Today, Questlove from The Roots is being hailed as the Occupy Wall Street movement’s Paul Revere. Approximately twenty minutes before midnight, Questlove, who’s also known as Ahmir Khalib Thompson, wrote in his Twitter feed that he saw a thousand police officers, geared up and ready for action, near the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park. In shortened verse that even Longfellow would approve of, Questlove tweeted: “Omg, drivin down south st near #ows. Somethin bout to go down yo, swear I counted 1000 riot gear cops bout to pull sneak attack #carefulyall.” The timestamp on that first tweet read 11:39 p.m. EST.
The “Midnight Ride” he took was pure chance, but his resolve to warn the protestors via Twitter was not. Nevertheless, OWS leadership was not sure what to make of the warning, and there was a prolonged online debate about whether the excess police was due to a “shift change” or Christian Bale filming his “The Dark Knight Rises” scenes with many extras in tow. Less than ninety minutes later — throughout which Questlove continued to confirm his eyewitness account to Twitter readers — the police force arrived and began clearing out the park. OWS is regrouping and the episode confirms Twitter’s privileged status among popular, democratic movements around the world.