This week’s episode of People’s Party with Talib Kweli — hosted by Kweli and Jasmin Leigh — features the infamous Redman. Over the course of a wide-ranging, intensely personal interview, the Newark New Jersey MC explains how his family has a legacy that still touches the hearts on the streets, beyond hip-hop. His mother Darlene worked for 40 years ensuring young Black people were given a fair shot in the workplace.
“My moms never taught me to be pro-Black,” he notes. “She taught me to be pro-me.”
Growing up poor in New Jersey during the 80s was not easy. Many of the apartments then (and now) still have massive roach and rodent infestations. It was one such roach that changed the life of Red and his tenacious, hardworking mom, Darlene Noble.
“We had mad roaches,” Redman tells Kweli and co-host Jasmin Leigh. “We had mad mice and mad roaches. And everybody knowsm — don’t nobody wanna live with no roaches.”
The infestation of roaches at the time was taking over the entire apartment. Red remembers the tipping point of her patience.
“One day she was fixing us breakfast before we go to school. She opened the cabinet door to get us some cereal. And a roach jumped out and jumped on her nose…And I seen her fucking lose it! She said ‘That is it!’”
After that Darlene focused on making sure her life, and her kids, were headed in the right direction. Reflecting on his own drive to do well in life he says “That’s what inspired me — at a very young age…As she worked her way up the ladder, I seen her progression. She ended up getting a job at city hall helping lots of people. She retired like seven or eight years ago. But ‘til this day I got dues that will come up to me- that don’t even know. That’s G’d up. They’ll be like ‘Yo, your mom- anything she needs’. They don’t give a f*ck about me. ‘I know you’re Redman my nigga or whatever. But anything your moms needs, I’m riding for her.’”
Darlene Noble ensured many underserved people got good jobs, weren’t unjustly fired or got boxed out of economic opportunities. She’s a hero and this story is a testament to that.