No person does intimidating like Hawk Newsome.
Probably the most influential Black Lives Matter chief in New York, Newsome stands 6-foot-6 and has no downside getting inches out of your face, staring down from behind darkish shades and blowing smoke from a cigar.
On a latest late afternoon within the South Bronx, the 43-year-old activist agreed to satisfy a Submit reporter simply after giving a heated interview to Fox Information that went viral. In it he mentioned that if BLM protesters didn’t get what they wished, “They are going to burn down the system.”
“We don’t need white folks right here,” Newsome informed The Submit, nonetheless fired up as he walked close to Yankee Stadium, gesturing on the majestic pre-war residences on the Grand Concourse and a superb sundown.
“We don’t need white folks coming in and elevating our rents. You’ll be able to’t be a supporter of black folks in the event you come gentrify their neighborhoods. Keep the f–okay out of our communities.”
Newsome, whose actual first identify is Walter, will not be as robust as he’d like folks to suppose.
Protester Hawk Newsome (with megaphone) confronts police exterior the 43 Precinct within the Bronx.Matthew McDermott
He’s well-known and well-liked within the neighborhood, the place he grew up and nonetheless lives — in his childhood condo, which he shares together with his youthful sister, Chivona, 35, and their mom, Doris. Newsome’s father, Walter Sr., died 5 years in the past.
As he walks, he fist bumps previous associates, hugs others with an nearly teddy-bear embrace, joking and exhibiting a softer facet. All of them name him Walt.
“My dad was the identical method,” Newsome mentioned. “He’d be out enjoying dominoes and knew everyone. He was just like the mayor. He even knew what each child was studying in school and once they began a brand new guide.”
He talked candidly to The Submit as he ducked right into a Caribbean restaurant for a well being shake. He revealed that his mom Doris was a Black Panther member who met his dad at a civil rights rally in 1969, however she hardly ever talked about her activism.
His imaginative and prescient for the Bronx is equally militant — a black and brown sovereign nation with its personal self-policing power.
“Black and brown guys that be a part of the [NYPD]?” he mentioned. “You’ll be able to’t belief ‘em. They go blue as quickly as they develop into cops and the blue line is dominated by white males. We don’t need them right here telling our folks what to do.”
He doesn’t apologize for opinions that President Trump referred to as in a tweet “Treason, Sedition, Riot” after listening to him on Fox Information Wednesday. Newsome embraces the motion’s harmful facet, saying it was hypocritical for his opponents to name him out for endorsing violence when the U.S. makes use of “blood and bullets” to get what it needs domestically and abroad.
“I used to be standing in entrance of Wells Fargo when it was burning in Minneapolis,” he mentioned. “It was very liberating. F–okay that. Burn man. They solely pay attention once we destroy issues. America doesn’t care about folks; they care about property.”
Newsome isn’t affiliated with BLM International Community, thought-about the official group behind the Black Lives Issues motion. On Thursday, its managing director informed the AP that he wasn’t a part of the community, which has 16 chapters, together with one in New York that doesn’t seem like working.
What’s clear is that nobody within the motion on this metropolis has extra affect than Newsome.
However his journey to activist chief was rocky.
He says he practically succumbed to temptations of the hood as a young person. He dropped out of highschool earlier than getting his GED, and has spoken publicly about his battle with alcoholism, anger points and being responsible of home violence.
He mentioned he’s been sober for 4 and half years.
Newsome ultimately made it by way of Concordia School in Bronxville, then received a level from Touro Legislation Faculty on Lengthy Island. He discovered work as a paralegal for the Bronx County DA’s workplace and later as a venture supervisor for the Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker regulation agency in Manhattan.
He modified his identify to “Hawk” in 2016, he mentioned, as a result of he’s had a lifelong fascination with the raptors. He mentioned historical Egyptians believed the birds of prey have been protectors from above.
Newsome’s amongst a variety of younger black activists in New York and across the nation who got here of age watching the circumstances of Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin play out and have discovered their voices within the aftermath of the dying of George Floyd.
Chairman of BLM Better NY Hawk Newsome speaks at a Black Lives Matter rally in Instances Sq. on June 7.Getty Photographs
He’s near his sister, who misplaced her bid for the 15th Congressional District seat within the latest major.
The distinction between Hawk the nationwide firebrand and Hawk the child from the Bronx is most obvious when he speaks to his sister about their dad and mom, calling them “Mommy and Daddy.”
Chivona Newsome co-founded BLM NY together with her brother, and the 2 have run a political consulting enterprise for 10 years geared toward supporting the black and brown group within the Bronx. He has two youngsters with a former accomplice.
Each Newsomes say they don’t seem to be followers of both the Republicans or the Democrats and hope that Black Lives Matter’s passionate base will translate into the type of political capital that can problem each events.
“Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi sporting West African kente cloths and taking the knee? It’s insulting,” Hawk Newsome mentioned.
“And now the Republicans care about police reform? However what’s going to vary? None of them are going to vary however we’re. We constructing our personal group and we’re going to develop sturdy. Simply watch.”
A Wells Fargo financial institution ablaze after the dying of George Floyd in Minneapolis.EPA