5 Things To Know About Killer Mike’s Push For Local Political Engagement In Black America

Written by Ann Brown
Hip-hop artist and community activist Killer Mike has spent the last few years, he says, pushing for local political engagement in Black America. Hip Hop artist and activist Killer Mike speaks during a rally with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at Morehouse College, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Hip-hop artist and community activist Killer Mike has spent the last few years, he says, pushing for local political engagement in Black America. The Run the Jewels rapper says his focus is to discourage political apathy and improve education and prison reform. He has worked on such issues as social inequality, police brutality, and systemic racism. 

In 2015, Killer Mike ran briefly as a write-in candidate to become the representative for Georgia’s 55th district in the Georgia House of Representatives. 

In 2016, he became a very vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Here are 5 things to know about Killer Mike’s push for local political engagement in Black America.

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Stay Home?

Killer Mike recently urged Black voters to stay home if their concerns weren’t being addressed by the 2020 presidential candidates. But Killer Mike went back online to clarify what some saw as a call for Black voters to stay home.

“Onetime Bernie Sanders stumper Killer Mike walked back a call for black voters to ‘stay the f–k home’ on unless politicians meet their demands on social issues — clarifying he wanted them to ‘vote locally,’” The New York Daily News reported.

“I’m voting locally. You should vote locally,” Killer Mike said in an Instagram video. “What I mean is, when you go to that booth: Who are your judges, who are your prosecutors, who’s handling sanitation, who are your senators that are getting voted for?”

“I’m just saying, when you vote, ask for something back … So go vote,” he added. “Now all my so-called Democratic progressive friends can stop calling me scared as f–k … I still love you all, and hopefully we’ll smoke legal weed one day.”

Killer Mike ended by urging lawmakers to “take marijuana off the schedule 1” to “save black people from going to jail.”

“Black Voters in states like Georgia this is your chance to MAKE A DEMAND and have it met! Don’t remain a pasty (sic) and pet simply doing what u are told,” he posted.

Demand Attention

Killer Mike wants to hold politicians accountable for promises to address the needs of the Black community. “If leaders failed to address concerns on jobs, marijuana decriminalization, and police brutality,” Killer Mike continued, “Black voters should stay home. Get something or give NOTHING.”

All In

Killer Mike doesn’t just demand change from the sidelines, he has jumped into the fray himself. He ran for office. And in an interview with Noisey, he outlined his reasons for making his political aspirations public. “The reason why I did it, besides the fact that I think politicians need to understand that people from the regular constituencies are willing to run against them, I wanted to make people aware that the election was even happening.”

He added: “There are a few decent candidates that people should look into and they should get out and vote. A lot of times elections are lost and the hope of the public is lost because they don’t turn out. So if I, as a celebrity, can get people to pay attention to the fact that there is a vote going on period, then my job is done.”

“Vote Locally, When You Vote, Ask For Something Back”

In November 2016, Killer Mike posted comments to his Instagram account encouraging Black voters to “stay the fuck home” if the politicians seeking their vote did not offer policy changes that would work for them.

He later clarified his position in a video, also posted to Instagram. “I am voting locally,” he said. “You should vote—locally. And what I mean is, when you go to that booth…Who are your judges? Who are your prosecutors? Who are the senators that you are voting for? Get out and vote, I’m just saying, when you vote, ask for something back. So, go vote.” Watch the full video below. Near the end, Killer Mike reiterates his opinion that marijuana should be decriminalized: “Take marijuana off Schedule 1, it’ll save Black people from going to jail.”

Get Out The Vote             

In a video shot in front of an Atlanta polling station and posted on Instagram, Killer Mike spoke of how voter suppression affects Black communities and how it is important for Black people to vote. He said at the time: “We have a statewide election going on in Georgia where we pick our governor and our lieutenant governor. We vote on a few amendments, like a forestry amendment we have. There’s a homestead exemption for people 64-and-over. So, we’re voting on important issues trying to take care of our community.”