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Boston poet and MC Oompa is in the business of the everyday slay. And with the release of her video “I Deserve That,” which features fellow Boston riser Cliff Notez, she’s doubling down on her message. Filmed near Academy Homes in Roxbury, where Oompa was born and raised, the video discusses what it means for marginalized peoples to take up the space they rightfully deserve, but are granted so infrequently.
“I think it’s important to learn when you’re taking up too much space, no matter who you are,” Oompa tells Vanyaland. “But also, I think there’s a number of us who get crammed into a tiny space when we are so much bigger than it. I’m talking the everyday slay, not just Wimbledon. When I say ‘we’ I mean black and brown women, womxn, bois, fem, GNC, NB people.”
Oompa nods to her heritage in the vid, both as a Bostonian on the T (“What’s more Boston than that?”) and as a black woman at the Museum of African American History. “We also shot at the African American museum in Roxbury,” she explains. “There’s a big head out there that almost serves as a myth for Roxbury kids. That was my first time engaging with it in an intentional way as an adult.”
The entire video was shot by high school students from RAW Art Works of Lynn, forming a seamless connection between Oompa’s current musical endeavors and her previous time working as a teacher.
“I was incredibly honored when RAW reached out to me,” Oompa notes. “They have a process by which they choose artists to work with their young people, and they were interested in shooting a video with me. I hadn’t yet found a video producer/cinematographer who I felt captured what I’d wanted. Immediately, I knew this was the group I wanted to do my first music visual.”
Fittingly, the video offers flashbacks to her teaching days and how her coaching and support for young people has shifted from actual lessons in schools to the medium of music. According to Oompa, the new fit couldn’t be better.
“I think the video is a great summation of my experience as a teacher, though exaggerated,” she says. “As a teacher I loved my kids and my kids loved me, but I knew I wasn’t supposed to be a traditional teacher. I just knew I wasn’t being impactful in the way I wanted. My kids didn’t have books, or healthy/sanitary food, resources, and walked through metal detectors. How could I be as impactful as I wanted to be that way? I couldn’t. It wasn’t until I got free and followed my own dream that I felt the most equipped to love those young people and teach them the way I always wanted to.”
They deserve that.