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On Colbert: Killer Mike explains how he ended up making that powerful speech Friday

Rapper Killer Mike spoke out against the killing of George Floyd and against rioters in the city of Atlanta.
Rapper Killer Mike spoke out against the killing of George Floyd and against rioters in the city of Atlanta.

Atlanta rapper and activist Killer Mike had no plans to speak last Friday during Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ press conference attempting to quell violence during protests over George Floyd’s death.

He explained to Stephen Colbert on his CBS talk show that his words were entirely spontaneous, and he was originally  there to support his friend and rap legend T.I. AKA Clifford “Tip” Harris.

» OPINION | Killer Mike: Now’s time to plot, plan, mobilize, strategize

He said he and T.I. had spend the day promoting their restaurant Bankhead Seafood via food truck. They delivered fish to Miami rapper Noreaga, who was working at T.I.’s music studio in town, when an aide to Bottoms called T.I. for a favor: could he come down and speak after the mayor and calm folks down?

T.I. asked Killer Mike to join him. Killer Mike — whose real name is Mike Render — resisted at first but after an hour chose to speak.

“He spoke and then beckoned me to speak,” Killer Mike said. “All I said was purely in my heart.”

Killer Mike said his testimony was addressing Atlantans directly.

“I just wanted to save the city,” he said. “I didn’t want us to destroy what we have because hope exists here. And I wanted the black officers to be aware that this was in no way unappreciating what they do, but at the same time, I wanted the protesters [to know] that we can do it differently... Black America should treat Atlanta like a land where anything is possible for us. It’s not perfect, but anything has proven possible here.”

RELATED: Who is Killer Mike?

Killer Mike, whose real name is Michael Render, is one-half of the Atlanta-based hip-hop duo Run The Jewels.

Killer Mike called himself a "mobilizer" but credited several non-profit groups that are the grassroots organizers on the ground such as The New Georgia Project, Live FreeMovement for Black Lives and Next Level Boys Academy. The protests are fine, he said, but he encouraged viewers to join groups that engender concrete change.

When Colbert asked him what white people can do to help blacks, he said they need to provide financial help and sweat equity to the aforementioned groups.

He also suggested white people watch a controversial social experiment by anti-racism activist and educator Jane Ellliott on YouTube which Elliott has been doing for decades.

“She teaches people about racism that is given to them, and they aren’t even aware,” Killer Mike said. “She then asks the question, “How black people are treated in this country, if you want to be treated like that, stand up. No one stands up.”

Elliott's exercises were on the forefront of the whole concept of diversity training but academic studies have shown her efforts didn't necessarily lead to long-term reduction in prejudice.

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