From Will.i.am to B.o.B. – Obama looks to get his groove back
President Barack Obama had major cool points with young music fans when he was running for president in 2008 and just after he was inaugurated — whether it was hip-hop star Will.i.am’s song “Yes We Can,” the viral “Obama Girl” YouTube Video “I’ve Got a Crush on Obama” or lyrics like the rapper Maino’s “When I think that I can’t/I envision Obama” in the song “All the Above.”
That message has faded during his 20 months running the country, lost in the welter of bitter policy debates and fights to pass legislation.
With just six weeks to go before mid-term elections in which his fellow Democrats are struggling to keep their majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate against a resurgent Republican party, Obama and party leaders are looking to get some of that magic back. They are rebranding the party’s youth wing as “Gen44,” or “Generation 44″ (Obama is the 44th president of the United States), and put together low-cost events across the country intended to motivate young Democratic voters — and in particular to get them out to vote on Nov. 2.
Obama will attempt to reel in some hip-hop magic in person next Thursday, when he attends a concert with the 21-year-old rapper “B.o.B.” kicking off a Gen44 summit in Washington. B.o.B.’s website features a video “I am Gen44,” in which he talks about the Sept. 30 concert and encourages his fans “to come out and support this movement for change that we started in 2008.”
B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You” and “Airplanes” both reached number one, but one of his other songs in particular might appeal to Obama as he faces intense attacks from Republicans — “Haterz Everywhere.”
(Picture credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (Amber Lee Ettinger, also known as “Obama Girl,” presents a creation at a “Dressed To Kilt” fashion event in New York, March 30, 2009.)