Rapper Oompa, a champion slam poet from Roxbury, says that, "in some way, everything that I write always has Roxbury in mind."
Everyone in Roxbury's Dudley Cafe, where we caught up with Oompa, seems to know her. They know her in the rest of Boston, too — she was nominated for new artist of the year at the 2017 Boston Music Awards — and beyond, as the winner of the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam and a finalist at 2016's National Poetry Slam.
On her website, she self describes herself as "queer, orphaned, and from the hood." When asked about the word "hood," she says she hopes to reclaim it and instill pride in it.
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Now working on her second full-length album, she said that one of her goals is to reclaim the word "hood," a place that's taught her so much.
"I know how to respect my elders, I know the code, I know how to respect humans, to, like, survive," she said. "I feel confident in my ability to survive in any situation, and I think that that came from being where I'm from, where we didn't always have something to eat, you can't always listen to your music walking down the street, you gotta protect your neck at all times."