea. I e my idea back into my pocket. The security garlic did us both and simply walked away in these turbulent times. People wonder what ally ship looks like. I tell them, you'll know what, when you feel when you hear it and when you see for me that night, it looked like shit,
To make big changes in our society or governments we have to start by changing its individual is important to practice, stepping outside of ourselves and seeing the world from someone else's point of view. In some cases, you'll never be able to understand the way someone else walks through the world, but it is important to draw here's some promise to get you started. Can you think of a time when a thorazine failed you? Maybe it was a teacher, a doctor or a boss who didn't listen? How did it deal with someone who was meant to help you did it? You heard him boots story. The assumptions we make about others can have truly dangerous consequences. What assumptions have you made about others that were proven false? What were the consequence?
What false assumptions have been made about you? How did it make you feel? That's it for this week hope you're staying safe inside and healthy. Now that you have watched all of netflix and listen to, All of spot of one had, already from your life. Would freeze stories are white turn frames into family. I dont next time from all of us here at the mouth of a story worthy John good, isn't emmi nominated writer raised enrichment,
genuine and currently residing in inland said. Georgia, John, is the regular hosts of the mass of Lena story slam and has a number one best- selling collection of poems in short stories entitled conduit that you can find on amazon com pod catch production by Julia purcell, withheld from my sister tippy good. The moth podcast is presented by pierre wrecks, the public radio exchange, helping big public radio more public, a pr rex, dot org
Transcript generated on 2022-06-17.