Speaking at the H.I.S. BET Town Hall Meeting at Morehouse College in Atlanta on September 19, Grand Hustle artist Killer Mike joined a diverse panel of Black influencers spurring the dialogue about how African-American men are perceived in media and how we in the Black community can reclaim control of the narrative.
“The most common images I see of Black men in [mainstream] media are pretty much your typical stereotypes. Either the slickster, preacher-pimp, politician or the other dichotomy of drug dealer-baller type or literal footballer or basketballer,” the Grammy-winning MC and owner of Atlanta’s Graffiti’s SWAG barber shop tells H.I.S. BET. “There’s not a lot of diversity, and some of that is our fault. We complain too much about certain actors in certain roles and that has limited us.
“You’ll get a movie like Batman, and the Black person is the mayor or the police chief. But you’re never going to get a good Black villain. So what you get is these typical roles of the common street thug or you get these holier-than-thou-roles, but you don’t get the essence of humanity type roles that [we] deserve. And I think we share some culpability in that in caring too much about perception instead of letting richness flow." We in the Black community shoulder some of that blame, he says, when we support images that don’t speak to our diversity as a culture.
“Andrew Young said it in that VH1 special. He said that politicians in Atlanta understood that segregation was economically bad. So if you make it economically your priority to only support media that supports the narrative that you hear that you know to be true, you will change that media instantly. If you don’t do that, that is your fault.”
(Photo: Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET)