Not one of us
I suppose it was only a matter of time before 2008 presidential hopeful Barack Obama made some sort of overture to the hip-hop community, even if it didn't amount to much other than taking a picture with Beyonce.
Monday night, Island Def Jam chairman L.A. Reid held one of these Hollywood fundraiser events for the candidate at his home in New York. Your boy Jay-Z was in attendance, along with the likes of Babyface, Jermaine Dupri, Andre Harrell, and other such music industry tokens.
The New York Daily News:
"[Obama] spoke for about 20 minutes, never mentioning Hillary Clinton," one guest tells us. "He was very impressive. People formed a circle around him. He shook everybody's hand and asked what they did."
One lady needed no introduction. Feasting his eyes on Beyoncé, the candidate said: "I never do this, but can I ask for your autograph?" The admiration seemed mutual as they posed for a photo. "I want a copy of that picture!" said Obama.
How genial of him.
Keep in mind this is the same Beyonce who has performed at President Bush's inauguration as well as sung songs with Cam'ron about slinging coke. Is there anything she wouldn't do for a dollar? Probably, though I'm at a loss for what that would be.
Suffice it to say that if this is the extent of Obama's outreach in the hip-hop community, then I'm even less impressed with him than I was before. Granted, I never bought for a minute that hip-hop youth are particulary valuable as a voting bloc anyway, but come on. Beyonce?
Personally, I could give a rat's ass whether the guy's really black or not. (And he's not.) But obviously it's been one of the defining issues of his campaign. So far he's yet to receive the level of support from the black community he would get if people really thought he was one of us.
For example, according to the Daily News story, Queen Latifah is hardly sold on Obama:
"This is not the year to give anybody the election," Queen Latifah told us at Monday's premiere of her affecting HBO movie, "Life Support," "I'm a woman. And I'm an African-American. It's an exciting race, but we need to scrutinize everybody. Let 'em earn my vote."
As such, I couldn't help but find it ironic that he would attempt to bolster his street cred by kicking it with Beyonce, perhaps the least authentically black of the black celebrity elite.
Don't believe me? Take a look at the facts:
a) Take a look at Beyonce's hair and facial features, as well as her mother, who has about the same complexion as Hulk Hogan. For all we know, Beyonce might be as white as Barack Obama.
b) Lest we forget, Beyonce was raised in the cracka-ass cracka suburbs, just like Bol. The fact that she speaks with such a bizarre accent obviously has more to do with the fact that she was taken out of school at an early age to pursue a career in music.
If none of this occurred to Barack Obama's handlers, then he might need to get some new handlers.
Either way, if Barack Obama is really interested in reaching out to the hip-hop community, he might try speaking to the issues that affect us the most, rather than posing for pictures with a few token celebrities.