DeKalb enlists rapper Killer Mike for coronavirus ad campaign

Rapper Killer Mike attends the REVOLT & AT&T Summit on Oct. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles.

Credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

DeKalb County plans to spend $200,000 on an ad campaign encouraging folks to stay safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

And they've enlisted Atlanta rapper and activist Killer Mike to drop the knowledge.

“I don’t want to see people who look like me die unnecessarily because of cabin fever,” the rapper, whose government name is Michael Render, said in a news release distributed by the county.

“Let’s stay out of them streets. Take it from Mike and Mike: Stay home if you can. Mask up if you can’t.”

ExploreMORE: Complete coronavirus coverage from the AJC

The second “Mike” in that equation is DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, who said he enlisted Killer Mike for the ad campaign after “witnessing young people packing parks, gathering in large groups and street racing during the pandemic.”

DeKalb County has seen the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. And zip-code level data suggests that, like in many other parts of the state at the country, DeKalb's predominantly African American communities are bearing the brunt of the virus.

Thurmond said he hopes Killer Mike’s voice will better reach young black residents.

“The CDC is distributing important life-saving information, but the messenger needs to speak directly to communities most impacted,” Thurmond said.

“Many of our teenagers and young adults live in multi-generational homes, and while they might not get sick from the virus, they could spread it to their parents or grandparents with devastating results.”

The county said the advertising campaign will run on radio, in print ads and on billboards.

Officials did not immediately respond to questions about funding for the ads. But earlier Tuesday, Thurmond said he planned to use $250,000 from a federal CARES grant to pay for a “education and information campaign.”

In tangentially related news: Killer Mike and comrade El-P, who make up the duo Run the Jewels, announced the release date for their next album on Tuesday.

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