One of the most sought after constituencies in the 2020 election is African American men, aged 18 – 35.
Not all Black men.
Not the ones that rock their Morehouse maroon ties or golf on Thursdays with their frats. Not the ones that darken the halls of Wall Street or read the New York Times.
Those guys typically vote. Both Donald Trump and the Joe Biden campaign are aiming at those brothers that probably have never considered voting because the candidates never speak to them.
They are axed out of the conversation because their pedigree is more Young Jeezy than Barack Obama, 50 Cent than Cedric Richmond, or Tsu Surf than Corey Booker.
But despite that… especially in this climate … someone has to speak to those dudes.
Trump tried to speak directly to them with his commercial, “No Way Out.”
There in the commercial, he hired a Black man and costumed him in a blue-collared construction uniform and staged him “at work.” The concept is cemented in “real talk,” where a brother is hopping on his Live to tell you why Trump is the right candidate without facts but the leaning on his hood vibes.
The brother, in his burgundy du-rag (worn inside out), scruffy beard, and oddly-placed hoodisms, relishes in his ignorance saying;
“To me… Trump is a freaking godsend. To me… Trump is life. To me… Trump is a second chance. So when you say he’s eh (does the so-so sign with his hands), I’m like ‘Nah dude, he’s way more than that.’ You see, I don’t have the luxury to worry about freaking Roe vs. Wade. I’m too busy trying to keep my family fed to think about that and for the first god**mn time in my life, I actually see a way out.
Another thing to unpack that walks the thin line of faking jacks and inauthenticity is when this brother speaks about working for Arabs. If you live in any city in urban America two things are off about this exchange.
1) That is not how people refer to those community stake-holders from the middle east. The accent is in the wrong place.
2) Did he just imitate their accent? You would do that and not call them the name that people usually call them? This is the classic case of pandering because it appears to be in the culture — but clearly is not.
Then you have the recent release from the Biden-Harris campaign featuring the Ultimate Rap League artists, DNA and Charlie Clips.
Within this commercial, the battle rappers present an argument that is heard all the time in Black barbershops and court-sides across the nation.
Charlie Clips raps about why he doesn’t believe in the power of the vote and DNA is speaking about why it is important to pull the lever. The two battlers address specific issues that matter to people of color, ending with their concerns about Black Lives Matter.
Regardless of the methodology or if you believe one candidate’s outreach is authentic or not, Black men are being targeted.
The campaigns, both Republican and Democrat, see how important it is to get them out to the polls. Now, it is on them to get them and cast their ballots.