“This flag comes down today,” Bree Newsome screamed from the top of the flagpole like a modern day superhero. We’re obsessed.
We didn’t know the fearless awesomeness that is Bree Newsome before Saturday June 27. She’s the young Black woman who scaled the flagpole in front of South Carolina’s State House to remove that pesky and racist Confederate flag.
Those who know Bree say that it’s right within Bree’s character to be this bold and self-sufficient. One of Bree’s former classmates, Amy Adler said, “This is what she was destined to do. She literally took [the flag] into her own hands, which is very much what she does. She has a very on-the-ground, hands-on approach to change. I wish more people had her energy.”
Bree ignored the officers shouring up to her and unhooked the flag from 30 ft. above. She was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor that carries a fine up to $5,000 or an imprisonment term of up to three years or both. James Ian Tyson, a 30-year-old from Charlotte, was also charged in the incident.
But not to worry, Bree’s gained some undying support (us included). A crowdfunding campaign had well over $65,000 by the time the weekend was over. Unfortunately, the flag was put back…by a Black employee. The irony there is almost poetic.
Here’s everything we’ve learned about Bree and we can’t wait to learn more!
1. She’s 30-years-old
So that makes her a grown woman and according to Beyonce (who she might be a fan of), she can do “whatever she wants.” And she did.
2. She’s an activist
It was the disenfranchisement of Black voters and George Zimmerman’s acquittal that sparked her into action. Bree was arrested last year during a sit-in at the North Carolina State Capitol, where she spoke out against the state’s recent attack on voting rights. Now, she’s working as a youth organizer in North Carolina, serving in the capacity of Western Field Organizer for the youth-led organization Ignite NC.
3. She’s a filmmaker
When she was in high school, Bree created an animated short, The Three Princes Of Idea, that earned her a $40,000 scholarship from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Her work was described as a combination of intellectual horsepower and creative range. While attending NYU, she wrote and directed a hilarious PSA caled Your Ballot, Your Voice and it went on to win the grand prize in the PSA competition sponsored by Tisch and MTV. Her short film, Wake won many film festival awards and it recently debuted on AspireTV.
4. She’s a musician
Bree wrote her first song at seven-years-old, which is when she started piano lessons. She was writing music for her middle and high school bands even before she had lessons in composing. She was an avid singer and she performed in the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.
Bree has a website with a “lovesong to freedom fighters” called “Stay Strong.” She likes to blend hip-hop with southern R&B and soul. She’s influenced by artists like Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone, Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder.
She’s currently the front-woman for the Charlotte-based funk band, Powerhouse.
5. She’s educated
Bree graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she received a BFA in Film & TV.
6. She’s a southern woman
Born and raised in the south, Bree has deep roots in the Carolinas. She love lives in Charlotte, NC.
7. Her pedigree is impressive
Newsome’s father, Clarence G. Newsome, is a former dean at Howard University, trustee of Duke University and now president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
8. When she wants things done, she does them herself
Ahead of taking the flag down, Bree wrote the following in an email:
“We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer. We can’t continue like this another day…It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”
Are you obsessed like we are? Check out these awesome Bree fan art cartoons!