‘Trigger Warning with Killer Mike’ TV show review
By Roshni Riar, Staff Writer
Having been a fan of Killer Mike’s for years, I was really excited to hear about the release of Trigger Warning with Killer Mike—his very own Netflix docuseries—earlier this year. Besides rapping as one half of the rap duo Run the Jewels, Killer Mike has become increasingly known for his activism within the African-American community and his vocal criticism of the treatment of Black people everywhere.
Trigger Warning is the result of his years of activism. Throughout the docuseries he explores issues that directly impact the Black community such as religion, economic struggle, lack of community, drugs, and gangs. Focusing on a single issue each episode, Killer Mike comes up with somewhat outlandish but potentially effective and thought-provoking strategies to tackle the struggles at hand.
In my favourite episode, “White Gang Privilege,” Mike looks at the unbalanced treatment of gangs across America. He points out that certain—predominantly white—gangs have the privilege of expanding beyond their criminal enterprises to build legitimate businesses that gain support and recognition from society. He wonders why groups like Hells Angels can have T-shirts and merchandise, but not the Bloods and the Crips. After some hilarious brainstorming with a group of neighbourhood Crips, Mike and his new team decide to create a Crips-themed soda called Crip-A-Cola.
What I really appreciated about the episode was that they actually show the process of building a product: From the cola production, to the designing of the logo, to a super awkward but amusing meeting at a local bank to try—and fail at—getting a loan to kickstart the business. The episode goes on to explore the misconceptions and judgement that members of gangs like the Crips often face. It’s really eye-opening to see that experience from a completely different perspective.
In “Living Black,” the first episode of the docuseries, Mike tries to literally live Black—his goal is to only spend money within the Black economy for 72 hours. As Mike and his team delve into what seems like a potentially straightforward task, they realize how very little is truly “Black” in its existence. If a restaurant is Black-owned, but their produce isn’t grown by Black farmers, then for the purpose of the experiment it isn’t considered truly Black. Mike can barely use anything in his own home or, much to his own chagrin, smoke weed because the growers were white. The night before a concert, he ends up sleeping on a bench because there are no Black-owned hotels for him to check into.
The docuseries shares some startling facts about the way different communities operate across America. For example, the Asian community can keep a dollar within their community for 28 days before it’s spent elsewhere and released, whereas the African-American community can only keep a dollar within their community for six hours.
While the show is certainly entertaining and purposely produced to be so, its main goal of acting as a social commentary really shines through. At the end of each episode I was left contemplating my own place in my own community as a person of colour and reflecting on how fortunate I am to be relatively free to do or try whatever I choose. Killer Mike is an incredibly smart, deep-thinking individual, and this series really does feel like a manifestation of his own personal mantras and beliefs. I’m happy to see the amount of traction the docuseries has received since its release.
I would highly recommend anyone give Trigger Warning a watch—if not for the entertainment value and laughs, then at least to gain a perspective that perhaps you never considered beforehand.