Killer Mike Says White People “Appropriated” The Word “Woke”

Killer Mike is not a fan of white people and their use of the term ‘woke.’ Sharing his outspoken opinion through music on the song “Talkin’ That Sh*t,” the Georgia native elaborated on his frustrations during a new interview.

“First of all, white folks 25 years ago couldn’t tell me what the f**k ‘woke’ was. They’ve just appropriated your word,” explained the 48-year-old in the June 2023 SPIN Magazine cover story. “Being ‘woke’ is more than having other people appropriate your struggle for their cause. Who has profited more from affirmative action? White women.”

The Run The Jewels member continued, “So what the f**k you gonna keep doing sh*t that way for who’s who? Who now do you see profiting off Black Lives Matter? People who ain’t Black and who really don’t think your lives matter. They just throw the sign in their yard and advocate for whatever they want. Then when you laying on the side of the street dead, or if you walking down the street and they don’t know you. They calling the police on you.”

The Grammy Award-winning musician is not the first to speak out against non-Black people being ‘woke.’ In March, Erykah Badu shared her opinion that “political pundits” used the term as a substitute for “Black,” often in a demeaning manner.

“It’s just another way to say ‘thug’ or something else, right?” she said. Yet, when asked about the sudden popularity of the word, Badu appeared unaffected, offering that the term has become fair game. “It is what it is. It doesn’t belong to us anymore. Once something goes out in the world, it take[s] a life of its own. It’s an energy of its own.”

“Woke” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017 and defined as an “adjective,” meaning “well-informed, up-to-date. Now chiefly: alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice; frequently in stay woke.” Oxford’s U.S. Dictionaries Head Katherine Martin says the phrase was first used in the 1920s Harlem an event being held from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. was called the “Stay Woke Ball.”

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