Killer Mike has expanded on his recent acclaimed speech about the wave of protests that have spread across the US in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“We have to be better than burning down our own homes because if we lose Atlanta, what else we got?” the rapper said in a televised address on Saturday (May 30) which condemned those protests in Atlanta that descended into violence.
“It is your duty to not burn your own house down for anger with an enemy. It is your duty to fortify your own house, so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organisation. And now is the time to plot, plan, strategise, organise, and mobilise.”
During an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Monday (June 1), the Run The Jewels rapper explained that he had not initially intended to speak publicly and was only encouraged to do so by his friend and business partner T.I.
“All I said was what was purely on my heart, and I was talking in that speech for that testimony specifically for Atlanta,” Mike explained.
He then expanded on Atlanta’s history of relative prosperity for African-Americans over the last 50 years when compared to other US cities.
“If you look at the ’60s and ’70s, black cities like Washington DC, Chicago, Detroit, even black parts of Los Angeles and Miami, they were prosperous, they were fruitful, hope happened there. And through things like redlining, through not developing, those places [and] a lot of those cities have fallen, and Atlanta for the last 50 years has managed to be a city that grows,” he said.
“I wanted the protesters to know, and even the rioters, because a lot of them were young people who are just frustrated, to know that we can do it differently in this city […] I think Black America should treat Atlanta like a land where anything is possible for us, because it’s not perfect but anything has proven possible here. This is just a place where hope is possible in a way that it’s not in other places.”
He continued: “There’s nothing wrong with having the anger and emotion and passion overspill that we saw. Because that needs to happen to ignite. But now that you’re ignited, I need you on a weekly and daily basis to join a grassroots organisation wherever you are.”
He then directed viewers to a number of organisations who are “doing the work on an everyday basis on the ground” including The New Georgia Project, Live Free, The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Movement for Black Lives and Next Level Boys Academy.
He also gave “homework” for white viewers, directing them to “go to YouTube and google Jane Elliott. Spend one hour watching Jane Elliott teach people — not just speak, she’s not just speaking but she’s teaching people about the racism that is given to them that they aren’t even aware they have.”