Bernie Sanders’ rally in Atlanta got off to a flying start Monday when hometown rapper Killer Mike took the stage to offer a passionate welcome to the Vermont senator.
“I’m talking about a revolutionary,” the hip hop star and activist told supporters. “In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that Sen. Bernie Sanders is the right man to lead this country.”
Killer Mike, who headlines “Run the Jewels” along with rapper and producer El-P, has backed Sanders for months, first offering the candidate his blessing in late June.
“Make sure that wherever you go, you take the name, the ideas, the philosophies and the ideology of Bernie Sanders and you make sure when you leave they are on fire, because they have ‘felt the bern,'” he said on Monday, channeling the campaign catchphrase.
Then, quoting from his own song “Untitled,” Killer Mike, whose given name is Michael Render, delivered a rousing introduction.
“I don’t trust the Church and I don’t trust the government, a Democrat or Republican, a pope or a bishop or those other men,” he said, “but after spending five hours tonight — after spending five hours with someone who has spent the last 50 years radically fighting for your rights in mind — I can tell you that I am very proud tonight to announce the next president of the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders!”
Earlier in the day, Killer Mike gave Sanders a taste of the town, taking the candidate out for some soul food at the Busy Bee diner. He later retweeted a fan’s tribute to their memorable meal.
Sanders, who traveled to Georgia from South Carolina, where he spent Sunday on the church circuit, is trying to win over black voters in the region. Both he and Killer Mike invoked Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in their remarks, Mike saying he came around to Sanders after the senator promised to restore the Voting Rights Act. Sanders met with King’s daughter Bernice earlier in the day.
By Gregory Krieg