This past week, Chance the Rapper tweeted a media advisory about an announcement that was scheduled to take place at City Hall the very next day. Of course, the media went crazy and made the assumption that Chance was running for Mayor. That, in itself, isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Nor is it the most insane idea that we’ve seen lately – especially in the world of politics. Of course, this comes after Rahm Emanuel announced that he won’t be seeking re-election in 2019.
This coming election will certainly be interesting, especially since 17 candidates have already emerged throwing their hat in the ring. Now it wasn’t just the media that went wild with this one. Chance himself tweeted earlier in the day the line from a song, which said: “I’m thinkin maybe I should”. Now, in his defense, it’s just a song lyric, but why tweet that out if you have no intention of running?
Tuesday morning rolled around and Chance put those speculations to rest by announcing his endorsement of Amara Enyia for mayor. Enyia is a lawyer and a community activist with a Ph.D. in education policy who serves as the head of Austin’s Chamber of Commerce. Enyia did enter the 2015 mayoral race but dropped out rather quickly.
So why back this candidate? Chance says that he and Enyia have a shared vision for the future of Chicago:
“Amara and I share values and a vision for Chicago that includes equitable education for our kids, reforming our criminal justice system, and bringing new kinds of economic opportunities to our communities without causing displacement. I am proud to stand with her as we work toward bringing new leadership to City Hall. I believe that me and Amara share a vision on what Chicago could be. We believe in supporting the people at the bottom economically — people who have just been written off.”
Does this mean a sure-fire win for Enyia? Absolutely not, but it certainly helps her cause. The whole idea of celebrity endorsements is changing the political landscape. Some are saying that a lot of people don’t like the idea of celebrities getting involved in politic, but others are saying that they don’t like the idea of a celebrity backing a politician. So which is it?
We heard Taylor Swift showing her support for two Democratic candidates in Tennessee. But does that mean her supporters will follow suit and vote for the same candidates? And is that fair? Alternatively, we’re seeing Kanye West throw his support behind Donald Trump, but will that make his fans want to follow suit? I’d have to say no, just based on the outrage of America. All that said, though, do celebrity endorsements make any kind of difference?
In Swift’s announcement, she highlighted the fact that the candidates she supports will fight for the human rights that she believes in. Which means, that regardless of who the celebrity is, they do what they think is right. If you choose to vote for that person because Taylor, Kanye or Chance supports them, then that’s your business. I think people are basing their votes on what their favorite celebrities have to say, instead of researching the candidate themselves. If the candidate aligns with their own political values, then a celebrity endorsement doesn’t mean anything.