For the August 2020 issue of GQ, Donovan X. Ramsey explores how Michael Render—a rapper from Atlanta who also happens to be a Second Amendment–loving, Bernie Sanders–boosting, unapologetically pro-Black businessman—became one of the loudest and most original political voices in the country.
Mike, full name Michael Render, is unapologetically in favor of the second amendment, Bernie Sanders, and black business. When racial tension flared and mass protests swept the nation in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Mike reluctantly appeared at a press conference with mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms and delivered an emotionally charged speech where he called on his neighbors to “…to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize.” The speech instantly went viral, and Mike immediately became a fixture on cable news.
The son of a police officer, Mike was criticized by some after his speech for being too sympathetic towards the broken system people were protesting.
“I don’t know if anybody’s ever going to defund the police,” he says. “I would demilitarize the police. Police do not need to literally look like occupying soldiers. In Atlanta, I would focus less on creating a police state and go more back to the community policing…I would make sure that our police are involved in our communities in a non-police way, meaning coaching, assistant coaching. I would strengthen the Police Athletic League dramatically, because my interaction with police should be more like the Police Athletic League and less like you’re stopping me because three of us are standing on this corner.”
Of the upcoming presidential election, when asked if he’ll vote for Joe Biden, Mike responds with asking if Biden will sign a bill in favor of reparations for the Black community. “What I give a s— about is if your policies are going to benefit me and my community in a way that will help us get a leg up in America. That’s it. Because we deserve a leg up, and I’m not ashamed to say it.”
Mike, who is staunchly in support of Black-owned businesses continues: “We deserve it. My great-grandmother, who taught me how to sew a button, was taught how to sew a button because her grandmother was enslaved. The daughter of a slave taught me and encouraged me to write, read, sew buttons, take care of myself.” For more details of the interview, visit https://www.gq.com.