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Killer Mike Burns DJ Envy in Public Vs. Private Education Debate

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While appearing on The Breakfast Club to promote his new show Trigger Warning, Killer Mike got in a heated debate over public schools with DJ Envy.

The seemingly unlikely conversation on education began from a discussion on the importance of supporting each other in our communities. A sentiment we can all agree with, Killer Mike emphasized building Black and buying Black. In recent years, the rapper has promoted the purchase of stocks and real estate, along with developing financial knowledge to extend the community lifespan of Black currency. The conversation had a positive tone, but things shifted when the topic moved to education.

Black Educators Empower

Angela Yee asked Killer Mike how he navigates his children’s educations at institutions where there are hardly any Black children. Proudly, he shared they attend public school surrounded by Black students and educators. This brought Killer Mike to recall his youth.

“I went to a school named Collier Heights Elementary School. You guys can Google Collier Heights, it’s a nationally recognized neighborhood; Black people gentrified this neighborhood from poor white people. [They] sent the poor white people on out to Cobb County and Mableton. They gentrified it. Everybody lived in this neighborhood, from working class Blacks like my grandparents to Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s parents to former [Georgia House Of Representatives member] Billy McKinney. This school was a great school because rich Black people lived in my neighborhood too. So, I was afforded a great education. I then went on to Frederick Douglass High School; Frederick Douglass was the greatest abolitionist of the 19th century [and] the most photographed person of the 19th century. So essentially, I’m talking about the Barack Obama of his time”.

Killer Mike declared the pride and confidence he has comes from attending schools named from several “Black educators and emancipators”. Noting that seventy-percent of the schools in Atlanta are named for such, he said, “I don’t care if I was a C-student, I had a sense of pride that most Black children didn’t have because they were not in a circle of pride.” Like many of us experienced, his educators also attempted to rally greatness from him by using the same anecdotal cliché of an “imaginary group of White kids” that pose significant competition. He commented that the weight of it all gave him purpose and thus, prepared him for future dissension.

“So, by the time I met White children, I was an equal. You can’t tell me my skin look like poo. ‘Why y’all skin look like bird-poo? What you talkin’ ‘bout, lame?’ I was already prepared. What I wasn’t was unconfident.”

There is Value in Public Education

When it came to real estate, Killer Mike admits his first purchases were businesses. He recalled comedic legend Dick Gregory took offense to that. At the time he had not fathomed the value in establishing community centric education facilities. Hammering the importance of education, he said upon meeting the multi-faceted activist, Gregory chastised him for not taking initiative.

“I own a third of a block in Atlanta! The second block next to me was bought by five white people who didn’t even know each other, and they started a Montessori school within three months! N*gga, do something! I used to wonder to myself why is Dick Gregory so mad, he cussed me and Tip (T.I.) out the first time we met him. He said, ‘What y’all n*ggas gon’ do? March? The same sh*t we been doing for 50 years? They gon’ tell you to march, you gotta be off the street by 7 o’clock. If you ain’t out, we gon’ kill you.’ The schools seem better because we’re buying into that. Why are we not starting our own academies and supporting them? Why are we not supporting historically Black colleges and universities?’”

Redlining Internalized Prejudices

Unlike Killer Mike, Charlamagne and DJ Envy send their children to predominantly White private institutions. Believing educations from private schools are more valuable in the long run, Envy just couldn’t see the merit in attending a public institution. He noted the opportunities he received via school name recognition and choice curriculum were incredibly superior when compared to what public schools offered. Envy added while his children attend private schools, they still play sports in predominantly Black areas. Killer Mike was not impressed with DJ Envy’s rebuttal and neither am I.

Blackness = Greatness

“With all the great education you got, you turned out to be a DJ and a real estate investor.” Insisting he wasn’t reading him, Killer Mike explained they both forged careers from the investment of their talents. Still, he was perplexed why someone who admits their children have been on the receiving end of racial slurs would not opt to send them to predominantly Black institutions or HBCUs.

“Either you’re going to choose to be excellent and you’re going to do better, or you gon’ sit your chump ass down and you’re going to keep being the same sh*t over and over. But you can’t complain and say that greatness was not given to you. If you walk in a school named Frederick Douglass High School and you do not have the initiative as a parent, or as a student, to walk up and step up to that greatness, but you’ll do it at St. Pious? You’ll do it at St. Michael? Man, you’re a chump.”

Feeling attacked by the truth of Killer Mike’s statements, DJ Envy was unable to see the overall problem: What are we doing to ensure that working class children are given access to the same education and confidence as the wealthy?

There is no short supply of greatness in Black communities, but there is indeed a desert of investment. We will make no progress so long as we have public figures like DJ Envy who reinforce the dated notion that PWIs set the standard for success. Without continuing discussion and providing support for Black educators and HBCUs, we will see the importance and attendance of such institutions decline right along with the condition of public schools.

Killer Mike won, period.

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In The Middle: Of A ‘Black Parade’

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12 Year-Old Keedron Bryant Signed to Warner Records

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“OOHHH THANK YA” is all Keedron Bryant had to say on social media when news finally came out that he had signed a record deal with Warner Records.

Amidst all the difficult news we’ve been facing these past few weeks, we wanted to give you something to smile about. You might remember Keedron Bryant, the 12-year-old boy who went viral after posting a video of himself singing “I Just Wanna Live,” a song written by his mother that tells of being Black in America and just wanting to live.

Keedron’s performance was noticed by everyone from former president Barack Obama, who referred to him and posted the performance in a statement on the murder of George Floyd, to comedian Ellen Degeneres, who closed her show with his full video. 

Just when we thought this story couldn’t give us any more feels, it was announced that Keedron was officially signed to Warner Records and his viral hit would be released on all platforms Friday, June 19, otherwise known as Juneteenth, a day marking the end of slavery in America. 

Congratulations are definitely in order for Keedron Bryant.

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Netflix CEO Donates $120 Million to HBCU’s

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Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, along with his wife, Patty Quillin, are donating $120 million dollars in total to Morehouse College, Spelman College, and the United Negro College Fund. The $120 million will go towards scholarships for the students. Each college will get $40 million.

According to the United Negro College Fund, this is the largest single donation by individuals.

In a statement Hastings and Quillin said, “We’ve supported these three extraordinary institutions for the last few years because we believe that investing in the education of black youth is one of the best ways to invest in America’s future.”

This isn’t Hastings’ and Quillin’s first time donating to HBCU’s and minority education. In 1997, the two began supporting the KIPP charter school network which helps black and latino students. In 2016, Hastings created a $100 million dollar education fund for black and latino scholarships.

“HBCUs have a tremendous record, yet are disadvantaged when it comes to giving. Generally, white capital flows to predominantly white institutions, perpetuating capital isolation. We hope this additional $120 million donation will help more black students follow their dreams and also encourage more people to support these institutions — helping to reverse generations of inequity in our country,” says Hastings and Quillin.

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