This Fourth Of July is a complicated one for many reasons — good luck traveling! — especially living as a Black American during a period of peak social unrest.
It’s understandable that many of us out there aren’t in the mood for celebrating or acknowledging today as Independence Day altogether. However, rap veteran Killer Mike used the grand occasion of his first solo release in a decade to remind us of the death of a Black war hero that led to the Fourth being the holiday it’s become today.
“Run” is a powerful sonic statement that also features a verse from currently incarcerated fellow emcee Young Thug and a thought-provoking intro from Dave Chappelle about being a “nigga in America.” The equally-polarizing music video (seen above) depicts the ATL rap icon as leader of a Black platoon of familiar melanated faces during what could be seen as the new American Revolution. Bun B, another Southern hip-hop king, makes a well-placed cameo and it all ends with a still image that directly pays homage to Paul Revere’s 1770 engraving of the Boston Massacre.
In speaking on the overall inspo and honoring a hero, Killer Mike exclusively told Complex, “There would be no Fourth of July without a Black man, and the fact that Crispus Attucks was the first person to die on the behalf of what would become the republic called America.” He went on to elaborate on his point by stating, “When people argue about [Critical Race Theory] and stuff like that, they’re arguing over something that you learn in law school, post-undergrad, and how systems have been formed to oppress you. Meaning: redlining in Chicago, refusing to insure Black homeowners in Atlanta early on. That’s CRT, and that’s something for the more mature mind.”
Read the impact of Killer Mike’s full statement regarding his take on how Black history is taught below, via Complex:
“What I advocate for is: Why aren’t all American children learning about Frederick Douglass? He was one of the greatest diplomats of our time. Why aren’t they learning about Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. Du Bois? All of these people are Americans that greatly contributed to the greatness of this republic in this country. The first person to die in the Boston Massacre was a Black man named Crispus Attucks—he was the first person to take a bullet. The fact that all Americans don’t know that is a problem for me. We’ve contributed greatly to this republic, and it amazes me when you get on Twitter and people say, ‘Well why do Black people get a Black history month?’ Because your ass won’t teach true history all year. You get the comfort of thinking George Washington cut down a fucking cherry tree and you get to remain in this blissful ignorance and you never have to confront the fact that since 1619, Blacks have been here contributing to this republic. You have to say to yourself that in 1776, the person that went to war for us first was a Black man.
I wanted people to understand that patriotism is not exclusive to white people—this republic is not here simply because of white Anglo-Saxon protestants. You have been here every step of the way. In fact, everyone has been here every step of the way, whether it was a mass Chinese immigration years ago or the floodgates of Ellis Island for Italians and Irish people before they were deemed white; they were an ethnic group that had to serve themself. So for me, it’s about true patriotism. On July 4, the day where Black folks eat hot dogs and drink beer and a lot of white folks wear the American flag on their clothing, I want us to get an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, in case you didn’t learn this in high school, we need you to understand that this is a part of the greater American experience. And you’re a part of it.’ Black history month shouldn’t just be celebrated and supported by Black folks—find you somebody Black that you like. If you’re a conservative, celebrate Walter E. Williams. If you’re liberal, celebrate your Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolms, and Martins. Celebrate Mutulu Shakur. celebrate Assata Shakur who’s still on the run because she fought for something on the behalf of all of us. I refuse to not let us be a part of this experience because we’ve been a part of building this motherfucker.”
“Run” is now available to stream everywhere. Let us know what you think of Killer Mike’s new single, and enjoy today however you decide to celebrate and whatever you decide to call it. Just remember to enjoy!
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