Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, one-half of duo Run the Jewels, made headlines recently following the grand jury decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Killer Mike and his musical partner, El-P, were onstage in St. Louis, just miles from Ferguson, and before the show began Mike delivered an impassioned, heartfelt speech straight from the gut, eventually breaking down into tears.
"You motherf--kers got me today," he said. "You kicked me on my ass today because I have a 20-year-old son and a 12-year-old son, and I'm so afraid for them today."
Mike has been one of the most consistent voices throughout the events in Ferguson, penning op-eds and appearing on CNN to speak his mind. He recently spoke to CBC Radio's Q for what was supposed to be an interview about his new album, Run the Jewels 2, but which turned out to be an emotional and passionate discussion about race, respect and reparations in the U.S. Below are a few of the highlights, but you can listen to the whole interview in the player at the bottom of this post.
"There's never been a time in American history since the day Crispus Attucks was the first one killed in the American Revolutionary War to right now, there has never been a time that blacks have not been a positive contribution to this country, and even with that said, our skin is a scarlet letter, and that is just a tremendous burden to have to bear."
"I didn't think that when I became an adult that the same conversation my grandparents had to have with me about inequality and racism and evil, the same things that as a teenager I had to learn myself, I didn't think I would be explaining those things to my 17-year-old daughter and seven-year-old daughter."
"My father was a police officer ... my children are taught to respect authority ... but even a 17-year-old girl wants to know why an 18-year-old boy was denied due process."
"Hope is something that black people need to restore on a daily basis.... Hope is making sure that your boys make it home from school without a police encounter. Hope. Do I have hope that we will be treated fairly in the next five or 10 years? I have absolutely no hope of that based on the last 51 years. Based on the last 100 years and based on the last 400 years. I have no hope of that. But I have hope that my community can do something different.... I have hope, but you know hope don't buy groceries. Hope doesn't change things. "