On Wednesday, June 3, Xavier Dphrepaulezz—Fantastic Negrito—sat down with RIFF editors Daniel J. Willis and Roman Gokhman to talk about the ongoing protests against police brutality in Oakland and around the world. From his studio, he told us about where he thinks the protests are going, his life growing up on the street and his emotional reaction to the video of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. A couple of hours later, as Black Lives Matters protestors were gathering in downtown Oakland, he led photographer Jane Hu around his neighborhood.
Daniel J. Willis, managing editor: How are you doing?
Fantastic Negrito: You know; better than some, not as good as others. I’m somewhere in the middle, which is fine with me. I like my chances.
Willis: We’ve talked a couple times, I don’t know if we’ve ever actually seen each other. I guess this counts as meeting these days.
Fantastic Negrito: Yeah, these days it does, and I think we’re all healthier and smarter to practice social distancing. It’s real. Coronavirus is real. COVID-19 is real. And it’s killed over 100,000 Americans. For all the patriots out there, 100,000 Americans! And you know when 9/11 happened—3,000 Americans—we went to war for 20 years. That is a perhaps more shocking to me than anything these days, that number.
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