Anyone familiar with Killer Mike’s work wouldn’t be surprised that things got political when he appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show last night. Bernie Sanders 2016 and the rapper’s thoughts on what white Americans can do to improve the nation’s racial climate were among the key topics discussed.
Killer Mike’s appearance on Colbert was largely a reiteration of previous statements he had made about Bernie leading into the election season. Before diving into politics, the member of hip-hop duo Run the Jewels briefly touched on the the groups’s upcoming album RTJ3 and parenthood — including Stephen’s quandary about whether or not his children’s teachers called him “Killer Mike” at PTA meetings.
Killer Mike’s music is some of the most outwardly political in the rap game, and because of that, he’s come to the forefront of artists within the genre speaking out about who the best choice for America’s next president would be. The major force in underground hip-hop has been clear in his message: vote Sanders in 2016.
Appearing on Colbert, he specifically laid out why Bernie is his candidate of choice. Killer Mike even compared him to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and said that we may be living on a planet devastated by nuclear war if we don’t vote Sanders this year.
“Dr. King in his last two years of life talked about a poor people’s campaign organizing unions on the behalf of poor workers, organizing against a war machine that was perpetuating violence in Vietnam. Bernie is the only politician who has consistently for 50 years taken that social justice platform into politics. And right now we have an opportunity to elect someone who is directly out of the philosophy of Kingian non-violence, someone who cares about poor people, women, gays, blacks, people who don’t look like him.”
Killer Mike’s praise of Sanders extended to much of his other thoughts in the interview with Stephen. The musician spoke about how important it was for white people — and others holding positions of power and privilege — to reach out to people whose experiences differ from their own. This idea is key to Bernie’s political message, and one of the primary reasons the two have bonded to form a support system.
“Get outside the college environment, find a child who is marginal or is doing exceptional — who is a minority, who doesn’t look like you, not of the same religion, not of the same background. Help that child matriculate into college… Help them by mentoring them. Don’t give them gifts, don’t make yourself feel good… Teach them the path that you were taught to become a more successful human being… What you’re gonna get out of that experience, is another human being who has taken full advantage of an educational system that can help them in their community, but it grows you as a a human being to have empathy… for someone who doesn’t look like you.”
Killer Mike was also heavily critical of how slow the evolution has been for white Americans to take on the problems of black and working-class America, going as far as to say that white people “are a lot more blind than I thought.” An ignorance, he told Colbert, that is often by choice. In a six-part interview series with Sanders that was released mid-December, this issue was covered in a segment about social justice: Bernie argued that he was different than others in the 2016 race because he genuinely cared about constituents.
Intrigued by Killer Mike’s words on Colbert? You can check out his full set of interviews on voting for Bernie Sanders 2016.
[Image via Joshua Lott/Getty Images]