Atlanta rapper Killer Mike wants to make two things clear: He supports the March for Our Lives, and disagrees with the NRA’s platform.
In a two-part video posted to his Twitter account, Killer Mike — the frontman of the Hip-Hop group Run the Jewels — explained that his strategy in speaking to the National Rifle Association (NRA) about black gun ownership was to “help a conversation happen that I felt needed to happen,” not to besmirch the cause of students organizing for a change in national gun laws. According to the outspoken rapper, his conversation with the NRA happened a week before the national day of action on March 24, despite NRA-TV broadcasting it on March 22 — just two days before the historic demonstration:
“I took a move out of one of my heroes’ book, Dr. Martin Luther King, the founder of Kingian nonviolence, and I sat with people who I might not always agree with,” Killer Mike explained. “That interview was used a week later by NRA-TV to disparage a very noble campaign that I actually support.”
“As your ally — and I am your ally, young people — I want to say that many of the people I organize with were at that march,” he continued. “Whether it was ending racism, or ending classism, or many of the people that agree with some of the social ideas, like free healthcare, fair wages, fair earning for women, gay and lesbian rights, black rights in particular, around community policing and black men, all those things, all those people made up that march. I am a friend and advocate to you all.”
Killer Mike’s interview became a target of derision over the weekend, with prominent black publications and journalists criticizing the rapper for speaking to the NRA. Gizmodo Media Group’s The Root called him “the NRA’s token negro.” In her critique of Killer Mike’s segment, MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid called NRA-TV “propaganda that is demonstrably hostile to people who look like you and me.” Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky said the NRA “exploited” the Run the Jewels rapper.
“The NRA is not a friend of Black people, does not defend Black people and has open racists, like Ted Nugent, on their board of directors,” wrote activist Brittany Packnett. “The NRA’s vile platform is clear, in what universe did Killer Mike think he could trust this organization?”
You're a known quantity to those of us who are political media people, due to your work on the campaign. If you wanted to air your views there are plenty of news outlets including mine who would gladly have you on. The NRA wanted you on tape to use it exactly the way they did.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) March 26, 2018
Good Morning! Love those around you, but don’t let anybody exploit you the way the @NRA exploited Killer Mike. It was already a bad idea for their propaganda guy to have “Killer” in his name considering all the killings they enable.
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) March 26, 2018
Watch Killer Mike’s two-part video response below:
I hope this clears some stuff up. Love and Respect to all. Part 1 pic.twitter.com/pq977HEG7A
— Killer Mike (@KillerMike) March 25, 2018
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.