John Fitzgerald Johnson, better known as Grandmaster Jay, founded and leads the Black NFAC militia — the Not F**king Around Coalition — launched in 2017 as a response to white vigilantes who murdered 25-year-old Ahmaud Ahbery, an unarmed Black man, as he jogged in Brunswick, Georgia.
Grandmaster Jay made the news when he was arrested on Dec. 4, 2020 after a rally for Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed in her apartment by Louisville, KY, police during a botched raid. Police alleged that Grand Master Jay pointed a rifle at them during the rally. Grand Master Jay pleaded not guilty to five federal charges in court. Four of the five counts of wanton endangerment levied by the state of Kentucky were dropped. He was indicted on one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees and one count of brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, All HipHop reported.
The Atlantic interviewed Grandmaster Jay in an article published in April about the growing influence of the NFAC and the intense scrutiny the group is under.
Here are seven takeaways from the feature story on NFAC militia leader Grandmaster Jay.
Grandmaster Jay always seems to be on alert. When he arrived for the interview he was wearing body armor rated to take a pistol round directly to the chest.
“My time is scarce,” he said.
NFAC intends to “establish a racially pure country called the United Black Kemetic Nation,” The Atlantic reported.
“Kemet,” Jay explained, “is the original name of Egypt, which means ‘land of the Blacks.’”
Jay has held a variety of jobs. He’s a former soldier, having joined the military in 1989. He spent four years in the Army in Germany, according to Jay. It was in Germany where he says he formulated his idea for a Black Kemetic Nation. He left the Army in 1997 but was reinstated in July 1998. However, he faced a court-martial for an offense. “He was busted down to the lowest rank—private—and drummed out of the Army with an ‘other than honorable’” discharge,” The Atlantic reported. “In August 2003, according to the affidavit, Jay entered Fort Bragg and “threatened to kill his wife” (who was also a soldier) and her platoon sergeant at a recognition ceremony.”
Jay wound up reenlisting as an Army reservist.
He also served in the Virginia National Guard.
In 2016 he ran as an independent candidate for U.S. president. He also claimed to have worked as the “director of a global cloud-integration practice and solutions architect.”
“I’ve lived five different lives,” he said. “Like a Rubik’s Cube.”
Jay claims that the NFAC first appeared publicly when nine white supremacists descended on Dayton, Ohio, in May 2019, for reasons that were not clear, the New York Times reported. The event unified the community. In 2020, the NFAC showed up in larger numbers at protests over confederate monuments and the killing of Arbery in Georgia, at protests over the police shooting of Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and at protests over the police shooting of Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The NFAC army is growing. On his YouTube channel, Jay posted a video of his troops in formation, and local news stations ran aerial shots. The weapons are visible — AR-15s, sniper rifles with scopes and bipods, high-capacity magazines, The Atlantic reported.
“We don’t come to sing,” Jay told Newsweek. “We don’t come to chant.” Instead, the NFAC stands at attention like guards.
Jay had a lot to say about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by white supremacists and militia members. “White people decided to act up and show us their true colors,” he said.
“If the NFAC had done what these folks did, they’d still be bringing the body bags” out of the Capitol.