“Before I started Museum, I was one of those people on the outside looking in, knowing that there was so much talent.”
Back in February, the MuseumTV commemorated its sixth anniversary. That’s a lifetime for an independent digital media outfit, and the occasion called for a toast and camaraderie. The pre-COVID event went down at the Neighborhood Kitchen in Medford, where a diverse cross section of some of the region’s most notable and active creatives congregated for an intimate celebration and dinner.
Among those in the room to pay homage to the Hub-based music and culture vlog, which serves as a signal booster for artists and trends from all corners of Greater Boston: Carl Mello, the director of home entertainment and merchandising at Newbury Comics; Dorchester Art Project Director Sam Potrykus; recording artist and engineer International Show; and Sir Sheed, manager of the Van Buren Music Collective, which regularly drops new clips on the MuseumTV’s multiple platforms—Insta, YouTube, you get the picture.
The founder of this enterprise, Noble, stood proudly at the center of attention. As he scanned the room, the sometimes on-screen personality saw a lot of positive, with the epicenter of the evening being togetherness. For the 29-year-old Noble, it was a testament to strength and perseverance, and to his running with a project rooted in determination to help artists get exposure. His energy was infectious, his intentions admirable. The night showcased the purpose of the endeavor he has worked tirelessly on, building with artists online and in real life: to help local talent get the recognition it deserves.
Noble, who came of age in Roxbury, started the MuseumTV in 2014 as a way for Boston musicians to showcase their creative offerings. Execution-wise, the concept has lots of the trimmings of an MTV show back when the channel still played music and broke artists—thoughtful interviews, video premieres, curated media coverage. It was a calling, as Noble had been growing concerned about how the city’s hip-hop scene was being neglected.
“I don’t want to say it was one-dimensional or slow, but it just felt like there was a lack of movement,” he said. “Before I started Museum, I was one of those people on the outside looking in, knowing that there was so much talent, but there was a crazy lack of documentation of it.”
He continued: “All of our content is a direct promotion of Boston, whether a person is from Brockton or Randolph or Lowell or Chelsea or Lynn. The MuseumTV is a collaborative effort to chronicle the urban scene as a whole.”
To get the blood flowing, Noble initially kicked off his venture with a modest photo contest. From there, with help from the vlog’s First Lady Tineisha Lozanne, he built the operation organically—conducting and shooting interviews, editing content, publishing the goods, and finally making sure people see the work. It’s extremely time-consuming, but Noble has a lot of motivation. It’s all about uplifting the community.
“People can always count on the MuseumTV to consistently give you something,” he said. As hosts of the Boston podcast The Golden Hours described the MuseumTV host and his program’s reputation: “The Museum TV … originated 5 years ago as a platform to service the music/urban culture in Boston. Before … this summer the Museum was the only outlet I could even think to reach out to in the city, so big ups to Noble for putting on. Noble has seen Boston music and culture shift HUGE in the past 5 years. … Smart dude!”
Smart, indeed, and likeable too. For Noble, getting people to open up comes naturally. And over five-plus years, he’s had a lot of guests—from standout local acts, to New England stars like Joyner Lucas, to major label artists from out of town including Jay Critch and Ty Dolla $ign. In all cases, the interviews came to fruition because Noble knows just how to make his subjects feel at home.
“The key to a good interview is always remembering what you want your platform to give to people,” he explained. “I’m always thinking about what we want people to get out of the MuseumTV, so that goes into how we angle our interviews.
“I often discuss struggles that artists went through and how they overcame them—especially coming out of the Boston music scene. You have this momentum going on in a place that’s tough to maneuver, so I want to know how you do it. Even if the interview had a whole bunch of information that someone didn’t necessarily find useful, there might have been that one sentence of inspiration that they could walk away with. That is always the goal.”
Noble is humble, magnanimous. When speaking about highlighting young artists of color, he smiles. It’s a way for him to give back to a community that helped shape him.
“My father was a school director in Haiti, so he had this mentality to look out for the next and make sure people are set up to win,” Noble said. “It’s the same with what I’m doing. With my name being Noble, my character embodies what the MuseumTV has come to represent—and I take pride in that.”
Living out his legacy through a gracious endeavor, Noble has grown optimistic about Boston music and the role that he hopes to play in helping get the word out.
“I feel like this particular moment in time right now is the most connected that the scene has been on many levels,” he said. “Good stories are finally being shared, as opposed to the consistent negative narrative surrounding urban youth.
“If the MuseumTV can continue to elevate those [stories] and show entrepreneurs that you can live out your dreams, then I know we’re doing something right.”
Candace McDuffie is a respected cultural critic and music journalist who focuses on the intersection of race, gender and entertainment. Her written work has been featured on digital platforms such as: Rolling Stone, MTV, Forbes, Grammy.com, Paper, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Vibe, Tidal, Marie Claire, NBC NEWS and Boston Magazine.