Trigger Warning with Killer Mike (2019) s01e04 Episode Script

New Jesus

1 You ask any black people, "Hey, what are the issues in the black community?" They'll tell you some variation of what the news is telling you.
Education, drugs, gun violence, teenage pregnancy, poverty.
But the greatest hindrance that black people have is white Jesus.
White Jesus robs you of your confidence of yourself because you're praying to a God that don't even look like you.
If you look at the black church, it kind of kept us enslaved in that, it made us forgive people that maybe we shouldn't have forgave.
And it made us forgive a church that was complacent in our slavery.
So, what I intend to do is destroy the myth of white Jesus.
Anything that doesn't help black people by way of feeling divine, needs to be burned the fuck down, now! It brought me out of depression, and I'll lift it up! [Killer Mike] Creflo Dollar, that's his real name, is a black pastor in the ranks of mega preachers, like Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland.
all I got, hallelujah! He's built a multi-million-dollar ministry.
It includes a publishing line, a talk show, and a private jet.
All of which he runs from World Changers International, an 8000-seat church based right in Atlanta.
So my wife and I went to hear just how Creflo Dollar preach Christianity to his primarily black following.
- You are welcome in this place.
- [All] You are welcome in this place.
- You have permission - [All] You have permission - to direct my life.
- [All] to direct my life.
It was never designed for you to be able to complete your mission, successfully by yourself.
It's not your peace.
- It's His peace.
Hallelujah! - [Cheering] [Mike] Creflo Dollar was charismatic, no question, but his sermon was the same rhetoric of dependence, handed down from our oppressors.
So after the service was over, I arranged to meet with Creflo, to convince him that Christianity was harmful to the black community, and it's time to start something new.
This is what I feel.
Church is bad for black people at this point.
I don't I don't believe that.
I don't think it's a matter of church making black people better or, or worse.
I think it's a matter of, have we done it right? We have to have our Hebrew moment.
We have to have our moment of "God has chosen us", God has promised this to us, "God will give this to us" - Or we can do something more powerful.
- There can't be better plan than that.
- There's a better plan - That's the plan for us! - There's a better plan for that.
- That's the black people plan! If we live our lives with an identity problem, and we think it's just the outer things that are going to solve the inner issue.
The inner issue is, "I don't know who I am in Christ.
" - But it did say his hair was curly.
- Mm-hmm.
- And his feet were bronze.
- You wanna see you, in the Bible.
I wanna see a black savior.
- I I hear you loud and clear, but - Will you lead my religion? To this I You're gonna get me struck by lightning.
[Mike] Creflo wasn't ready to leave the church, but as our interview was ending, he started to open up.
I don't see the guy that looks like me, and that's where They did that, man.
I know they did! [Laughs] That's a Michelangelo painting, man.
I want to go to Copeland and Joel Osteen's church and say, "Hey Thank you, bye!" And take all the black people, and just walk out with them.
I ain't playin'! I swear You laughin', Rev, you laughin' at me.
- I'm so sincere, man.
- Mike, the saddest part about it? Some of those Black people would rather sit under a White guy.
[Mike] Creflo wouldn't rebel against the church, but fuck it.
We do it without him.
Just start our own religion with our own black Messiah.
Shit Anybody from our community is better than white Jesus.
This is Sleepy.
That's been his nickname since we were little kids, 'cause he looks asleep all the time, day or night.
Sleepy taught me it's better to enjoy life on Earth rather than hold out for Heaven.
"Fuck hope, do dope" were his exact words.
A motto I've used throughout my life.
If we needed a black Messiah, why not him? I know you don't consider yourself holy, or no prophet or nothin', but, I really believe, that black people, if given an alternative, I think they'll turn from white Jesus, and they love of their oppressor, and I think they'll love they brother, because they brother look like Sleepy, not like Jesus.
Why am I gonna go give my money to a church, when I can just introduce everybody in the world to my partner, Sleepy? I can make you a religion, but I'm not making you an idol to be worshipped to let people down.
Or simply saying, "Holiness live in this man, I want you to see this", so you can go home, look in the mirror, and say, 'It's on me.
'" And you ain't gotta say much.
All you just gotta do is be you, and I'mma handle the rest.
Like, it's us against Creflo, we doing this for the people.
[Mike] Now that I had a black Messiah, I needed a Holy Scripture.
So I decided to meet with Patrick Goines, the son of the urban fiction legend Donald Goines, to help write our new Bible.
So I'm gonna do a religion - based around Sleep.
- Okay.
He one of the most good and moral people I know.
Okay, that's what's up.
You can't do that - without a Bible.
- Right.
Like your dad wrote in plain speak, not too complex.
- Right.
- How do we do that? That's what I want to do.
That's what brought me here.
And it can be done, but you gotta keep it real, it real, like you talkin' right now.
I need you to talk to me like I'm one of your apostles.
I need you to talk to me like you really want me doin' this.
- That's all I need.
- I I do a lot of the talk - See? I didn't know that.
- Yeah.
He's serious, though.
He's serious with it, so I know it.
It's burning me right here.
- It's hitting me right here.
- [Laughing] You feel me? Real recognize real, baby.
All day long! I can tell you what I can bring to the table.
- Okay.
- Like you said, name recognition.
I got seven books out right now.
Everybody know me as cheese.
So I got that ghetto pass in LA, New York, in the hood, wherever in the hood.
So I know the street, I am the street.
The street shit that I know, felt, and I got nine holes in me to prove it.
You feel me? So I done been there.
When I got shot, and I was in the hospital, I was paralyzed, from the neck down.
Ain't that some shit? So I'm giving the book game that should be there.
- Okay.
- And it's good.
- I think you the man for the gig.
- You feel me? - Let's do it, baby.
Let's do it.
- I think you're the man for the gig.
[Both] The Book of Sleep.
- Wow! - You know it's going down.
We said it together, like we already had it planned.
You know what I'm saying? The Book of Sleep.
The Book of Sleep.
I was a little worried Patrick's intensity would turn people off, but through his connections, he set up a meeting with a prominent Atlanta publisher in hope of spreadin' our message, and gettin' our Bible on the shelves.
Okay, so let me make sure I am processing this.
Um, so What you're what you're looking to do, what you're doing, is another Bible style.
It's a new Bible.
It's a new Bible, based on the philosophy of Sleep.
- And Sleep, you're - Is is our Messiah.
- Okay.
- He doesn't have to even say a word.
- You notice he hasn't said a word.
- Yeah, I see that.
Mm-hmm.
Mm-hmm.
I believe in him and I believe in his movement.
- Absolutely.
Absolutely.
- Okay.
And what's your movement? And again, this is out of curiosity.
This is it! If you take seven deep breaths, close your eyes, open your eyes, lay eyes on Sleep, three pure thoughts will come to your mind.
- With that said - Would you like to try? - No I would not, but here's the thing.
- May I ask why? I've looked at Sleep five times, Sleep has looked at me nonstop.
So You, Sleep, have the abilities to calm people, to do all these miraculous type things, um, to the point - of a movement, and a Bible.
- [Patrick] Yeah.
Okay, so - Based on what you've shared with me - Yeah.
That is not something I would publish.
- Why? - That is not my style.
Did Oprah Winfrey tell you not to like us? For the company that has my name on it and this is nothing personal, this is business, does not include that type of content.
And no, Oprah did not say, "Don't like us.
" [Mike] Since the publisher wasn't willing to embrace my radical departure from Christianity, Sleep and I took our pulpit outside of one of Atlanta's oldest churches, to spread the gospel on a grassroots level.
Good morning, Big Bethel, may we have a moment of your time? I represent the church of Sleep this morning, and I'd like to tell you that Sleep is woke.
We'd like to invite you to come share some time with our congregation.
This is Sleep! What are you out here yelling about, Killer Mike? We're not yellin', I'm tryin' to introduce people to new thoughts and concepts.
What new thoughts and concepts? Well, let me tell you, I was in the Blue Flame - Oh, okay! - [Laughing] You got to stop! Don't walk away on me.
- [Laughing] - Good mornin'! Will you consider comin' to our church? We want you to come to the Church of Sleep.
Our Grandma still got white Jesus.
We need a black Messiah, man.
We need a black savior.
We need somebody who about all that shit rap music is about, but in a holy way.
He looks like he wants to come.
Look at Sleep.
Had it not been for this man I would have remained selfish, and narcissistic.
And Sleepy believes in us.
The Book of Sleep.
We haven't had a chance to write anything yet, as we're just gettin' started, but it's pretty, and we're gonna write scripture here.
I can't really get my head around the church.
Well, there's a pamphlet.
Please come and see us, if so compelled.
People are free, people are happy, people are holy.
Hey, hey.
People are a little high.
[Laughing] I don't I don't think they interested.
While most of the churchgoers gave us evil stares, there were a few who were intrigued.
So I invited them to my barbershop to learn about their experience growin' up with religion, and to help inform the philosophy of our new church.
I believe in God, but I don't believe in a system that's promotin' God.
I never liked white Jesus.
It didn't make sense.
Why would I pray against something that doesn't look like me, that isn't a part of me? People used the Bible to cause black people to come into slavery.
- Absolutely.
- It was used in the most craziest way.
'Cause the same thing with with Islam.
- Slavery brought us Islam? - Exactly.
- Oh, wow, how'd that - The Arab slaves.
- Got it.
- So the religions were infusing us through force.
As a young woman, I really didn't see much possibilities for me because of my quote-unquote religion.
If I was writing the new spiritual system, I hear about the prophets, they go into the hills, people think they be doing meditating and stuff, whatever you call it.
I call it meditative sleep and a nap and like, I think that's really the story of resurrection.
- I think Jesus took a nap.
- Yeah.
I definitely I'd like to take the best principles of a spiritual system that'll work for us, and I'd like to use a face, like Sleepy.
Sleepy look calm.
Like, man, I've wanted to kill folk, I call my brother, like, "Hey, bro, I want to knock this nigga head off, bro," and my brother say, "Just sleep on it.
" After talking to our first disciples, I realized it made sense to incorporate the practice of sleeping into the worship of Sleep.
So I consulted a sleep expert, to see if a religious experience could be created through dozing off.
And who knows more about getting a good night's rest than a rich white woman.
One more time, exhale Receive the breath.
And if you do that a few times - Don't you feel more relaxed? - I do, I'm relaxed.
A philosophy ideology of theology around sleep really could work.
Sleep is not optional, it's the foundation of a healthy, good, and giving life.
I feel like that's when we're closest, spiritually, to whatever's out there.
Because we aren't polluted with all this information in all day.
A lot of it we don't even need, but we're forced to contend with.
I absolutely agree with you, and more important, all sleep scientists agree with you, because, when we wake up sleep deprived, it means that we haven't really processed what had happened the day before, and then you become less and less empathetic.
You become more and more reactive, easily angered, all the things that basically stop us from being spiritually connected to our brothers and sisters.
With confirmation that sleep practice would help my church spiritually, I invited everyone back to my barbershop for our first official church service.
I wanted to know, like, do you guys sleep well? I I try.
- Four to five.
- About four, five hours.
Then I wake up, probably around 3:30, 4 o'clock.
- And then I can't go back to sleep.
- And I woke up to a nine.
Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom.
Feel me? I want you to simply lay down today, give yourselves 10-15 minutes not to think about anything, but to be.
And when you get up, you gonna take one of these, and you guys get a chance to write down what's important to you.
Because this gospel needs to be written by people who are in it.
So if you guys are up to the exercise, I'd like to give you the book, get your pillow and your blanket.
This stuff is brand new, clean, no white people on it.
Take 15 minutes to take a nap.
Wake up, and write down what you like for us to know.
As I watched the disciples lay peacefully catching up on lost sleep, I realized this simple exercise could be more impactful than I'd initially thought.
For black people in America, sleep and rest carry a stigma.
As Frederick Douglass wrote, "More slaves were whipped for oversleeping than any other fault.
" And today, we still lose sleep due to anxiety from over-policing, being economically forced to live in noisier, condensed environments, and for anyone to succeed financially, sleep is dismissed as a weakness.
Culturally, we have devalued sleep.
And because of this, we've lost connection with our Creator.
Upon waking, I asked the followers to use the empty pages of The Book of Sleep to write down their deepest thoughts and feelings, and then share them with Sleepy.
When I woke up, I was at a state of peace.
Waking up humble, clear mind, energized.
Ready to take on the next challenge.
As I was laying there, I just kept thinkin' about, like now, right now, and I began to literally, like, slowly just feel calmer, if that makes sense.
I feel like most of my life, I've had to like, fight for anything.
And when you fighting, you're not at, really, peace.
And that's something that, ultimately, I want.
I may live and make everything look easy, but it's not as easy as it is.
So I tried to focus and put my mind on different things, which still, in itself, is a struggle.
I'm willing to open up to a lot of stuff that I never opened up to, and, uh, you know, I just want to say thank you for the sleep, man.
Big component of what we're doing with The Book of Sleep, and just The theology of sleep is shared.
Everyone outside of this door seems to be talking about what they don't have, and what they need.
And yet, it's the middle of winter, it's homeless people out there, and they would appreciate those pillows, that we just did an exercise on.
Our churches seem to have went to a prosperity based thing.
"If I individually live this life, then I prosper.
I get the house I wanted, I get the car I wanted, I, I, I, I, I.
" And there's no sense of charity.
And I'mma bless you with that blanket.
After a few weeks, we had more followers.
Friends began telling friends, and we had to find a larger venue to host our services.
So we relocated to a place where Sleepy and I have been worshipping for years.
The Blue Flame.
An exotic dance club that's been celebrating black women and black excellence for over three decades.
Thanks for comin' out.
I know we're in the Blue Flame, and after six o'clock, this turns to a different kind of place.
I don't care if you have been Christian, Muslim, atheist, agnostic.
I think that there's something in us that's connected to everyone else in this room in some way.
I think that we all are missing out.
We're all not paying enough attention to the time that we're closest to whatever source of creation we're from.
People are packaging and reselling you what you already know.
Start to value yourself, every single day, as something righteous, as something holy, as something worthy.
I want people from being around you to think, "I can be better.
" I needed to be reassured that Jesus was black, 'cause I needed something else to affirm my humanity, when simply what I had to do is look in the mirror and say "I'm black.
" First, from a nationalistic standpoint, I wanted to convince people to pull away from Christianity as black people.
We gotta leave! They don't wanna see a black Jesus, they don't wanna bow to black Jesus.
I'll tell my wife, "You don't want to bow to black Jesus?" You can't be " I was like, "It's stupid", nobody wanna bow to nothing that don't look like them.
" Then I ask, "Why are people bowing at all? Why aren't we meeting equally?" [Choir vocalizing over piano] Steel sharpens steel.
Can't sharpen a cutter going through butter.
Right? I got all the players' sayings.
Start to ask yourself, "Who's my steel? Who's helping me sharpen mine?" This is mine.
Again, I'm willing to share.
If you'd like to speak to him, you can.
If you don't, it's all choice on you.
I said I'm enjoying the Church of Sleep.
I just want to be recognized as a black woman.
I don't need the "strong" in front of it.
I think that being strong is a great characteristic, I honestly do.
I don't wanna be everything for everybody because it leaves too little for me.
[Mike] This is simply two human beings, that are loving and strong enough within theyselves and be willing, when another human being shows emotion, to connect with that human emotion.
This is a human being not saying, "I won't practice charity," but just, "You don't have to be a martyr every day.
" - Amazing grace - As a man, you know, we're looked upon to be leaders.
But I believe that your leadership is only as strong as your listening ear to the people that you lead.
It's like, my mother just passed, and my brother just passed.
Simple fact, it's like I don't rest.
I need to get some rest.
I do appreciate this.
I'm gonna keep this and I'm going to definitely use it.
If you'd like to demonstrate the fact that it's about me, and myself, take a robe.
People should know, when you have on this robe, don't give me none of your problems.
But if I'm wearing this robe, I don't want to hear about your issue.
This robe is a show of faith in yourself.
- You get what I - I want four.
- [Laughter] - Exactly.
You need one Especially my sisters, I know you would put on two robes.
So if you'd like a robe, you can come up and get a robe.
Robe won't cost you nothing but a dab or a handshake.
- Would you like a robe? - Yeah, I'll take one.
Here you go.
You can keep it.
I really appreciate what you had to say.
I lost a mother too.
So I just want to tell you, like, it ain't no "Get better," It ain't no "Get strong.
" Only, cry when you need to cry.
Yell at the ceiling, when you need to yell.
And then rest and get up the next day, just fight the day.
[Mike] Because all students must eventually become teachers, I decided to ordain the entire congregation so that they can all start their own ministry.
The power of the church had to be given back to the people.
[Man] It took me weeks to just try to figure this out exactly.
And, I mean, I'm glad that I did.
It's okay to be me, just the way I am.
I'm good.
I'm good! You know? It really, honestly, woke me up a lot.
- I really feel the movement.
- [Man] Sleep is very important.
Your dreams, everything, all of that is spiritual as fuck.
Opposite of bullshit When people ask me, "What religion are you?" I simply say to them, "I'm the same religion that black people were" the day before an invader stepped in.
Church, front pew Amen, pulpit What my people need And the opposite of bullshit What I say might save a life What I speak might save the streets I ain't got no instruments But I got my hands and feet Hands gon' clap And feet gon' tap Every beat's gonna make their snap And I ride on with my raps And they all tight as my naps And my naps is all I got And this beautiful ebony skin And the music in my heart And the words I put in the wind And the words I put in the wind Comin' back like a boomerang When I take this microphone Point at the crowd They start to sing This is In the end, Sleep and I had created a religion, built a congregation, and provided our disciples with the spiritual tools they needed to find their own way, free from the shackles of white Jesus.
Because when black people can see God in themselves, we are reminded we are special, we are connected, and we are holy.
500 years of oppression and conditioning tried to convince us that black people needed a master in the sky.
But when given a mirror to look in, we can see divinity in ourselves.
Ooh Do dope, fuck hope