African-Americans deserve at least 50 percent of the lucrative marijuana industry, rapper-turned-activist Killer Mike argued during a Friday appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
During the show, the rapper, whose real name is Michael Render, lauded the ideas of New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who argued that giving Black Americans first dibs on the marijuana market if/when it’s finally legalized in New York could serve as a form of “reparations” for the failed war on drugs.
” … Now that cannabis is exploding as an industry, we have to make sure that those communities that have been harmed and devastated by marijuana arrests get the first shot at this industry,” Nixon said in an interview with Forbes last week. “We [must] prioritize them in terms of licenses. It’s a form of reparations.”
The former actress’ suggestion was met with swift backlash from prominent Black leaders who criticized it as “ignorant and offensive.” Mike, an outspoken voice on issues impacting the Black community, applauded the “brilliant” idea, however, for reasons some may find a bit surprising.
“In terms of drug war reparations, we deserve ALL the drug war reparations,” he said. “because we have shouldered the burden of the drug war.”
Mike acknowledged that “reparations” might not be the best word for Nixon’s plan since it’s such a sensitive topic, saying he believed “real” reparations for Black people should include land, as well as education and healthcare.
Nixon’s idea of so-called drug war reparations was met with pushback from a fellow panelist Robert Reich. “…her idea, with all due respect, is so demeaning.” Mike interjected, “I don’t feel demeaned.” Reich continued, “If you want reparations, let’s give Black people a piece of Wall Street.”
“But I’m talking about drug war reparations,” Mike reiterates. “I don’t just want a piece of Wall Street cuz it could fall tomorrow… I want physical ownership of an industry that’s going to boom like alcohol…we deserve it! With the time we’re serving (for marijuana convictions) alone, we deserve to own 50 percent of the marijuana market.”
Watch more of their discussion above.