Barack with a Beat: “Yes We Can” … But is it Fair?
On the one hand, it's exciting as hell to see the media's involvement in this election. Not just media as in journalists covering it--but media, as in all of the new technologies being utilized.
Between Hillary doing that set of YouTube videos to find her campaign song, to various political podcasts you can download and listen to on the subway or at the gym, to the MySpace/MTV live candidate dialogues--our society is making information really accessible to everyone. And by everyone, I mostly mean the elusive group known as US--the youth!
We're a hard target. And sadly, so many of today's youth would much rather watch the 'Super Sweet Sixteen' marathon on MTV than the CNN presidential debates (although YouTube tried to help this time around).
That said, allow me to move forward a bit: celebrities are powerful. The fashion world knows it--it's why they use celebrities as models and covergirls and spokespeople. Celebs sell. But is it going too far when the product celebs are selling is a presidential candidate?
The video above, called "Yes We Can" recently came out on YouTube, and since then, has been passed around the internet. It's got a slew of celebrities--musicians, actors, athletes--singing a song based on Obama's (in)famous speech.
But this isn't just a tube of lip gloss that a celebrity's fans can casually buy-and-try. This is serious stuff. This is the future of our country.
I know a lot of young people who are undecided about the election, and sadly look to see which celebrities support which candidates (usually, I'm confident making any decision Oprah supports). If their fave is up there, they'll be more inclined to "buy the good," as if it's a passing trend.
To be honest, I'm not even sure who I'm voting for yet. I'm a registered democrat, and I really liked John Edwards' hair. But now his hair is gone (well, as least as presidential candidate), it's down to Obama and Hillary, and the media has turned it into "black man vs. white woman." Two minorities. And it's as if to support one candidate, you must identify yourself as/with one, and not the other.
Now, I'm going to say the following, and I know I'll get a lot of flack for it, but it needs to be addressed: not wanting to vote for Barack Obama does not mean you are a racist. The same goes for Hillary--when I first thought of voting for Barack, I felt like a lousy feminist. Like, this is the first time a woman could theoretically really take office...and I'm voting for the other guy?
But it shouldn't be about the label or the minority; it's about who is the best candidate to accomplish what you, as a voter, want to be done.
If I may, no matter if it was one of the biggest downgrades in TV news ever, it was really bold and brave and important for Snoop Dogg to go on Larry King Live last week and say he isn't sure who to vote for.
But as for this video, it seems unfair. Barack has a lot of relevant supporters who have access to the medium that is music. Sure, good ol' Barbra Streisand is openly behind Hillary--but Babs isn't really relevant to the masses in this medium anymore, you know? "Yes We Can" is like a party jam. It's an unfair advantage, I think, solely based on the demographic to which he is a "best seller."
Will. I. Am. remixed Barack's speech and put a catchy phrase on loop, a message that Hillary offers, as well, only now it's a catchy song associated with Barack's candidacy--and if there's one thing I've learned, it's how powerful the music industry is. It can influence trends in cars, clothes, drinks, society and now, politics.
What do you think? Is this video just a smart campaign move, or an unfair advantage?