The Great Colion Noir
Collins Iyare Idehen Jr (born 1983) is an American gun rights activist, lawyer, and the host of the web series NOIR. As of March 2021, he had over 223 million views and over 1.8 million viewers on his YouTube page.
In 2013, the National Rifle Association (NRA) approached him and asked him to appear in NRA TV show videos in the following months. Later that year, he spoke at the organization’s conference in Houston. Since then, he has emerged as the NRA’s “most prominent black commentator,” according to The Guardian. Noir mentioned on The Joe Rogan Experience (#1496) that as of July 2019, he is no longer associated with the NRA because they have switched to a new advertising firm, but he is still a supportive participant.
He is a trustee for Walk The Talk America, a non-profit organisation dedicated to suicide prevention.
Who really is Colion Noir?
Colion Noir, 34, now owns more than 50 guns and is almost always carrying under the pseudonym he created in 2011, when he began streaming videos about how to handle life as a city-dwelling gun enthusiast. His YouTube channel has over 600,000 viewers, and he is a frequent commentator on NRATV, a streaming channel accessible on Apple, Roku, and other digital channels. (On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver described the channel as “Fox News on a much lower budget.”)
Noir was raised in southwest Houston, the son of an executive chef and a nurse, both of whom were Nigerian immigrants, and was trained to respect “facts, logic, and reason.” Sharing his passion for guns just made sense to him as he got more familiar with them, he says. There was no looking around until he began going to shooting ranges while attending Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
What did Colion Noir do?
Noir interned at a small personal injury company in Houston after receiving his JD in 2012, while also practicing for the bar and posting YouTube reviews of weapons and accessories and riffing on political and cultural topics relating to the Second Amendment. As his fan base grew, NRA officials took notice. The next year, he relocated to Dallas and began working as a paid commentator for NRATV.
The repercussions were almost instant. Russell Simmons, now a convicted rapist but also revered as the rap mogul who founded Def Jam Recordings at the time, chastised the group for recruiting “some black guy” to head a “African-American campaign.” This line of critique has preceded Noir his whole career. Engadget’s senior news editor put it succinctly: “@MrColionNoir, you may take their capital, but you’ll never have their respect.”
It frightened him at first. He didn’t understand why his skin color was important. “For a brief moment, I considered taking a step back, realizing that what I had to do was be a prosecutor and fire weapons in my spare time. “I don’t need all of this,” he declares.
Yet he shrugged off the criticism—and the worry of his mother, who was alarmed by the controversy—and sought help from fans who were relieved to see someone who wasn’t white portray gun owners. Today, Noir sees himself as a valuable voice inside an organisation that has been chastised for not doing enough to defend African Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Last July, after a jury convicted the officer who shot and killed Philando Castile—a black man who was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon during a traffic arrest in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2016—Noir used his voice to share his disappointment, although the NRA stayed quiet.
“There are those in the weapons world who despise me,” he claims. “There are black people who despise me because of my links to the NRA. I’m getting it from every angle.”
The problem became even more difficult after Noir began commenting on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, releasing his first video in February, just two days after 17 people were killed.
He fought hard against the call for tighter weapons safety rules, staring right into the frame. “We childishly stick to weapons control as the sole solution to dealing with this evil, when our children attend unprotected classes, with unprotected teachers, and unprotected classrooms, and then are perplexed when our children are murdered by evil people.”
That was just the beginning. In late March, when the Parkland teens, ardent supporters of tighter gun control rules, prepared to march in Washington, D.C., Noir used his videos to encourage people to arm school faculty, as President Donald Trump had proposed.
Colion Noir’s Final Words
“To all the kids from Parkland preparing to use the First Amendment to attack someone else’s Second Amendment at your march on Saturday, I wish a hero like Blaine Gaskill”—the Maryland police offer thought at the time to have stopped another school shooter, but that didn’t turn out to be true—“had been at Marjory Douglas High School last month, so your classmates will already be ali
According to the Washington Post, Noir taunted the students, but he claims he was merely addressing the truth. “Many people who would usually speak out are not doing so because they are fearful of seeming to be attacking the children,” he says. “I’m the only one who’s able to stand up….” I’m not sure if that makes me stupid, brave, or dumb.”