Mary Branch was in the gist of celebrating the precious news of her pregnancy until the police disrupted her joyful moment due to a noise complaint.
Branch revealed the rather vexatious experience in The Washington Post, where while she cannot conclude if the report is centered around bias, she describes the act as a recognized pattern of racism. Mary Branch is a senior internal resident at the continuity clinic at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
The incident occurred in fall of 2017, while Branch was enjoying her day off from work on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at her Chapel Hill, North Carolina apartment. She was freshly in joy after receiving news that she was accepted into a cardiology fellowship and also expecting a bundle of joy with her newlywed husband. To celebrate, she decided to jam to a couple of hip-hop and pop melodies from the ’90s.
In her playlist were a touch of Michael Jackson, some Big Pun, a sprinkle of Tupac, and a nice dosage of classic Bad Boy posse cuts featuring The Notorious B.I.G. It was not long until after she silenced her playlist to tune into CNN, that the police came knocking on her door. Apparently, her neighbors-who were white, called authorities to report a noise complaint at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.
Usually, Branch would lower down the volume if a song had too much base, a musical implementation folks of Chapel Hill were not used to. “I’ve lived in many cities, and I could not imagine calling the police on a neighbor for anything like this. And I’m confident that my Caucasian neighbors would not have involved the police if some of the music they heard hadn’t been hip-hop,” she recalled.
The matter went no further than being a reported incident, but if it were a “repeated offense,” the police visit would have possibly escalated to an arrest. Branch described the visit as leaving her “feeling embarrassed, humiliated and powerless,” to an extent she grew of a sense of discomfort about living in her own community.
Are the melodies of hip-hop culture worth acts of overpolicing? Check out Mary Branch’s playlist below and see for yourself.