As Black folks, we are constantly given sobering reminders that we can’t actually depend on a national organization designed (in theory) to serve and protect us when that very organization is founded on white supremacy and is consistently terrorizing us to this very day. Nah, we just have to protect our damn selves.
Showtime’s VICE will explore exactly that in its upcoming new season.
In case you haven’t tuned in yet, VICE is a docuseries where “investigative journalists deep dive into global stories and issues mainstream media isn’t talking about with raw, immersive, adrenaline-filled reporting from around the globe.” Returning for its second season this weekend, VICE will kick off by featuring the largest Black militia group in the country, the NFAC (Not Fucking Around Coalition).
In an exclusive clip sent to The Root, Emmy-winning correspondent Alzo Slade explores the rise of Black gun ownership in America and decides to do some on-the-ground investigative reporting. Specifically, he visits and talks with Grand Master Jay (born John Fitzgerald Johnson), the Commander of the NFAC.
“They’ve been socialized to think that when they see a Black man with a weapon then it instantly must be negative, but when they see a white person with a weapon, they must be doing something patriotic,” Grand Master Jay explains in the clip. “If all you see is Black men with guns, then I’m not the one with the visual problem...you are.”
“The defense of the Black race does not mean attacking someone, it means just that—defending against attacks,” Jay adds. “It’s not the NFAC that has a record of violence, it is the long historical record of violence being exacted against Black people.”
“There have been several stories about gun rights in America and even Black people owning guns, but the civil unrest of 2020 invited a wave of new gun owners,” Slade exclusively told The Root in a statement. “With little faith in law enforcement protecting them and threatening rhetoric from different armed White supremacists groups, Black folks are taking it upon themselves to defend their family and community.”
“We spoke with 2nd amendment enthusiasts, everyday gun lovers, self-protection advocates, and hung out with an all-Black armed militia called the Not Fucking Around Coalition,” Slade continued. “They all shared the understanding that America still sees White people with guns as patriots and Black people with [guns] as a threat. This double standard, however, does not deter them from exercising their 2nd amendment right because they are of the mind that, if no one else will protect them, they have to protect themselves.”
If the NFAC sounds familiar to you, it’s because we’ve absolutely covered them before.
On the Fourth of July last year, the NFAC organized a mass march through Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park calling for the removal of the carving depicting Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, which is the country’s largest Confederate monument.
This past December, Jay was arrested in his home for allegedly pointing his rifle at Louisville police officers and federal officers prior to the 2020 Kentucky Derby. He was later federally charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and pleaded not guilty. In February of this year, Jay was indicted by a grand jury “on one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees and one count of brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.” He faces an enhanced penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine with up to three years of supervised release for the first count and up to seven years in prison for the other count. There’s currently a GoFundMe page requesting donations toward Jay’s legal defense fund.
Season 2 of VICE premieres Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m. ET on Showtime.