Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide protested US gun laws in the March for Our Lives demonstrations. Many celebrities supported the protests, including a few musicians, but among the notable exceptions was Killer Mike of Run the Jewels. Speaking in an interview with the NRA's Colion Noir on Saturday, Mike (who has supported the NRA in the past) seemed to dismiss the gun control activists as "woke" and "lackeys of the progressive movement" who he implied were only following trends. He also said that he discouraged his children from attending the student walkouts during the March and that he felt "we are raising a generation of kids where everyone gets a trophy. But in real life, everyone don’t get a trophy."
Social media roundly criticized Mike for his opinions, and last night he shared an apology and clarification of his statements on Twitter. In the videos, Mike explains that he supports the "noble" March for Our Lives protesters as an ally and that the NRA interview was conducted a week before the March, then used by the organization to disparage the student organizers without his knowledge or consent. El-P also took to Twitter to throw his support behind the March and to defend his Run the Jewels bandmate, saying that "despite our many differences (and i promise you they are vast and hotly debated) i've been around the block and I know a good person when I see one."
What's interesting is that Mike understood that the NRA interview would be used solely to "further the discussion... about African-American gun ownership," which is a thorny and complex issue in the States worth discussing.
As this very smart piece above by our friends over at Waypoint elaborates on, the dynamics between white gun ownership and black gun ownership in America are worlds apart, as the former has historically used firearms as part of their ongoing oppression of the latter. Militant groups like the Black Panther Party flipped that dynamic by arming themselves in ways that African-Americans were never allowed to be in the past, and that revolutionary rhetoric of self-defense is likely what Mike meant to espouse in the NRA interview: pro-black, anti-white-supremacy. "The solution to African-American[s] gaining freedom has heavily involved the gun," he tweeted shortly after the NRA interview aired, "Yes absolutely." From this writer's (Canadian and not Black) view, this is still a form of dangerous gun fetishization but in this case it's not about being a stubborn, would-be militiaman defending his "rightful" property from foreign invaders; it's about taking power back from the powerful.
That being said, Mike probably could've done without the nearly alt-right language he used to criticize the March for Our Lives participants, ("everyone gets trophies" is a short hop away from calling people "snowflakes") but he did provide a blanket apology for that language anyways. He also maybe has a point in his many implications that the enormous media coverage and support for March for Our Lives would probably not have been given to an entirely black-run movement with similar or same rhetoric. As always, intersectionality and the nature of privilege muddles noble causes. Watch Mike's full video statement below, as well as El-P's own statements.
Phil is on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Noisey CA.