“During the 2004 presidential campaign, Diddy launched the Vote or Die initiative,” writes Michael Arceneaux, a Howard-educated writer, in a recent piece at The Root. While attending HBCU Howard University in the nation’s capital, Michael became a writer for his school’s newspaper, The Hilltop. There, he was able to write on the problems with giving celebrities too much influence in terms of mobilizing people to vote. “At the time I was a student at Howard University, and through our newspaper, The Hilltop, I wrote about the problems with giving celebrities too much sway in mobilizing groups—notably young people—to the polls. After all, famous folks may be well-meaning,” he writes, “but for every Jesse Williams and John Legend, there’s a Stacey Dash and Donald Trump.”
He then points out how last fall Diddy dismissed Vote or Die as a “scam” and argues that it would be better for him and other black celebs to tell people to learn how to lobby and etc. instead. Although, he admits, that Diddy has many talents… “Diddy has many talents, but political mobilization is not in the top 79,” he writes. “So, in homage to the late TV psychic Miss Cleo, I’d like to tell y’all to “Call me now!” so I can flex my psychic powers,” cause I told y’all so about these famous folks.”
He was also taken back by Bow Wow and Nick Cannon’s recent comments on race and politics. “The two most recent examples are Bow Wow and Nick Cannon,” he writes. “Mariah Carey’s soon-to-be ex-husband claimed that he’s not voting in the presidential election because it’s a “popularity contest.” That is essentially every type of election, but OK, whatever makes folks sleep better at night (wealth and fame should be enough, though). Then there is Bow Wow, who thinks he’s some sort of magic mulatto whose mixed heritage precludes him from participating in issues like federal elections and civil rights.” It made him ask why we care about Bow Wow’s political opinions, or if we even knew Bow Wow was still alive.
So, Michael came up with a solution—one should ask oneself a certain series of questions before engaging the opinions of some black celebs:
“Of course, there are some whose opinions are thoughtful and, in numerous cases, helpful. However, you need to apply a certain test before even bothering to engage.
Question 1: Does X celebrity come across as someone who has read an entire book since eighth grade?
Question 2: Does X celebrity have an active rap/acting/faux-modeling career?
Question 3: Do you think X celebrity could name at least one Supreme Court justice?
Question 4: Do you think this celebrity could name any senator breathing? On this one, I’ll even let the celeb pick a senator outside of his or her state.
Question 5: Would this celebrity use “Black Lives Matter”?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, do yourself a favor and look away.”
Michael shared his thoughts on other celebs whose opinions are worth hearing out, keeping away from the misguided and more. Head over to The Root to read the entire article.