Oral History Project: Self-Care 2020 (Maurice Passmore, Jr.)

Maurice Passmore, Jr. with children.

Background: In 2015, Bree Newsome Bass made national headlines when she scaled a 30-foot flag pole at the South Carolina statehouse and took down the Confederate flag. In an article entitled, “Charlottesville Reinforced That Self-Care Is an Essential Part of My Activism,” (SELF Magazine) Bass shares the importance of self-care stating, “I have a tendency to go, go, go until I burn out…self-care did not come naturally to me at first…since committing myself to social justice a few years ago, it’s something I’ve developed out of necessity.” VisitBlackHistory.com has invited participants to take part in an oral history project that will document the role of self-care in this day and time. We are specifically examining the individual impact of COVID-19, witnessing recent police brutality in the Black community, and the subsequent demonstrations that have followed.

Maurice “MoChips” Passmore, Jr self-description: a son, a father, husband, friend. He’s a provider, he is a motivator, he is a competitor, he is an athlete, he is a creator, he is MoChips, he is the artist, he is the emcee, the lyricist, he is the ….I never really have to think about myself in that space but yeah, I’m ….he’s complex and simple at the same time. He is…the dichotomy is crazy. “I always say that one of the most important things in Black liberation or you know what I mean one of the most revolutionary things you can do as a Black man is take care of your Black family. Starting on the inside and working your way out. So, starting at your house and then work your way out to your community and beyond.” -M. Passmore, Jr.

I always say that one of the most important things in Black liberation or you know what I mean one of the most revolutionary things you can do as a Black man is take care of your Black family. Starting on the inside and working your way out. So, starting at your house and then work your way out to your community and beyond. -M. Passmore, Jr.

Oral History Project Self-Care 2020 M. Passmore, Jr. (Index)

00 – :50 Introduction between Sophia V. Nelson (Interviewer) and Maurice Passmore, Jr. (narrator) 

:50 –  2:35 MP gives his definition of self-care. making sure that you are mentally, physically, spiritu:ally intact. I love chess. It keeps the brain sharp. Reading, etcetera. And you know the creativity side I have podcasts, music – just being creative. The brain is a muscle too so you have to keep it active. Desires to improve his spiritual practices. Yoga. 

2:50 – 4:30 MP describes life prior to COVID-19 quarantine. It was hustle-bustle. You go into work, fighting traffic. Raising family in Virginia suburbs. You spend half your life just getting through the traffic. Other one sitting in the office. Waiting for the weekend to get you some still time. Which really isn’t still time because during the week you weren’t able to do most of the things that you needed to do.

4:38 – 7:45 MP describes benefits of working for employer, remotely, during the quarantine. Most people in IT especially…have been able to…you know, if you are in your office working on a computer what is the difference between being at home and working on your computer? You’re more productive. You don’t lose 2 hours in travel. 

7:45 – 12:00 MP describes work-life balance during the quarantine. I used to drive an hour and a half to go get crabs from out near the Chesapeake. I mean the most relaxing chill ride. Not too much traffic driving. Its calm. You get to listen to what you want to listen to…your music…you’re just in your little space. Dealing with road rage and various personalities when commuting to work on a regular day. Raising a child during the quarantine versus years prior. son has been with us the entire time. He knows only that love of his parents this entire time which has been super rewarding.

12:25 – 15:50 MP shares thoughts and concerns about COVID-19 disproportionately affecting the Black community. why do we have all these health issues? Why aren’t we getting taken care of? Why don’t we have better eating habits, better exercise routines, you know better-living situations? Why is the stress level so high? Each one, teach one and get out here and walk. Get out here and…it’s hard when you’re living in these food deserts but you got to find a way to just…that fruit, vegetable intake. Just those things. Work on the preventative methods versus that reactive.

16:09 – 19:30 MP shares the effects of witnessing recent police brutality cases. It affects you to see someone that you feel could have been you in a situation where they lost their life. since the inception of police we have been again disproportionately targeted and brutalized by the people who are air quote…”here to protect and serve your community.” So, another…the rage and the outcries that are pouring out now because of these recents incidents its just expected outcomes. YOu can’t expect people to be quiet or even more importantly to be well behaved in the manner that you feel they should be when they are watching their brothers and their sisters being killed. I don’t want to forget about the sister Breonna Taylor either because they tell you to…they tell you to comply and do xy and z. And I mean this sister was just in her home *laughs* in her bed. It doesn’t get more compliant than that. I wish I had the answers to have a resolution for this but the only thing that I would say is….keep fighting, keep uniting, and nothing was ever given to an oppressed people. It’s only been taken. And I’ll leave it at that. 

20:20 – 25:00 MP details specific activities he’s engaged in as part of his self-care. “Quarantine 15” and gaining weight. Losing normal activities like grocery shopping, now having groceries delivered. The normal exercise you would get from walking around a grocery store you are not getting. Purchased a bike….haven’t road a bike since a child. Went to the beach, took in nature. A lot of driving, sight seeing, enjoying nature. I’ve got a podcast….always done music as far as being in emcee. But, now in this time I have gotten more into the production side. I’ve gotten into videography a little more.

25:00 – end MP gives a description of himself. I’ve lived so many like lives as they would say. Growing up when my father raised me pretty by himself for the majority of my life growing up in the neighborhood where a lot of people were born into circumstances that were challenging. So I’ve seen people get caught up in the environment in the streets. I’ve had to navigate all those of things to become…you know, the person…to become basically a professional, right. Just to become a working-class citizen. Just to get there there was a lot of navigation early on, to survive. 

Maurice Passmore, Jr. with friend, Robert Turner. Photographed at Black Lives Matter Plaza
Maurice Passmore, Jr. in-house production studio set-up

Downloads: Transcript

Content may be used for educational purposes. Must include citation: Nelson, Sophia. Passmore, Maurice Jr.  Self-Care 2020 Oral History interview conducted June 16, 2020. A VisitBlackHistory.com Oral History Project, Atlanta, Georgia. 2020.

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