In a drama that played out over the weekend and into Monday morning, outspoken rapper Killer Mike saw an interview that he did with the National Rifle Association’s TV network — in which he advocated for gun rights for black citizens — aired on the network during March for Our Lives on Saturday, giving the impression that he was opposed to the march.
He clarified the situation in two Instagram posts on Sunday night, leading with a Senegalese proverb that “there can be no peace without understanding” and citing inspiration from Martin Luther King, he said that he sat for an interview with “people who I might not always agree with,” the NRA, about black gun ownership. “That interview was used a week later by NRA-TV to disparage a very noble campaign that I actually support, March for Our Lives.
“I want to say I’m sorry, guys,” he continued. “I’m sorry that an interview I did about a minority — black people in this country — and gun rights was used as a weapon against you guys. That was unfair to you and it was wrong… As you ally, and I am your ally, I want to say that many of the people I organize with were at that march. … I am an ally and an advocate for you always.”
A quote from the interview was posted at the height of the march on Saturday — at around 12:30 p.m. ET — by NRA-TV, in which Mike said:
“I told my kids on the school walkout, ‘I love you, [but] if you walk out that school, walk out my house,'” he said.
“We are a gun-owning family, we are a family that my sister farms, we are a family where we’ll fish and hunt, but we are not a family that jumps on every single thing that an ally of ours does because some stuff we just don’t agree with.”
Mike initially responded defensively to the criticism he received from the interview, but the situation seemed to become clearer as the hours went by, and he ultimately clarified his position in a pair of Instagram posts on Sunday night.
The NRA did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment; a rep for Killer Mike said it was unclear whether the rapper will have further comment beyond his multiple social media posts.
“My interview with said organization, who we all don’t agree with, was supposed to be something that continued a conversation … about African-American gun ownership,” he continued. “Why is that even important? … Up until 54 years ago we were in virtual apartheid and some would argue that we still are today. … some of our nuances are subtly different than [those of] our allies, and … we have to make sure that there are certain rights and demands that we make for our community. That’s all my interview was about, it was done a week before your march, it should never have been used to contrast with your march, and I think [that’s] wrong. To the young people who worked tirelessly to organize, I’m sorry adults chose to do this, I’m sorry NRA-TV did that, I’m sorry that adults on the left and the right are choosing to use me as a lightning rod. What I want to encourage you guys to do is keep organizing.
“I do support the march and I support black people owning guns. It’s possible to do both.”
Mike received a long statement of support via Twitter from El-P, his friend and bandmate in Run the Jewels, who said that although their “many differences” are “vast and often hotly debated….i know a good person when i see one,” adding “i can not and will not ever turn my back on this man. he wouldn’t turn his on me. or you.” Mike responded, “I am so humbled to be your friend, brother & group member. I am so grateful to have an ally always. I apologize for my bull in a china store like tendencies!”
Mike also received a word of caution from Joy Reid, which he met graciously.
“Respectfully, Mike, NRA TV is not the equivalent of MSNBC, or CNN, or CBS, etc. It’s not a news network. It’s a video outlet for the NRA, designed to push their propaganda, and it’s propaganda that is demonstrably hostile to people who look like you and me.”