We’re not sure that Killer Mike knows how to bite his tongue, or curtail his opinion for the comfort of others, but that doesn’t mean that the Atlanta MC goes about spewing his thoughts with no regard. Mike agreed to do an interview with MTV on July 13, after the George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, but Killer, who is currently on tour with his production partner EL-P to promote their excellent new Run the Jewels album became elusive in the hours after the verdict was delivered. He later told that he had second-thoughts about taking part of an interview; he wanted the chance to fully assess the situation and what it all means. MTV News published excerpts of the conversation last Friday; here’s it is in full.
When the verdict was dealt, what was your initial reaction? What do you remember feeling and thinking?
Honestly man, I was just numb. I still don’t know what I feel. I cried. I was coming off stage and someone told me the verdict. I just wept. I wept. Probably for about 30 minutes until it was time to get back on stage. I don’t know what to say. Like, I really just don’t know what to say when you’re dealing with a popular culture that doesn’t regard black boys as being human. And I’m not just talking about white America. We are a community that acts as if we are afraid of our own boys. You know how they say in those polygamist compounds that when most boys reach a certain age, the father feels threatened. They put the boys out. It’s almost as sick and twisted as that. We regard our boys, and I’m talking about America. Not just black America, not just white America — Americans regard black boys as volatile and violent things and it’s very sickening. And it’s very depressing because we have forged this patriarchy of sorts that feels that somehow other men are better or more and the lighter the color of the other man, the better. I’m the father of two black boys. As the son of a black father, it’s just a very frightening, sick, twisted and insane way of thinking.
A real question that people are asking themselves is, “What do we tell our children?”
You know, my dad taught me what to do when engaged by strangers, what to do when engaged by police. As a father, you got to be 100 percent real because you got to suffer the same burden as they suffer. I let my boys know, if you are engaged by a policeman, don’t rebel, don’t rebuttal. Say, “Yes sir.” Say, “No sir.” No matter what happens, just make sure you survive through that exchange to see your parents. I can remember being [about 15 years old] and my sister was going to her elementary school prom. A cop rolled up because some other kids were standing out there and the cop was like, “Y’all gotta move, y’all gotta go down the street.” And I told him I’m getting my sister and my grandmother and I can’t leave; I’m supposed to be here. I’m not walking down the street with those kids because I’m not with them and I don’t know what they’ve done. My dad was a city of Atlanta police officer and he had told me don’t be disrespectful to cops. Except what happened, this cop really turned on full-ass mode and put me in cuffs and put me in the car. And I wise-cracked back a little bit, like, “You’re going to have to let me out of this car, because you’re wrong and I’m right.” And I shouldn’t have been doing that, but I didn’t resist getting put in handcuffs. I didn’t resist getting put in the back of that car because I knew when my grandmother and my dad came out; they were going to hit the fucking roof because this cop was just being an asshole. And that’s exactly what happened and the cop had to let me out but I knew not to fight, not to put up or resist and deal with it.
Many are calling for stricter gun laws. You’ve been vocal in the past urging the black community to explore those rights in order to protect yourselves. Has your thoughts on that changed?
Absolutely not. Hell fucking no. You need guns now more than ever. Like essentially they told you, we’re not here to protect you. Protect yourself. Protect yourself. Protect your own community. I do not agree with the President on stricter gun laws. I don’t agree with him on that side and I never will because we are a people who aren’t even 50 years into real freedom. And we live in this hostile environment that’s a greater community and within our own community. Hell no, we shouldn’t get rid of guns, absolutely not. And we should be smarter gun advocates, so that woman [Marissa Alexander], who legally used a gun to fire a warning shot in Florida who got sentenced to 20 years would have an advocacy group. The same way we’re advocating on the part of a dead child, Trayvon Martin, for being a senseless victim of a stupid gun owner. We should be advocating for that woman who’s locked up in Florida for 20 years for being a responsible gun owner for stopping a man from kicking her ass by firing a gun. The African-American community has to grow up and mature past the government protecting us, saving us, or doing things for us period. We are not the children of this government. And we have to stop acting as though we are.
There’s another case in Florida; Jordan Davis. Another young man, 17 years old, same age, who was shot in the gas station.
I remember he and his friends had the music loud. And a guy complained about it and fired into the vehicle and shot him. I have not been following this closely. I’ve been waiting on some national stuff to come out and hear what they have to say but I have not followed it closely, but I will be.
It’s definitely one to keep your eye on. I think the question is how come the media isn’t covering this story as much as they did Trayvon?
Well we brought the attention to Trayvon Martin. The attention to Trayvon Martin was brought along by the black radio, black talk radio. Maurice Garland and I hosted a show on WALK 1330 in Atlanta. We were testing out to get our own talk show. Hopefully it gets picks up and we’re back in August. But that’s who brought that awareness. We got to be looking for the same people to bring this thing to light. For me, it’s almost like you can take a dart and throw it at a map and if it hit the urban area, you’re going to find a story like this capacity. The greater question for me is, what are we going to do to heal this evil white male fear that gets preached to white males in this country every day?
Where does the black community go from here?
Where do we go from here? Close your communities. Close your communities off. Close them off. Black people need to not support. The only thing you should be supporting in Florida is the gas station you have to fill up if you going to visit your relatives. You should support no resorts, no hotels. If you go to Florida to visit, stay with your auntie. Don’t go in a hotel. Don’t go to Miami for Memorial Day. Don’t go to Daytona Beach for spring break. Don’t do anything until that state shows you that we are willing to fully prosecute, equally and fairly, according to the humanity of the victim and not the color.