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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What a Viral Twitter Thread Can Teach Us About Love and Trauma
After a chance meeting with a New York legend, Chaédria LaBouvier, the Guggenheim Museum’s first black female curator, promised herself if she experienced another special encounter on New York’s MTA bus service, she would live-tweet it for the world. Probably sooner than she expected, she found herself giving her followers a play-by-play of a man and woman discussing their relationship, its problems, and how they can solve them.
According to LaBouvier, everything began with the man telling his girlfriend, “I love you and I want to make this work but you’re mean AS FUCK and it’s wearing me down.” Her tweets then went on to describe the man explaining that she doesn’t know how to communicate her concerns in a healthy and productive way with him and pleading with her to seek help from a mental health professional.
The woman acknowledges not only his concerns but also her own frustration with her actions and her reservations about therapy. “’I know I don’t communicate my feelings…I didn’t grow up with that and I had to teach myself… what if therapy doesn’t work for me? What if I’m just angry?’”
Oooff. Overhearing this relationship in trouble on the shuttle bus and the guy just told the girl, “I love you and I want to make us work but you’re mean AS FUCK and it’s wearing me down.”— No Quarter Will Be Given (@chaedria) December 1, 2019
She’s just looking at him like she knows he’s right but doesn’t know what to do about it.
LADY PLEASE GO TO THERAPY SO YOU CAN KEEP THIS MAN IN A GORGEOUS TWEED COAT WHO LOVES YOU— No Quarter Will Be Given (@chaedria) December 1, 2019
I want them to get through this
Her: “Therapy just makes me feel like I’m failing all of the time and you don’t…I know I don’t communicate my feelings…I didn’t grow up with that and I had to teach myself. I know I go off, believe me. I just… what if therapy won’t work for me? What if i’m just angry.”— No Quarter Will Be Given (@chaedria) December 1, 2019
To some, LaBouvier’s tweets hearkened back to the problematic “#PlaneBae” incident in which a comedian’s live-tweets of flirtatious meet-cute between two fellow passengers on her flight from New York to Dallas included photos of the unsuspecting pair. Many, though, are hailing the unidentified MTA man’s devotion to his relationship and LaBouvier’s (@chaedria on Twitter) account as a beautiful example of love, commitment, patience, and compromise.
I’m armoring up for a bad relationship talk tonight. This thread has reminded me to bring a little less armor and a little more consideration. Thank you, and them, for the reminder.— outofupfor (@outofupfor) December 2, 2019
He sounds like he has done a lot of the work he is hoping to convince her to go through. He is expressing needs, setting boundaries, and withholding judgment in a way few could manage without some coaching.— Andrew Langmead (@alangmead) December 2, 2019
I love the hope in this.— Stephen Black (@stephenablack) December 2, 2019
They’ve already gotten through a lot:
1) Acknowledging the problem
2) Taking responsibility
3) Wanting to change
4) Accepting therapy
All that’s left, and it’s a big one, is doing the hard work in therapy.
I wish them the best. Thanks for sharing ❤️
In the exchange, the man affirms his girlfriend’s feelings about her anger and recognizes how difficult it can be to change learned behaviors, especially when the raw emotion of a lover’s quarrel come into play. Often times, couples fail to acknowledge the impact of their actions while focusing on the recipient, but both participants here succeed in validating the other and showing empathy for one another at the same time. “’I want a better YOU not someone else… would it help you if I went with you [to therapy]? I’ll ask my mom if she has any recommendations,’” the man offers
However, what he likely doesn’t understand is that just any old “therapy” isn’t always the answer. Our MTA heroine arguably needs a trauma therapist specializing in PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder – as evidenced by her brief detail of her childhood experience and the shame she feels every night. By her own admission she continually tries to correct her behavior yet fails, and a trauma specialist could not only better understand her situation, but also potentially reduce the pain she feels, slow the frequency of her “blackouts,” and address any other side effects.
When thinking of the traumas that can affect any of us, it’s important to remember that what scars us individually may not scar us collectively. Whatever she experienced may not be immediately understandable or accessible to us (or her boyfriend whose race remains a mystery while LaBouvier identifies her as a woman of color), but it still grieves her daily. Imagine breaking a limb – you may get a cast and lollipop at the hospital, but that pain still remains until the injury is fully healed. Equally, that pain still affects our interactions with other others. All human interaction is dependent on our relationships and when our feelings are hurt, those relationships are thrown into chaos until the injury is healed or at least back in a working state.
This couple’s relationship may not be perfect, but their willingness to work together through their weaknesses is a sign all love is not lost. While therapy is not a cure-all, the right therapy can heal a lot of injuries.
Check out the full thread on the flip and let us know what you think. Can therapy help their relationship? Do you have a personal experience you’d like to share?