Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to present Killer Mike with Change Maker Award

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

The inaugural award will be given at the historic APEX Museum during the 2020 Billboard Music Awards

The 2020 Billboard Music Awards will be broadcast live from Los Angeles, but it’ll have Atlanta all over it thanks to the first-ever recipient of the Billboard Change Maker Award.

Michael “Killer Mike” Render will receive the honor when the ceremony airs Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. on NBC, the network and Dick Clark Productions announced Monday.

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Killer Mike, who is one half of the local hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, will be presented the award by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. It’ll happen at the historic APEX (African American Panoramic Experience Museum) on Auburn Avenue.

Not only a rapper, Killer Mike has also been a social justice activist for years. After tearfully discussing the peaceful-turned-violent protests that erupted in the city over the summer in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, he penned an op-ed in the AJC calling for planning and strategizing.

“With each instance of police terror, Black people have a question. Will this be the instance when the state finally acts to protect our lives and our interests? Yet our fraught relationship with law enforcement and the judicial system casts doubt on the possibility of justice. Each time an officer commits an act of violence, and walks away unpunished, a part of the Black community dies. A part of our hope dies,” he wrote in part.

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The Grammy winner has been organizing since he was 15-years-old and throughout the two decades he’s spent in the music industry, he’s played a pivotal role in social justice and civil rights movements. He has lead national voter registration initiatives in the Black community and launched opportunities for Black businesses to succeed by educating community leaders and members — youth, in particular — on the significance of entrepreneurship and financial responsibility.

“This award highlights and recognizes the attributes of a true social justice warrior in the field of music who has made exemplary strides to lead the community in positive change making advocacy,” said Datwon Thomas, MRC’s VP, Cultural Media and Consulting Producer for the Billboard Music Awards in a statement. “In partnership with a diverse committee of colleagues at MRC and our cultural inclusion committee, BLAC, we selected Killer Mike for his contributions to the current movement and culture and his tangible efforts to make national and grassroots change.”

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The Billboard Change Maker Award recognizes a singer, musician or band that “speaks truth to power through their music, celebrity and community. They are socially conscious, politically aware, active in their community and charitable with time, money and/or influence to improve the lives of others,” the press release said.

Killer Mike’s upcoming award follows the news that he plans to open a digital bank for Black and Latino consumers.

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