Recently after an inspirational and politically engaging BET Awards show, Jay-Z debuted his I Got the Keys video depicting what might be loosely interpreted as him following the lead of outspoken wife, Beyoncé, and coming out as a more vocal supporter of efforts to combat the system of white supremacy through the economic empowerment of Black people. While Jay-Z and Beyoncé are both masters of taking their time to craft the perfect product and selecting the optimal moment to release it to the masses, another rapper has mastered uplifting his community whenever and wherever he has the opportunity.
Atlanta hip-hop station Hot 107.9 recently got a chance to sit down with Killer Mike, and he went in on the recent police killings of Black men.
“Fifteen miles outside of Atlanta, Georgia, I’m afraid I will be murdered. And I’m tired of living in an environment where this city is the only place in this country I feel safe as a Black person,” Mike began after praising the Atlanta Police Department for their reputation of treating all races fairly.
Given their unique situation compared with other people of color across the country, Mike believes Black ATLiens have a unique responsibility.
“People who live in Atlanta, we owe the rest of the country something. We owe them our outrage. We don’t have to burn our city down, but what we can do is go down to your banks tomorrow,” said Killer Mike. “You can say ‘until you as a corporation start to speak on our behalf, I want all my money, and I’m taking all my money to Citizens Trust’.”
His suggested approach has worked before.
“Apartheid ended in South Africa because students in America said…we’re not supporting any corporation that supports the apartheid and the enslavement of people who look like us,” the rapper said, as he often demonstrates his knowledge of history.
Mike believes that same phenomenon that created change internationally can be recaptured by making waves in a city like Atlanta, which would be felt across the country.
“Atlanta is one of the three to [five] richest cities in this country, but one of the biggest wealth disparities. So, Black people, take your money. Stop taking your money to Buckhead for a month. Don’t you shop north of Greenbriar [Parkway] for a month, and see what happens then,” Mike continued. “If you wake up the political establishment in this city, they will nationally go to other cities and say ‘hey man, you know those Negroes in Atlanta who got it pretty good, they upset. And if they upset it’s a problem nationally.’ If you stop spending money in Atlanta, nationally it becomes a problem.”
Killer Mike is calling for celebrities, pro athletes in particular, to step up and take charge.
“If all the Black athletes in Atlanta don’t show up for work on the same day, that’s a problem for that stadium that’s getting built. If Dwight Howard says I won’t play a game for the Hawks until, nationally, the NBA says something against this – now what are we prepared to do?” the firebrand activist exclaimed.
Everyone has a role to play.
“We need one million people in Atlanta to take one hundred dollars out of their existing account. Put one hundred dollars into a Citizens Trust account. Let one hundred million dollars move into that. Take that one hundred million dollars and promise fifteen to eighteen thousand dollar loans for Black businesses or small homes,” Mike reasoned.
Meanwhile, Jay-Z continues to find his voice. He recently released Spiritual, a song he has been sitting on for years, as a protest to the recent murders of Black men by incompetent police.
“I made this song a while ago, I never got to finish it. Punch (TDE) told me I should drop it when Mike Brown died, sadly I told him, “this issue will always be relevant.” I’m hurt that I knew his death wouldn’t be the last…I’m saddened and disappointed in THIS America – we should be further along. WE ARE NOT. I trust God and know everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man…it’s tough right now. Blessings to all the families that have lost loved ones to police brutality,” Jay-Z said in a statement released with the song.
It is clear that Killer Mike has actively sought out advice from the previous generation of civil rights leaders, and he is a full-throated advocate for oppressed people in this country. This economic empowerment plan is a “major key alert”, as I Got the Keys producer DJ Khaled likes to say, which all Black people should listen to and follow through on.