By Hayden Wright
When Kanye West took a meeting with president-elect Donald Trump in January, many believed it was a publicity stunt or worse—a show of support for a politician whose comments about inner cities and criminal justice have alienated the hip-hop community.
Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike takes a different view: In an interview with UK’s Channel 4, Mike said progress depends on conversations with leaders whose hostile positions are bad for the community.
“Black people shouldn’t have permanent friends or enemies, they should have permanent interest,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Dr. Martin Luther King being willing to meet with people like [governor] George Wallace, George Wallace would have not have ended up—starting as a racist bigot [and ending] as a person who found God in some way, [and] appointed more blacks to his office than any other governor since him.”
Mike cited retired football player Jim Brown’s meeting with President Trump as another example of black Americans speaking truth to (Trump’s) power.
“A musician meeting a presidential candidate isn’t important to me like Jim Brown,” he said. “Jim Brown, for the last 50 years, has fought against the oppression of all people. Him sitting with President Trump was a significant thing for me because I know on the other side of the table he was telling the truth.”