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Friday, March 30, 2012

Killer Mike explains NRA membership: Black people need protection, too!

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"The sky is falling, nobody balling, they done gave back they guns/For some tickets to the playoffs, but the Hornets, they won/N***a, we slum, kept all the guns, I gotta protect my family..." - Big Boi, "Da Art of Storytellin' Part 2"

The death of Trayvon Martin has turned into a hot-button issue on so many levels: racial perception and stereotypes, self-defense, legal protection, gun rights, even the right to bear Skittles while wearing a hoodie. Atlanta's own Killer Mike tackled all of it from his impassioned perspective on Wednesday's episode of MTV's RapFix.

In the video above, he starts out explaining why he was angered by what he describes as Jesse Jackson's attempt to turn Martin's already loaded case into political posturing to advocate for tighter restrictions on assault rifles. But Martin was killed by a handgun, Mike points out, before dismissing it as another okey doke plan for black folk to rid themselves of guns at a time when they may need them most.

Back in the late-'80s/early-'90s, when the proliferation of crack (thanks, CIA!) and the upsurge in gun violence went hand-in-hand in hoods across America, gun buyback programs were all the rage. The idea, of course, was to get deadly weapons off the streets. But the running joke/conspiracy theory at the time was that the only people tricked into relinquishing their guns were law-abiding citizens who'd need them most to protect themselves from criminals armed-to-the-teeth - or, worse yet, your friendly "neighborhood watch" paddy roller.

As Big Boi rapped in "Da Art of Storytellin' Part 2," free Hawks b-ball tickets offer little protection in the midst of Armageddon. Still, Killer Mike's admission to Sway that he's a member of the NRA came as a bit of a shock to those who recall the race-baiting rhetoric that's been known to come from that organization. (Refresher course: Bowling for Columbine.)

In an article posted by Davy D about Mike's statements and the blowback he's received - particularly regarding his NRA membership, to which someone responded by posting a YouTube video of Malcolm X encouraging black people to start their own independent gun clubs back in the day - Mike was the first to respond with a comment in defense of his position:

This Is Killer Mike. I joined the NRA as a Public display that WE as BLACKS can use that organization to "Protect" our 2cd amendment rights also. I think it be more important to stop blacks from joining the 700 club but, I digress. Here is why i joined.

My Father was a Cop. He taught me Gun Safety and has in his life been a member also. It's about using every resource available at your disposal to ensure we can have the full American Experience. The NRA offers many classes on Gun safety and gun owner responsibility and rights. These are things all Gun owners need to know. In short their practicality for advancing safe gun ownership and rights out weigh their political stance because Black NEED that knowledge in the NOW.

WE HAVE NO BLACK NRA and until we do i will continue to use the organization that my white counter parts use to "Protect" them against law makers infringing upon 2cd Amendment rights. I hunt and Fish. I shot with my father and wife. My kids will begin shooting this year. I am glad that I have an organization that has programs and classes for all of us to use at our disposal.

Malcolm has a grand idea and I will be asking my black friends to join me in organizing a shooting club.

Salute and Love.

Killer Mike also mentions in the interview with Sway that he recently joined Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network so he can be "part of the change, not just part of the complaining." Which speaks to another issue; this reckoning of leadership between the hip-hop generation and the Civil Rights' old-guard. As the former is subtly cast as a symbolic scapegoat in the tragedy, the latter rushes to its defense with hoodie marches and Sunday services. It's too soon to hypothesize over the eventual outcome of all this, but at the very least we know it won't have anything to do with Killer Mike giving up his guns.

Killer Mike's new album R.A.P. (Rebellious African People) Music is scheduled to drop May 15.

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