Killer Mike isn’t likely to forget yesterday (September 21) anytime soon. That’s because the Atlanta rapper joined hundreds in Jackson, Georgia to protest and rally for Troy Davis, the Georgia man who was executed last night for the 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Ga. Here, Mike relives the gut-wrenching, emotional experience of Wednesday’s rally with XXL.
“There were hoards of people there and they came and waited. The first person I saw when I exited the vehicle [to join the demonstration] was [Troy Davis’] nephew, who Troy had really been a mentor to. His eyes were just flaming red and his face was just wet with tears. You could tell how deeply saddened he was. I saw Big [Boi] and we greeted each other.
Savannah…I’m very connected to that city. For 15, 16 years, it’s been like a second home to me. When the young brothers from Morehouse got there, I could tell you what it meant for them to see me there. It was almost like looking at a family reunion. There wasn’t a child who didn’t get kissed and hugged and a mother who didn’t get greeted. For hours, [the demonstration] was that. When the kids came in, it was amazing because I was in high school when the Rodney King incident happened. If every American has not had a protest or something to be passionate about–I don’t care if it’s putting a speed bump in your neighborhood, a stop sign on the corner–all those are very American things to do. So, to see those kids who had that spirit about them was amazing. We spoke some words [watch here]. It was encouragement and the kids were fired up. They pulled out that church in a two-people line and they quietly and respectfully started to walk. Some people sang songs.
I immediately noticed helicopters that stayed there the entire night. The guards were there. It was a SWAT team there. I don’t think they have ever seen people so passionate about an inmate. The facts of this case led people to be passionate in a way they haven’t [been before] because you’re taught in this country, if there’s reasonable doubt, you can’t kill a person.
The reason I think we were so enthralled as Americans–Black, White, Asian, Spanish, man, woman–because what we were feeling was the basic American privilege was being killed. It died at 11 p.m. The crowd stayed through the entire thing. Some police were generally fearful. All these cops had shades on, so there’s a very impersonal, almost robotic feel. This is what children are walking up to and they’re going hard with chanting and drumming. I saw everybody–Black men, strippers and dancers, hairstylers and barbers, nurses and doctors. People were genuinely overwhelmed. The Fox 5 reporter that covers Atlanta…I saw him weeping. I’m looking at Big Boi with a diamond chain and Gucci glasses on the ground next to a lawyer from Amnesty International. People are on their knees and the crowd is weeping. When a wave of more police came, the crowd knew something wasn’t right. That’s when the news came. People were saddened, but not discouraged. People were encouraged. People felt as though they had done something right. When you seen people wearing, “I AM TROY DAVIS” t-shirts front-and-back, you felt people who were sad that they couldn’t save him. But I don’t think any people who get picked on a jury would make the same mistake that was made in Savannah, Georgia. If that is Troy Davis’ legacy, that’s what it is.” –As told to Mark Lelinwalla