Run the Jewels rapper Killer Mike has just released a series of six videos documenting his time with Vermont senator Bernie Sanders prior to the Atlanta rally in November. The rapper, who once tried his hand at politics, has given Sanders his whole-hearted endorsement. The six videos, which are all closed captioned for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, touch on major topics important in this Democratic primary race.
The two gentlemen sat down in Michael Render’s (Killer Mike) barber shop, The SWAG Shop, for an hour-long discussion on multiple topics. The first part of the video series is a video entitled “Economic Freedom.” Killer Mike discusses what he loves about capitalism, how he learned to accept less money for doing the same job if his customers were suffering a setback. He also confronted Bernie about socialism.
“People of my community…haven’t had an opportunity to hear you simply say these are the things I think so what is socialism and what does it mean to the black community?”
Bernie Sanders answered this easily and earnestly. He mentioned a freedom most people are familiar with: freedom of speech. Most people understand that they have a basic right to go out into the street and give a speech. He then segued into what he calls economic rights.
What democratic socialism means to Bernie is the right to have the basic needs in life met: a roof over your head, food on the table, and an education.
“I think that in the richest country in the history of the world, Mike, which is what we are right now, we can do infinitely better in providing economic rights to our people. So when I talk about democratic socialism this is what I say. You have a right regardless of your income to health care. You have a right to have an education, and I think in the year 2015 you have a right to have free tuition at public colleges and universities if you have the ability.”
He then discussed the minimum wage, which he believes ought to be raised to $15 per hour. He told Killer MIke that women and men should be paid equally for their work and wants to close the wage gap.
It is, as Sanders describes, a belief in a basic standard of living. Killer Mike then noted that when a parent earns a decent wage, parents can spend more time at home with their children instead of working two or three jobs, which could makes their children more apt to stay in school than to hang out in the street because there is a strong parental role model in the home.
“But to be truly free you need economic rights, as well.”
Bernie and Killer Mike then enjoyed an interaction where the rapper expressed his appreciation for Sanders because he is the “only candidate that is inclusive of ideas” regardless of who they might benefit. He ended the video clip with three powerful words.
“You are different.”
Bernie Sanders may first appear to be an unlikely ally to Killer Mike, but the rapper’s history of social justice activism and his desire to better the lives of the Black community closely align with Sanders’ political philosophy.
The activist rapper isn’t the only celebrity with a cause who has endorsed Bernie, either. Tommy Chong, of Cheech & Chong fame, announced on Wednesday that he supports Bernie Sanders after a fan asked him if he supports the Vermon senator. Chong is a supporter of marijuana legalization.
— Tommy Chong (@tommychong) December 14, 2015
This caused a flurry of activity, mostly from fans who agreed, although a few expressed bemusement that he does not support Donald Trump.
The second video in the series has to do with social justice, where he describes why he got into politics (hint: it wasn’t to run for president), how he believes it’s an outrage to have homeless people sleeping in the street and a 51 percent unemployment rate in African-American youths.
The six-video series gives insight not only into Bernie Sanders’ philosophy and plan, but also into Michael Render’s viewpoints. Interestingly enough, Killer Mike and Sanders agree on virtually every topic with the exception of gun control. The rapper is opposed to assault weapons bans but noted that this disagreement wasn’t a deal killer.
“That doesn’t jump me off your boat. That’s not enough to get me off the Bernie Sanders bus and I’d just like other gun owners to know that.”
All six videos of the Bernie Sanders conversation can be seen on Killer Mike’s YouTube channel.
[Photo: Screen grab/Killer Mike YouTube Channel]