‘106 & Park’s’ Free Marie Speaks On How She Bridged A Gap Between Music And Technology
Many people know Free Marie from her culture-defining role as co-host for BET’s 106 & Park, but few know that she originally had her hopes set on revolutionizing the tech world.
In an interview with AfroTech, Marie opened up about her love for both hip-hop and tech and why her experience as “the lonely only” helped to decidedly move her to music.
“At the time, when I was doing tech, I was an admin for a law foundation that was an environmental law foundation, and I was going to school and I’m in these classes and this woman that looks like me is teaching, I went to Boston University, and I’m teaching people computers and I’m doing classes in it, but I felt very alone, right?” she said.
What she could not have foreseen was how much the two worlds would end up colliding.
“When hip-hop started evolving past just like CDs, they began to tell us like, ‘Oh, this runs off of it.’ Everything about hip-hop is digital now, so it’s interesting to see. Some people like it, some people don’t, but it’s interesting to see the growth and how we keep leveraging some type of digital space for hip-hop.”
What Marie says she loves most about the intersection of music, specifically hip-hop, and the evolution of technology is how many doors have become open to Black women.
“If people understood how many women are behind the scenes at SiriusXM and Amazon Music and all of these places—they’re running the boards and running the technology behind the scenes and so that’s what [it’s] about, showing off our women and recognizing how strong they are.”
Marie was definitely part of revolutionizing the mainstream acceptance and celebration of hip- hop culture through 106 & Park, helping to usher a variety of artists that speak for an entire generation.