You’ve gotta hand it to him, if anybody’s kept hip hop relevant in the conversation about Black economic and political empowerment this year, it’s been Killer Mike.
First, he was an outward supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign earlier this year, going as far as making appearances with him. Then he broke the internet with the #BankBlack call for Black people to take $100 and open an account with the Black-owned bank of their choosing.
But at the All Black National Convention in Atlanta this month, Mike (a.k.a. Michael Render), flat out told an audience that they “ain’t ready to revolt sh*t.”
Killer Mike known for hits like “Reagan,” “A.D.I.D.A.S.,” and “Run the Jewels” has created a space for himself in activism as much as he has in hip-hop in recent years, encouraging voting, entrepreneurship, and community work among African-Americans. So he was invited to participate in the event, which focused on those topics and others.
During a panel, in which he was joined by Malik Zulu Shabazz, founder of Black Lawyers for Justice, Judge Olu Stevens, and Ken Williams, a police reform expert, Mike asked the audience if they knew how to grow food for themselves, hunt or even use a weapon. Only a relative handful acknowledged that they could, to which Mike responded: “You ain’t ready to oppose nothing. You are as [much] a part of this system as any White person gentrifying any city.”
He said that he remembered a time when African Americans in his hometown of Atlanta kept gardens regularly and when Black Muslims represented a security force. “Black people, I love you and I love you enough to tell you, you ain’t ready to revolt sh*t.”
The remarks angered some in the audience, but garnered agreement from others as he became more impassioned. But he maintained that nobody is really ready for radical change unless they have the skills to provide themselves with the basic necessities.
“Now I’m not saying give up, I’m not saying you can’t train yourself,” he said. “But what I’m saying is if you’re not training every week, if you’re not shooting every week, if you’re not knowing how to grow your own food, arguing with me and arguing with the police ain’t gon’ do nothing.”
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