Grandmaster Jay, the leader of a Black militia called NFAC (Not F-cking Around Coalition) — a name he says denotes the group’s attitude — spoke to Atlanta Black Star about the importance of community policing and of exercising Second Amendment rights.
Although the militia made its first public appearance just last year, Grandmaster Jay, a former hip-hop MC whose name is John Jay Fitzgerald Johnson, says the ethos of the group, now united under his leadership, is not new. The NFAC is composed of “an element that has always existed within America.” Grandmaster Jay continued, “You’ve always had a demographic of veterans … and grown adults who are law-abiding citizens who have visibility what is going on, who are also responsible gun owners who understand the Constitution. Which of course makes us no different than most other Americans, except that we’re all Black.”
Amid explosive racial tensions, Grandmaster Jay says the NFAC has grown “exponentially,” although he declined to disclose the group’s numerical size. The militia leader says that witnessing “the temperature start to rise in this country, concerning some of the same things we’ve seen over the last 60 years. … We decided to unite ourselves into a Black militia with the purpose of defending and policing our own communities, and exercising our constitutional rights.” The NFAC made its first official public appearance at a KKK rally in Dayton, Ohio, in 2019. Grandmaster Jay says the group stood guard to prevent a “repeat of what happened in Greensboro.” During the 1979 Greensboro Massacre, five people in Greensboro, North Carolina, were shot and killed by Nazis and Klansmen as they gathered for the start of an anti-racism protest.
The Georgia-based militia appeared again in May to seek justice for Ahmaud Arbery by patrolling the Georgia neighborhood in which he was killed. “People thought we were the Black Panthers, and we are not. We are the NFAC,” he clarified. He also maintains that the NFAC is not a protest group. “We are not protesters, we are not demonstrators, we do not stand with those efforts.”
Instead, Grandmaster Jay says the group grew in numbers primarily as a result of the appearance of white militias at protests that were left unbothered and unchallenged by police forces. “People saw that and a conversation began to happen, not just around the country, but around the world, about ‘are we going to stand by and let these groups arm themselves and we do nothing?'” After that, he says, numbers “began to skyrocket.”
Most recently, the NFAC showed up at Stone Mountain Park in the Atlanta suburb of Stone Mountain on July Fourth to peacefully assemble while bearing arms and “to send a message,” said the militia leader. Grandmaster Jay called the Georgia location the “secondary birthplace of the KKK,” which he believes is the “engine of racism in America.” He also said that the massive Confederate bas-relief monument carved on the side of the Stone Mountain monadnock points to “white superiority,” and that the militia congregated there to make a statement. New NFAC members were also sworn in at the park.
In addition, the militia anticipated that white supremacists might target Black people on the Fourth of July after threats circulated. “We could not have that,” the leader said.” Believing these nationalists might assemble at Stone Mountain, the militia congregated at the monument to ensure they were “in a position to repel any attack.”
The ongoing debate about Black-on-Black crime was also a topic of discussion sparked by the recent shooting of an 8-year-old girl. Secoriea Turner was shot and killed on July Fourth at an ongoing protest near the site where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month by a white police officer.
“First of all, let’s not bring up Black-on-Black crime unless we bring up every other demographics whose crime [statistics] are comparable,” he said. He called the mayor’s comments “ignorant,” saying they reinforce the stereotype that Black people are inferior.
The militia leader shared that the group went to the Brooks’ memorial where individuals were congregating before the shooting death of Turner and witnessed “what looked like an organized situation.” After the group left the memorial to escort Brooks’ sister, they learned of the girl’s death.
He attributes Turner’s death to “inexperienced, untrained, undisciplined folks with firearms,” and points to local officials as being responsible for “the deteriorating sociological condition,” that he says exists across the city of Atlanta.