Rebel is Rebecca Carroll's regular conversation on race and pop culture. You can hear Rebecca talk about these issues with guests on Wednesday mornings on WNYC.
In August 2014, following the fatal shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, DeRay Mckesson took to the streets in protest of police violence. He joined a cadre of young black folks, who went on to become the Black Lives Matter movement.
BLM commanded national attention, but Mckesson—with his signature blue vest and bright, charismatic energy—became the face of the movement. From guesting on "The Colbert Show" to high-profile Twitter feuds and a run for the Mayor of Baltimore, Mckesson was suddenly everywhere.
"We were in the street to focus on things people didn't want to talk about. If we hadn't shut down the streets in St Louis, people would act like we didn't exist, " Mckesson said. But, he added, once that awareness was created, leaders of the movement turned from marching in the streets to trying to change the system through policy work.
Four years later, Mckesson has written a book, "On The Other Side of Freedom," in which he reflects on his work with the movement and his hopes for its future. I spoke with him for this week's Rebel about the book, how he thinks about activism now, and Steve Bannon.
"Only a straight white man could be as devilish as he is, could espouse things that are just white supremacist... and people are still like, what an interesting perspective," Mckesson said. "If I just attacked the FBI the way [Trump] did it, they'd be at my house again."
Listen to Rebecca Carroll talk about Black Lives Matter on WNYC with DeRay Mckesson, below.
Rebecca Carroll is a cultural critic and Editor of Special Projects at WNYC, where she develops, produces and hosts a broad array of multi-platform content, including podcasts, live events and on-air broadcasts. Rebecca is also a critic at large for the Los Angeles Times, and a regular columnist at Shondaland in addition to Gothamist. She is the author of several interview-based books about race and blackness in America, including the award-winning Sugar in the Raw, and her personal essays, cultural commentary and opinion pieces have been published widely.