The Importance of Killer Mike's Ferguson Speech

The Importance of Killer Mike’s Ferguson Speech

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Michael Render, better known by his stage name Killer Mike, has been very vocal about the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black eighteen-year-old, in Ferguson, Missouri. Actually, Killer Mike has always been very political in his rap career, focusing on similar topics such as police brutality, the legalization of medicinal marijuana, and the war on drugs. He’s known as one of the last rappers to be as outspoken on his music as he is in real life. Last night, the Grand Jury issued a non-indictment charge towards Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown, to which Killer Mike thankfully responded appropriately.

Run the Jewels, the interesting collaboration of Killer Mike and El-P, were performing at the Ready Room in St. Louis directly after the announcement, and Killer Mike delivered a heartbreaking speech about the decision. He opened up his speech by offering his condolences to Michael Brown and his family. He then went on to say, “I would like to give thoughts and prayers to the people out there peacefully protesting. I also give thoughts and prayers to the people who could not hold their anger in, because riots are only the language of the unheard.” Although not a popular opinion, Killer Mike didn’t hold back his thoughts and feelings.

In a spectacular, emotional, and powerful speech, Killer Mike discusses his own fears for his 20-year-old son as well as his 12-year-old son. He brings up the legacy of Martin Luther King and reflects on his murder, while acknowledging that MLK was 39 when he died, which is the same age as Killer Mike. He could hardly speak at some points during his speech. Holding back tears, he talked about how he reacted to the news: “When I stood in front of my wife and I hugged her and I cried like a baby, I said, ‘These motherf***ers got me today.’” Although showing his softer side and letting his emotions out, Killer Mike also spoke of a call to action. “These motherf***ers will not own tomorrow. We will not live in your fear. We will not accept your changes. We are not going to keep playing that race card, because we know you don’t value my skin.” 

Killer Mike is one of the few outspoken and political artists currently. For a rapper whose dad was a police officer, this case has significant meaning for him and it shows. With so many other artists who have much longer reaches and pull remaining silent, it’s refreshing and necessary in these times for more people to speak out. With his voice cracking, Killer Mike ended his four-and-a-half minute speech by yelling, “Let’s go!,” and started their set with “Run the Jewels.”

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