Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist and social activist Michael Render, known on stage as Killer Mike, will be speaking as part of the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series on May 4 at 7 p.m. in Leverone Auditorium.
Render has achieved national attention with his group Run the Jewels's 2014 album, Run the Jewels 2, which grapples with important political and racial issues. Additionally, he has continued to communicate important and pertinent messages through speeches about racial issues, such as before a concert in St. Louis just after the Ferguson grand jury decision, and appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Real Time with Bill Maher.
"He is a unique figure who has a foot in two different yet very important areas, pop culture and entertainment, and social activism,” Ben Zimmermann*, CTSS co-chair, said. “He combines these areas, first in the music he makes but beyond that he uses his platform as a major artist to share really important messages on racial issues.”
This is the fifth CTSS event of the year, with other featured speakers being filmmaker Spike Lee, educator Sal Khan, writer Junot Diaz and journalist Emily Bazelon. However, this event will be a new opportunity for CTSS since being founded in 2012.
"This is the first musical artist brought to speak in CTSS history," Zimmermann said. "This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and we are excited to finally do it this year."
Zimmermann explained that CTSS has a new ticketing policy for this event so that it is easier for them to keep track of how many people are going to come. Instead of just showing up with a Wildcard, students must bring a ticket from Eventbrite. The event is still free.
*Ben Zimmermann formerly served as a senior section editor for North by Northwestern Magazine.