Bree Newsome

American writer, film director and activist

Brittany Ann Byuarm "Bree" Newsome Bass (born May 13, 1985) is an American filmmaker, musician, speaker, and activist from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bree Newsome in 2015


  • We must overthrow the election & support the Trump dictatorship! -1/2 of Republicans. No, that's going too far! We must stick to disenfranchising Black people, gerrymandering districts, installing as many far right judges as possible & ignoring the will of voters! -the other 1/2
    • 1/6/2021 on Twitter
  • Amazing how quickly those thin blue line flags turned into weapons against the police, almost like the only true ideological commitment is to white supremacy & literally nothing else
    • 1/6/2021 on Twitter
  • When can we stop being surprised that white supremacists are the most violent element in America and actually address/end the violence?
    • 1/6/2021 on Twitter
  • Y'all the issue is whiteness. You can try to cut it all these different ways. But the common denominator, through-line, consistent factor & persistent conflict is whiteness. Until folks are ready to confront what whiteness is, its construct & function, we are stuck here. You can approach it from whatever angle you want & discuss religion, imperialism, capitalism, colonialism, whatever you want. You're not getting anywhere without an analysis of whiteness because whiteness is what the rest has been constructed around.
    • 1/7/2021 on Twitter
  • Ppl seem to operate under the false assumption that the majority of Americans are on the side of equality & progress at any given time in history when it's most often the opposite that's true. That's why the true story of democracy & rights in the USA is one of prolonged struggle
    • 11/11/2020 on Twitter
  • The casual nature with which they replay the murder video at all hours of the day on tv says so much about the entire society
    • 5/29/2020 on Twitter
  • If you’re trying to find your entry point to the modern movement, I encourage you to identify what issue you’re most passionate about and what talents and skills you want to bring to the fold. Before starting, see if there’s anyone already doing similar work and consider joining up with them so as not to replicate work that’s already being done. If no one is doing what you feel needs to be done, then take it on yourself. Having a community of fellow activists around you is also key to having a network of support and for building collectively.
  • I believed strongly in being an engaged citizen and had a certain level of social and political awareness, but my understanding that the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement and its accomplishments shifted during the course of the Obama administration and especially in 2013 when I witnessed the acquittal of George Zimmerman and the attack on voting rights in the state of North Carolina.

2022 interview with TruthoutEdit

  • I would really ask everyone, please ask yourself first, what is something that you really care about? What is something that is really resonating for you as an issue, as a concern in this moment. And then please look locally at who is addressing this issue? Where can you support? And ask yourself, “how can I support?”– whether it’s time, whether it is a donation, whether it is spreading awareness, whatever it is.
  • you can’t possibly move people who don’t have a collective understanding. We can’t mobilize masses of people in a direction without having a clear sense of what we are mobilizing around.
  • Capitalism has to collapse. It has to collapse. I think I would define capitalism as the catastrophe. Capitalism is the unfolding catastrophe. It’s this thing that has grabbed us all in its arms and it is just plummeting down. And it’s a question of are we able to get off before it takes us all down with it?
  • This idea that voting is the full extent of our power is actually disempowering in my view, because what it tells people is that their only time, their only avenue for participating in politics is when they vote.
  • here in North Carolina, Republicans launched a specific attack on civics education because they don’t want an educated and engaged and informed population, because those are the kinds of people that hold people accountable. Right?
  • I don’t think most people are well informed on the history of voting rights. I don’t think most people are well informed on the concept of democracy even. And that is all intentional. We have, in my view, experienced a generation of deliberate miseducation and historical revisionism around the civil rights movement specifically, around the history of voting rights, around what voting is
  • it’s collapsing one way or the other. We know that it is, the system is shutting down one way or the other. One way is that ecological disaster causes it to collapse in a chaotic way. Right? And the other way is that we shut it down in an organized fashion, which is what can happen if we mass mobilize.

Interview with Complex (2020)Edit

  • The conversation around the need to defund and abolish police is still a new concept for a lot of folks. They still don’t quite understand that concept, like how we could have a society without police forces, but everybody understands that the rent is too high. But of course that intersects with policing all these other issues—that’s what you can bring everybody to the table around.
  • A major disconnect between the people and the politics is one of the things that the housing crisis has made even clearer. There are millions of people facing eviction right now, and from the way that these politicians are acting around this issue, you would not think they saw the same thing. I think it just shows how this is something that doesn't touch them—they have health care, they have housing, you know what I mean? They’re so disconnected from the reality of how many other people are living, I don’t think that they really recognize just how wide that wealth inequality is. The politicians are generally not able to respond because they’re so disconnected from that experience.
  • The USPS situation is very serious because we need a national postal service. That’s also just an extension of the whole conservative movement’s attack on public services, period. It’s tied to the elections, but it’s also just about this whole effort to try and privatize everything. That’s why having a systemic analysis is really important—because then you understand the throughline with all of those things and how all of those things are connected.
  • We want to be careful, especially as the idea of taking down these monuments becomes more mainstream. The establishment will try to co-opt it and repackage it in a certain kind of way. We have to be careful that we don’t allow them to do that, because what they’ll do is take the monuments down and say, “Oh, we’ve solved racism. Let’s carry on.” At the same time, the monuments are significant, or else it wouldn’t be such an issue. There wouldn’t be such a showdown over whether or not to take it down. You wouldn’t have people fighting so vehemently to keep these Confederate monuments in place because they do mean something. It’s an ideological battle. There’s a reason why, particularly throughout the South, in front of every county courthouse, you have this same Confederate soldier monument. It’s supposed to send a message that even though the Confederacy lost the war, white power is still the order of the day in the South. I don’t see a scenario where all of these issues are resolved, we’re on the other side of systemic racism, and we still have monuments of the Confederacy up. Erecting the monuments was part of the colonization process all around the world—a part of the way that they indicated that we are in control and the way to constantly send the message that they’re in control. So that is a part of the process. Taking down monuments to [Christopher] Columbus and these other colonial figures is a part of the decolonization process.
  • The other thing I have pointed out is this whole narrative around peaceful protests. When it all first started out, people were peacefully protesting and the cops were tear-gassing them. The establishment was not out in front saying, “Oh, don’t tear gas the protestors.” People started looting, they started burning things down, and then the establishment was, “Oh, no, we embrace peaceful protest.” Their primary concern is always commerce and continuing with capitalism and the status quo, everyday business, and protecting property. That’s always the primary concern above anything else.
  • There’s power in naming our heroes and lifting them up. We don’t have many monuments to Black people or women—especially Black women—like, anywhere. If it weren’t significant, then it wouldn’t be an issue, right? I remember when people were like, “Oh, don’t just put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill—what is that doing? How does that address capitalism?” That’s true, but at the same time, if it didn’t have any power, then they wouldn’t have any problem with doing it. The reason that they don’t do that is because they don’t want people thinking about this revolutionary figure. Imagine if every time you saw a $20 bill, you saw Harriet Tubman and you’re reminded of slavery. You’re reminded of how we’re still struggling. There’s value in it, but I don’t want us to over-prioritize that above addressing the material conditions of our people—because, again, what the establishment will do is say, “OK, yeah, we’re going to take down a Columbus statue, put up a Harriet Tubman statue, take down this statue, put up a Frederick Douglass statue,” [and] that will become the project while people are still homeless. People are still not going to have living wages, and that [ends up] becoming the new neoliberal project.
  • They just renamed a road in Chicago after Ida B. Wells, [and] that’s powerful. You see that, and you’re like, “Well, who’s Ida B. Wells?” If you didn’t know, you’re going to learn. It’s going to be a reminder of that history.

"The Civil-Rights Movement’s Generation Gap" article in The Atlantic (2018)Edit

  • we believed in the need for a movement led by young people. After all, it was primarily black and Latino youths who were being targeted and killed by the criminal-justice system.
  • A feature of the modern movement has been an open rejection of “respectability politics”—the notion that black Americans must prove themselves “respectable” to gain equal rights. Iconic images from the 1960s show young people dressed in their finest while police dogs bite them or fire hoses knock them flat. The day before our protest in Raleigh, the reverend reminded us of this tradition and encouraged us to maintain it. But some of my colleagues raised a question: Wasn’t Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated while wearing a suit? The idea that changing our clothes would change our circumstances was troubling. Many pundits suggested that Trayvon had been killed not because of racism but because he’d been wearing a hoodie. And so wearing T‑shirts, jeans, and hoodies to protests became an intentional act of rejecting “respectability,” instead of trying to look wealthy and white.
  • Taking the long view is important. The generations need to converse. The elders who once battled to integrate schools must listen to the young people who are now battling forces that funnel them from classrooms into prisons. The younger generation needs to understand how the modern movement is built upon every black-freedom effort that preceded it.
  • In my current work as a community organizer in North Carolina, the other activists and I operate by a principle we refer to as “seven generations.” The concept, which we adapted from the Iroquois Confederacy, means we understand that the work we’re doing has gone on for seven generations and will continue for seven more. The movement lives because of the many people, places, and generations that breathe life into it.

2015 interview with Amy GoodmanEdit

  • I come from the South. Like a lot of people, especially a lot of African Americans, my ancestors came through Charleston, a slave market. And so, the Confederate flag is a symbol of, you know, folks trying to kind of hold us into the place of bondage that we had been before and our struggle the past 150 years of trying to come out of that place. And so, it was—I’m sure I was like a lot of people, sitting at home, looking at the flag flying, I mean, wished I could just take that down, you know, but had no idea if it was possible and how possible it would be. I had even contemplated just on my own just attempting to climb it, knowing full well that I wouldn’t make it up the pole, and just let them arrest me, just to make that statement. I mean, that’s how strongly I felt about it. And so, then, when I ended up connecting with other activists there in North Carolina and found out that, you know, there were people who actually did know how to plan for how we could possibly scale the pole—and, you know, there were many roles to fill in the plan, and one of course included needing someone to actually climb up. And, of course, that was a high risk of arrest, we knew. And so, after some prayer and really thinking about it, I decided to volunteer.
  • part of why it was so important to me to do that was because, to me, that (Confederate) flag also represents just fear. You know, it’s racial intimidation. It’s fear. These are the same things that they would fly when people were marching for integration. They would be flying that flag, because it’s a sign of intimidation, which is undergirded by violence, and has been undergirded by violence ever since the failure of Reconstruction. And so, you know, that’s part of what Tamika was speaking to: To have a black woman climb up there, whether it was me or someone else, to climb up there and take that down was a strong sign of, you know, we refuse to be ruled by this fear.
  • I don’t think that that symbol deserves the dignity of debate. It doesn’t deserve that. It’s a flag of treason, and it’s a flag of hatred.
  • one of the things that was so tough about the immediate aftermath of the (Charleston) massacre was not just the violence itself, but the apparent, like, obfuscation about what had actually just happened, that it was a terrorist attack. You know, there were a lot of things being thrown out. Yes, it’s an issue of gun violence. You know, yes, it’s an issue of, you know, the church being targeted. But it’s specifically a black church. And I think it’s important that we not remove it from the historical context, like really understand what that means. This exists in a long line of terrorist attacks against African Americans in this country. That’s what domestic terrorism looks like in the United States.
  • so often these events happen, and we remove them from any kind of context. And so, you know, if—maybe the CVS burning does look like a, you know, really horrible thing, but you’re not considering that this is a business that exists within an oppressed neighborhood where the people own nothing. They don’t really benefit a whole lot from this economic situation. They’ve been protesting for a long time, and they’ve gone unheard. And then you have all these black churches that are historically targeted because they are centers of black organization, and that’s important to understand.
  • not everybody that came together to do this action is coming from that Christian perspective. But, for me personally, absolutely 100 percent, I mean, I do believe that all men are created equal, with inalienable rights endowed by our creator, absolutely. And that flag is an affront to that value. And for people who, you know, think that there’s some kind of confusion about that, you can go back and read what was written by the people who created the Confederacy. They make it very clear that they seceded because they disagreed with that precept behind the Constitution. They don’t believe that all people are created equal.
  • in the long history of social justice, freedom fighters were always blamed for stirring the trouble up, because, you know, the problem’s not there until we acknowledge it.

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