A new voting ad featuring Atlanta strippers caused quite a stir on social media this week. The upcoming 2020 presidential election presents unique challenges for Black voters and at this point, it’s an all hands on deck mentality.
The campaign titled, #GetYourBootyToThePoll,” features an ad that takes us inside a makeshift exotic club where dancers use the old bait and switch in an attempt to engage and educate voters on the importance of state and local representation.
The voluptuous dancers sprinkle in acrobatics and athleticism while stating important pieces of voter education information.
“You know it’s more than just the president on the ballot right?” one of the dancers says.
“A district attorney decides who to prosecute,” another adds.
“Including whether or not to go after dirty cops,” a third says to the camera.
“Ferguson just elected their first black mayor. You know how that happened?” another woman says before the screen cuts to a woman twerking in a thong bikini with the word “vote” written on her butt cheeks.
Supporters can visit the Get Your Booty To The Poll website, which includes resource and information for first time and experienced voters, as well as who is running locally.
“The entire crew was made up of volunteers who were dedicated to the message and idea of increasing the voter turn-out amongst the black male demographic. We hope that our passionate message becomes your reality when you take your booty to the poll and vote this election cycle,” a message reads on the site.
The ad of course garnered mixed reactions on social media.
Many saw the campaign as a way to reach voters who have interests that lie outside of the main stream. The ad which gives voice to dancers and sex workers, makes it evident that voter education needs to expand beyond passing the same Black people the mic on civic engagement and Democracy.
Undoubtedly, a woman should have autonomy over her body and stripping lies outside of the respectability archetype routinely presented to Black women, as many of our community members are rooted in the church. Shows like P-Valley have helped raise the national conscious regarding exotic dancers and their humanity.
In this polarizing election, Black communities are even further split on what constitutes real civic engagement. On one hand, we know that voting is an essential tool, but the order for Black communities to continue voting even when elected officials are moving outside and against our best interest needs genuine discussion and evaluation.
And there were others who argued that it was a cheap tactic that depended on the hypersexuality stereotype aimed at Black men and women in order to gain the attention of Black male voters.
Others encouraged a conspiracy theory wave of thinking, saying that the ad was done by a white filmmaker who sought clout.
Angela Barnes, a Black woman who directed the PSA, tweeted her thoughts in response to the controversy.
“I am the writer/director & I am a BLACK WOMAN. I was NOT paid for this & used MY OWN MONEY & money raised from a GoFundMe to pay for it. Black people, especially Black men are ignored by our govt & I want them to know they need to start paying attention,” she wrote including the hashtag, #getyourbootytothepoll.
Whatever the case may be, the ad surely got the people going on social media. What do you think about the campaign? Did it deliver a message or fall flat? Let us know in the comments!