Rapper, activist, entrepreneur Michael Render, aka Killer Mike, who is most recently the host and executive producer of Trigger Warning on Netflix, joined Charlamagne tha God for the most recent episode of Emerging Hollywood to discuss segregation, gun rights, policing, reparations and more.
“I grew up in a totally black city, essentially,” Render said of his Atlanta upbringing. “It was over 50 percent black. The leadership was black, the police chief was black, my teachers were black.” Render said this experience showed him “we do good and bad — I learned to keep an eye on those in power.”
With a grandmother who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and a libertarian grandfather who “believed desegregation was the worst thing to ever happen to black people,” Render’s work comes with a strong message, which he credits to television. “PBS taught me that it’s OK to put a message in what you’re doing. It’s OK to be overtly positive in that message. I got that directly from Public Broadcasting. When I watched the Mister Rogers documentary, I cried like a baby. I’m like a student of him and Tupac.”
Render is also a notorious second amendment supporter, acknowledging the issue with gun violence in both black and white communities. “Our gun problem is easy to fix,” he says of violence, specifically in the black community. “Jobs and education fix our gun problems. Provide jobs. Provide an environment in which young fathers get the encouragement they need to be fathers.”
“In terms of white boys shooting up high schools, I don’t know those answers,” Render says, “because culturally, that’s not where I am. I know why our boys are doing what they’re doing. Our boys just want some money.”
Charlamagne has made his mark in the political climate this year by asking presidential candidates their stance on reparations, a dialogue to which the rapper lent his point of view, saying, “If we’re simply saying, ‘What do you have for us?’ Then that’s just like asking for welfare.”
Render argues a land lottery should be part of reparations plans. “I’m not criticizing the movement, because I want the movement to prevail. If you’re an American descendent of a slave, I want some type of reparations — but before we get to that part, what are we asking for?”
New episodes of Emerging Hollywood, hosted by Charlamagne tha God, are available every Thursday on THR.com/EmergingHollywood.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.