Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike talked racial inequality and why he endorsed Bernie Sanders on a recent episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The socially conscious rapper made a impassioned plea to voters as to why they should elect the Democratic hopeful, citing civil rights leader Martin Luther King, and framing it as possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Dr. King in his last two years of life talked about a poor people’s campaign, organizing unions on the behalf of poor workers, organizing against a war machine that was perpetuating violence in Vietnam,” he said. “Bernie Sanders is the only politician who has consistently for 50 years taken that social justice platform into politics. Right now, we have an opportunity to elect someone who is directly out of the philosophy of King-ian non-violence. We can directly elect someone that cares about poor people, cares about women, gays, black rights, cares about lives that don’t look like his. This opportunity in history is not going to come in another 20 years.”
Killer Mike, born Michael Render, has previously joined Sanders on the campaign trail, delivering a powerful speech during a stop in Atlanta last month before sitting down with the Vermont senator for a six-part interview at his barbershop that he posted to his social media accounts.
The interview between Colbert and the sweatsuit clad rapper-activist began by discussing his family and intimidating moniker – which he received following a rap battle while growing up – but took on a more serious tone when the Late Show host turned talk to the topic of race and oppression in America.
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“If white people are just now discovering that it’s bad for black and working-class people in America, they’re a lot more blind than I thought and they’re choosing to be ignorant a lot more than I thought,” Killer Mike admitted. “The same problems we’re discussing today we discussed in 1990, 1980, 1970 and 1960.”
Colbert, who joked that he was there to speak for all white people, then asked him if there was a “systemic attempt in the United States to isolate poor and minorities to put them in communities that can be controlled.”
Killer Mike responded by saying that it wasn’t just an attempt but was successful, citing former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley building highways in the city to segregate people.
Colbert then inquired what white people can do to bridge the gap between the communities of color, jokingly asking whether they should start getting their hair cut at black barbershops such as his own.
“White people pay $50 for haircuts, so absolutely,” Killer Mike responded, before explaining what he tells students when he speaks at majority white colleges:
"“Get outside the college environment, find a child who is marginal or who is doing exceptional in school, who is a minority and doesn’t look like you—not of the same religion, not of the same background—and help that child matriculate into college. Help them by being a big brother or big sister. Help them by mentoring him. Don’t give them gifts. Don’t make yourself feel good by giving them a new pair of sneakers. Teach them the path you were taught to help them become a successful human being.”"
The hip-hop artist also revealed that Run the Jewels are currently working on their third album together as a follow-up to 2014’s Run The Jewels 2, and confirmed that they will once again be playing at Coachella this year. The rap group previously performed on The Late Show in September with TV on the Radio for ‘Angel Duster.’
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights on CBS. The rest of the week’s guests include Damian Lewis, America Ferrera, Matthew Broderick and a performance by Kacey Musgraves.