Killer Mike gave a passionate speech at the BET Awards on Sunday night, referencing his recent legal issues and encouraging viewers to get politically involved.

He started out by giving the customary list of thank-yous, including his wife, Shana, and kids, plus his manager Will Bronson (“he’s a white guy, but he’s down with us”). Then he turned to the Feb. 4 incident earlier at the Grammy Awards, where he was detained at the ceremony following a scuffle with a security guard outside Crypto.com Arena. Last week, it was announced that he will not face charges for the incident after prosecutors in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office have elected to not file.

“Technically, I was not supposed to be here,” Killer Mike, real name Michael Santiago Render, said onstage Sunday night. “I was put in handcuffs, and I was marched out of this building. But I wanna tell you, look at God because I’m back, baby, I’m back.” (The Grammys and BET Awards both took place in Downtown Los Angeles.)

He went on: “I wanna tell Black people that it’s because of BET I’m back, not ’cause of no white person. … A Black man runs this business, a Black company puts this show on, and they got my Black ass back in here. Thank you.”

“I’m moved and compelled to say this in this moment, a lot of people gonna say, who was he?” he continued. “Who is he? Why did he get it? I am a representation of one of the finest things God has ever made. And that’s one-half of the Black family. Black men and women, I am you. Whether you’re young, whether you’re old, whether you like me, whether you don’t like me, I am absolutely you, and this win is absolutely ours.”

He then urged viewers not only to vote at the polls in November but also to get politically involved.

“They’re gonna tell you who we vote for is important and it is,” he said “Who we vote for on the big stage is important, but it’s more important that you know who your city council person is, who your prosecutor is, and if you don’t like the people who are running, run your Black ass to the polls and run yourself.”

Killer Mike beat out the likes of Chris Brown, Gunna, 21 Savage, Usher, Drake, Victoria Monét and Nicki Minaj for album of the year.

Taraji P. Henson is hosting the 2024 BET Awards, where Usher will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The show is airing live on BET from Downtown Los Angeles.

See a list of 2024 BET Awards winners.

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