Michael “Killer Mike” Render

Michael “Killer Mike” Render

Rapper and Activist

For hip-hop fans, “Killer Mike” needs no introduction. A true Atlanta original, he has released six hit solo albums, as well as a number of collaborations with talents from Outkast to El-P. However, Killer Mike’s musical talents are only part of the story. He’s also an actor, social activist, and political commentator. He’s been a regular guest for Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher, as well as a campaigner for Bernie Sanders. With his animated oratory and keen analysis of the Black experience in the United States, Killer Mike has inspired a whole generation of fans to bridge the gap between entertainment and advocacy.

This year, Killer Mike gave the keynote address at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) Gala in New York City, speaking passionately in defense of free speech. In an era of extreme political polarization and anti-intellectualism, he reminded his audience that free speech is valuable for every American, whether you’re quoting Frederick Douglass or George Wallace. “Once you become in power, to use government as a bludgeon is as evil as the masters before you,” he said in his FIRE speech. Killer Mike reminds music fans and activists alike that words have power, and they need to use that power for good.

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