It’s one of the more striking images of the 2016 presidential campaign - Vermont senator Bernie Sanders sitting down in a barber shop across from rapper Killer Mike, talking about economic freedom and social justice.
Killer Mike endorsed Sanders for president last month, spending a day with the senator and giving a speech at a rally in front of thousands of people. They shared a meal at Atlanta’s Busy Bee Cafe, then had a lengthy discussion at Mike’s barbershop, the SWAG Shop.
That discussion has now been released as a six-part interview on YouTube, covering topics like community, protest, healthcare, voting and the idea of a rigged economy. If you’re a Bernie Sanders supporter or even just want a better idea of what he stands for, it’s definitely worth a listen.
“I rap about a lot of the stuff that you rant about, and I want to talk about that,” Mike says early in the interview, describing his personal journey of becoming aware of his role in the community. “I’m a kid that grew up on the west side of Atlanta not far from here, working class community. I like money. I’ve always considered myself a capitalist. I’ve always tried to invent ways to make money.”
Sanders made his case as to why his Democratic Socialism stance is important for the black community and America as a whole. “When we talk about rights, you have freedom of speech, you can go out on a street corner and give a speech. You have the Constitutional right to do that. But you know what, to be truly free, you need economic rights as well. You can go out and give a speech, but if you don’t have any food in your stomach, you don’t have a house, roof over your head, you don’t have any education, are you really free?”
The six-part conversation could help Sanders build support among young people and, crucially, among black voters, whom he desperately needs to win over if he is going to gain any traction against his rival Hillary Clinton. A recent poll in the early primary state of South Carolina found an overwhelming 80 percent of black Democrats support Hillary Clinton. Sanders has acknowledged the ground he still needs to make up with minority voters, even as he emphasizes that his platform goes further than any other candidate's to address issues that disproportionately impact black and Hispanic communities with proposals that seek to raise the minimum wage, end mass incarceration, and make higher education more accessible.
The entire interview is available on Killer Mike’s YouTube channel - one of only two projects uploaded to the channel since it was launched a year ago.