Q&A with Fab 5 Freddy: Visual Artist, Filmmaker, and Hip-Hop Pioneer
The Cannabis 50 celebrates the organizations, individuals, and companies who are working to build a responsible, sustainable, and equitable future for the cannabis, hemp, and related industries. In addition to the 2021 Cannabis 50 Impact Review, we are also sharing interviews with our honorees to help spread their messages of positivity and growth.
Fab 5 Freddy is one of the primary architects of the street art movement and wears many hats—visual artist, filmmaker, and hip-hop pioneer are just a few. He can also add cannabis collaborator and educator to this list with B NOBLE, a company formed to raise awareness and create funding to defend and aid the victims of cannabis-related criminalization. We sat down to talk with Fab 5 Freddy, aka Fred Brathwaite, to hear more about his passion for giving opportunities to those imprisoned for cannabis and how the industry can continue to give back.
MGO: How long have you been involved in the cannabis industry? What inspired you to get involved with cannabis?
Fab 5 Freddy: B Noble has been on shelves for six months. I made my film, Grass is Greener, in 2018, and that experience was also a vast learning experience and a call to action for me to follow my passion and get involved in the industry.
MGO: The cannabis industry saw several trends emerge in 2021. What do you think was the biggest one?
Fab 5 Freddy: To me, the big theme was more Americans waking up to the benefits of cannabis, as several new states including my home state of New York which has the most progressive cannabis legislation in the country. Theres still a lot of work to do but more and more Americans are realizing the medical benefits cannabis and that the war on drugs, specifically nonviolent cannabis criminalization, needs to be stopped
MGO: What were some of the biggest obstacles you faced in the industry in 2021? How did you manage and overcome these issues?
Fab 5 Freddy: Deprogramming people to realize that their preconceived notions of cannabis are false and largely based of the non-stop cannabis miss-information we’ve been flooded with—and opening their eyes to the benefits of the plant. This goes hand in hand with getting the ball and chain of cannabis criminalization expunged from records, as well as getting others released from prison and a seat at the table. Racial equity and social justice is another obstacle that must be solved so people of color can benefit—they’ve been the most victimized.
MGO: What were the biggest highlights and most positive changes for you in 2021?
Fab 5 Freddy: Creating the B Noble cannabis brand and partnering with the biggest MSO in the country, Curaleaf, was a huge 2021 highlight considering we developed the brand and negotiated the deal through the pandemic. Together, we use quality cannabis and raise awareness about the harm inflicted on hundreds of thousands in America from the failed war on drugs.
MGO: What should the cannabis industry be focused on in 2022—and beyond—to keep it moving forward in a positive way?
Fab 5 Freddy: Hands down, equity and inclusion!
MGO: How do you think the cannabis industry will continue to evolve in 2022? What are you personally most excited about?
Fab 5 Freddy: I predict that my home state, New York, will eventually become the biggest money earner in the country with a strong contingent of people of color getting a piece of the cannabis pie. I’m excited that B Noble is now in 11 states—with many more to come—as more and more states head towards legalized adult use.
MGO: Who else in the cannabis industry inspires you by making a positive impact?
Fab 5 Freddy: There are so many inspiring figures in the industry right now. Weldon Angelo with his Mission Green, Dr Rachel Knox and her family working in healing through cannabis, Kareem Webb and 4th MVMT, Women Grow, Dr Chanda Macias, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Jesse Horton & LoUD, and Mario & his Sherbinskis brand, the great cannabis geneticist we’ll be working with are some that come to mind!