Killer Mike is the son of an Atlanta city police officer. Two of his cousins are police officers. He’s one of the most outspoken and politically-engaged artists of our generation, but has “a lot of love and respect for police officers.” As protests raged in his hometown and across the country for the horrific killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, the last place the Run the Jewels rapper wanted to be was speaking at the Mayor of Atlanta’s press conference after peaceful protests escalated to looting and vandalism. “I didn’t want to come and I don’t want to be here,” he stated. “But I am duty-bound to be here to simply say: That it is your duty not to 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 organization.”
Of course, like so many of us, he’s “mad as hell,” but eloquently advocated for peace, urging people to organize and vote for more progressive leaders instead of taking part in violence.
“It is the responsibility of us to make this better right now,” he pleaded. “We don’t want to see one officer charged, we want to see four officers prosecuted and sentenced. We don’t want to see targets burning, we want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground. Two of the most effective ways, is first, taking your butt to the computer and making sure you fill out your census to make sure people know where you are and who you are. The next thing is to exercise your political bully power and go into to political elections, and beating up the politicians that you don’t like. You got a prosecutor that sent your papa to jail and you know it was bullshit? Put a new prosecutor in there. Now is your election to do it. You want a different senator that’s more aggressive, that pulls marijuana through? Now is the time to do that. But it is not time to burn down your own home.”
Watch his full speech below.