Celebrities are often criticized for their involvement in political issues; but if anything, this past year has shown us that no matter who you are, your voice is important and deserves to be heard. Rapper Noname (whose real name is Fatimah Nyeema Warner) has always been open about her passion for literacy. In 2019, she started the Noname Book Club, a community dedicated to spotlighting voices of color in the book industry. Meetings occurred both online and in-person across twelve chapters during the pandemic. Now, Noname has broadened her sights to open a physical manifestation of her goals of fighting illiteracy and uplifting the Black community: the Radical Hood Library.
The library is open free to the community of Los Angeles and spotlights various genres of literature that reflect a community of black and brown voices. In a series of Tweets, Noname provides a hand-written map of the library and specifies that her favorite sections are ones called Fuck the Police and Black Capitalism Won’t Save Us. She hopes that her library will bring a wider range of books that reflect the diverse voices of Los Angeles (and the world), which are often not found in libraries throughout the US. For those curious about the library, Noname’s Twitter has been an excellent resource for answering any questions future patrons may have.
Noname’s book club does more than just bring people together. In 2020, the rapper launched the Prison Program to send the book club’s monthly picks to incarcerated people, encouraging literacy and education among those who may not have the access to these resources. It is clear Noname cares deeply about her community, and we cannot wait to see her library thrive. If you would like to donate to the Radical Hood Library’s Patreon, you can click here. And if you are interested in the list of books available at the library, you can check out their catalog here.
At Bookstr, we like to give voices to all communities. This past June, we interviewed Black authors on the importance of Juneteenth and made a list of recommended reads written by Black authors. We hope that by reading these articles, you learn something new and find a new favorite book you may not have known about.