Killer Mike found himself in hot water recently over an interview he gave to NRA TV about race and gun ownership that touched on the youth-led anti–gun control movement. “I told my kids on the school walkout, ‘I love you. If you walk out of that school, walk out of my house,’ ” he said of the student protests against gun violence earlier this month while appearing on Noir. In a pair of videos posted to Twitter on Sunday, Killer Mike apologized, not for his specific remarks, but for the timing of his NRA TV interview, which was aired just a few days before the March for Our Lives. In the videos, he speaks directly to the young March for Our Lives organizers and repeatedly refers to himself as “ally” of the movement.
“There’s a Senegalese proverb that says there can be no peace without understanding, so I took a move out of my heroes’ book, Dr. Martin Luther King, the founder of Kingian nonviolence, and I sat with people who I might not always agree with,” Killer Mike says in the first video. “I sat with a group called the National Rifle Association. I did an interview about black gun ownership in this era. That interview was used a week later by NRA TV to disparage a very noble campaign that I actually support.”
I, being a former youth organizer, currently an activist and organizer, respect their leadership, so I wanna say first, I’m sorry guys. I’m sorry that an interview I did about a minority, black people in this country, and gun rights, was used as a weapon against you guys. That was unfair to you, and it was wrong, and it disparaged the very noble work you’re doing. As your ally—and I am your ally, young people—I wanna say that many of the people I organize with were at that march, whether it was ending racism or ending classism or many of the people that agree with some of the social ideas, like free health care, fair wages, fair earning for women, gay and lesbian rights, black rights in particular around community policing of black men. All those things, all those people made up that march. I’m a friend and advocate to you all.
Killer Mike went on to place the blame on NRA TV for airing the interview when the network did, and added, “I’m sorry that adults on the right and the left are choosing to use me as a lightning rod.”
Meanwhile, his Run the Jewels bandmate El-P weighed in on the controversy with a statement of his own, expressing his full support of the March for Our Lives movement, writing that he is “personally inspired and blown away by the bravery and emotion of an entire generation of young people standing up and trying to change the world.” He also included an apparent dig at NRA TV:
To any organization that opposes, slanders or seeks to discredit these people trying desperately to change their world in some real way for the better, make no mistake: we aren’t on the same “side,” as I believe that any “side” that looks at empathy as a weakness and change as a threat can not be connected to the human spirit and therefore can not be just.
El-P did not include Killer Mike in that admonishment. “I don’t drop friends from my life because I disagree with them,” he wrote, calling Killer Mike a good person who “stumbles and he makes bad decisions sometimes and he doesn’t always get his messages across or even protect himself and I wanna fuckin’ strangle him ’cause it’s so stressful to watch when it could have been avoided.”