By Logan Langlois

NASHVILLE, TN  —  Joshua Lipscomb, known by most by his stage name Sir Joshua Black, has recently been opening up regarding the details of his $450,000 settlement following his lawsuit against the Nashville Fire Department. 

Joshua Lipscomb

He filed the suit after what he claims were attempts to suppress his first amendment right to freedom of speech, in the form of a 16-day suspension as punishment for a tweet he made criticizing Nashville City Council. The suspension came even though none of his social media accounts identified him as a member of the Nashville Fire Department and all tweets were made under his stage name, a fact that would in the end become a key piece of evidence in winning Black his lawsuit. 

As a comedian who strives to be politically and socially conscious, Black often speaks with “friends and activists” such as the Black Nashville Assembly, Gideon’s Army, the Equity Alliance, and Democratic Socialists of America. 

“I told myself ‘I would love to be an activist,’ but I don’t think that’s healthy. I think it’s noble, and we need them. But … dealin’ with America’s racism on a daily basis, I cannot do that every day. It’s just too sad, it’s never-ending, it’s overwhelming.”

Instead, he strives to be a voice that “props up and protects other activists,” which is why when Black’s activist friends began encouraging him to research a since-passed proposition for new license plate scanners in Nashville, he did. 

“The problem is their putting these license plate readers in the … ‘busiest parts of town,’” Black explained. “The ‘busiest parts of town’ is where all the Black and Brown people are. The poorest parts of town, that have the least amount of resources, the least amount of education, the least amount of job opportunities … who need the city’s help … they just need a livable wage. Instead of helping these people … what someone proposed to do is, ‘let’s lock more of them up.’” 

This led to him posting the tweet:

“I hate feeding into the illusion that America’s government and existence is legitimate so I’m no fan of voting. But the majority of Nashville City Council is white supremacists. I know it’s boring, but millennials HAVE to start caring about local elections. These folk want us dead.”

Soon after, Black said the owner of online news media Scoop Nashville, Jason Steen, sent the tweets to the Nashville Fire Department advocating for Black’s punishment, something he didn’t learn until the discovery session following his lawsuit. Black claims that this could be fueled by a personal vendetta against him following Black releasing a video previously criticizing Steen’s description of female Black Nashvillian social activists as “bitches.” 

Joshua said he always believed he was hated within the fire department and was proven right after further revelations in discovery. One of those revelations was that ten of his fellow firefighters called the department to request disciplinary action following an interview he did with Billboard, where he expressed never feeling welcomed by country music as a Black man. Black stated also found out that the fire department’s HR representative, Jamie Summers, closely monitored his accounts since 2020, while asking Metro lawyers, who were also participating in the monitoring if he could be fired. 

Black said that winning his case felt like a major personal and public victory and that he’s proud he was able to show the citizens of Nashville they can speak their minds for public good without being suppressed by bigotry. Additional info regarding Sir Joshua Black can be found on his personal website sirjoshuablack.com, and all social media under @sirjoshuablack.