Progressive activist, rapper Killer Mike slammed for meeting with GOP governor
Atlanta rapper and progressive activist Killer Mike is facing a wave of scrutiny from Democrats over his decision to meet this week with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican.
News of the meeting first got out through the rapper, who is one half of the Run the Jewels duo.
The rapper and entrepreneur, whose real name is Michael Render, posted photos of his visit to the Atlanta State Capitol on his Instagram Wednesday afternoon and wrote about his conversation with the President Trump-allied governor.
In the post, Render quoted his partner Courtney Sills, who was also present at the meeting. Sills described a “salt of the earth” conversation between Kemp and Render.
Render also thanked those who advised him “on talking points four our community and the wider community.”
As for how the political opposites got along during the meeting, Killer Mike wrote, “I will say I was welcomed with respect. I was heard and our exchange was productive,” before thanking Kemp and his staff for meeting them.
“This is the 1st [sic] of many real and frank conversations to be had,” he wrote.
Hours later, Kemp tweeted out photos of the two shaking hands and laughing in his office.
“Today, Marty and I had a great meeting with @KillerMike,” Kemp wrote on the social media platform, referring to his wife, “We discussed how small businesses and the music industry are weathering the pandemic, the value of our skilled trade workers, and our fight to end human trafficking in Georgia. We look forward to seeing him again soon!”
Render spent much of the 2016 election campaign advocating for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). In 2020, he did the same.
Kemp, meanwhile, has been a loyal supporter of President Trump since 2016.
While the two appeared pleased with how their meeting went, Render faced considerable criticism for publicizing the photos.
The Root, an African American-focused news organization, slammed Render for appearing with Kemp in an article published Thursday.
“I can’t imagine that Killer Mike believes that the governor of making Black votes disappear has any real interest in tackling racism in Georgia or anywhere else, so I guess the real question here is: Who was this meeting even for?” columnist Zack Linley asked in the piece.
“As far as I can tell, Kemp is just following the GOP trend of parading Black faces around to show the Republican Party isn’t the ‘old white man party’ it’s perceived as being while continuing to ignore Black issues and actively opposing anti-racism efforts. For that, Mike gets a temporary seat at the proverbial table where he can figuratively serve the Kool-Aid.”
On Twitter, the criticism continued, though Render responded with confidence that the meeting was the right move.
In multiple tweets, the rapper discussed how creating change sometimes involves doing things that appear unpopular. In this case, he argued, following the unpopular route of meeting with a hard-line Republican could lead to productive change.
Render also retweeted an account named “Left-Conservatives for Biden” that wrote, “And for the inevitable partisans who will say ‘oh but Kemp got a photo op.’ He also got to listen to a powerful advocate for criminal justice reform. On this issue, we can build unconventional coalitions!”
After one user wrote to him asking if he really met with the Republican governor, the progressive activist wrote, “Absolutely. I pay taxes in Georgia and own business there. I’m checking up on my dollars At work. I also meet with my city council member, state rep and mayor.”
“I suggest all Georgians do the same,” he added.
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