Music

Killer Mike Responds To Criticism Over His Meeting With Conservative Governor Brian Kemp

Along with with being one half of the rap duo Run The Jewels, Killer Mike is a known political activist. The rapper has publicly supported Bernie Sanders‘ presidential campaign and spoken at press conferences in his state. Earlier this week, Mike met with Georgia’s conservative governor, Brian Kemp, to discuss policies he’s advocated for in the past. The meeting drew a number of criticisms from fans who said the rapper was being used as a “prop” for Kemp’s political gain. Trying to quell the backlash, Mike and Kemp further addressed their meeting on a local radio show.

Mike and Kemp gave an overview of the topics they covered in their meeting on 95.5 WSB’s Word On The Street. “It’s really kind of interesting that some people are upset about us having that conversation. Quite honestly, we need to have more of that in today’s world, in my opinion,” the Governor said.

Starting off the summary of their their meeting, Mike applauded Kemp’s character:

“More than anything, I’m a Southerner. I’m a Black man. I’ve been raised in a traditionally Democratic city. But my state is pretty conservative, always has been. So as a Southern man, I connected pretty much instantly with him. Politics and policy don’t matter to me as much as human decency and principles, and he seemed to be a principled human being when I talked to him. I’ve only met him once, I was glad to meet him. I hope we get a chance to congregate and talk more and move Georgia to a more progressive place.”

The rapper also explained the details of their conversation, saying they discussed human trafficking in the state, legislation that will help young Black Georgians learn trade skills, as well as programs that decrease the number of incarcerated individuals.

“I told the governor I believe he has a strong chance of being a two-term governor, and if that’s going to be the case, I’d like to see minority contracts rise from 2% to between 8-10%. I’d like to see a program created, as early as high school, pushes in particular working-class poor men and African-American young men into trades because over the next 20 years, Georgia’s going to be growing. Whether it’s the port down in Savannah, where my wife is from, or the city of Atlanta, or the agriculture of southern Georgia, I’d like to see us prepare our young men to fill those jobs because we need fathers, we need husbands, and we need stability, in particular.”

Closing out the conversation Kemp said he hopes to meet with more constituents of color: “The last thing I really wanted to do is to come down and see some of his barber shops and grab a haircut and really see and experience some of what’s going on in that community and in that neighborhood, and just keep trying to learn about what the issues are in all parts of our state.”

Listen to the full conversation on The Word On The Street here.

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