BY JABARI KIONGOZI
You can bet black comics made jokes for days throughout America’s presidential run-off and were never short of material. Late night show host Trevor Noah and Larry Wilmore ceased every opportunity to poke fun at Donald Trump. Even Dave Chapelle couldn’t avoid a moment in the spotlight after sharing his analysis during a standup routine. Old and new stars alike offered more political commentary than we’ve seen in previous years but how impactful were their messages?It’s a safe bet to say black comics reached millions of Americans through social media. We saw King Bach and his crew create original content with powerful political statements and Lalasizahands89, another Instagram sensation, uploaded a video on voting day of her “twerking” as she goes to vote. Lalasizahands89’s video reached almost 200-thousand views hyping up the voting experience but was missing an essential piece that social media does not offer.
The matter dawned on us when seeing Anthony Anderson post to his Twitter page a selfie of him and his daughter with the caption “MY daughter voted in her first election today. So proud to stand with her as she made a difference in her future! #vote.” Anderson’s tweet is a great depiction of one of our black comics being politically active but we understood the power of social media alone is not what drives results. It is the action behind Anderson’s words. The fact that he went with his daughter to the polls.
Rappers like T.I., 2 Chainz, Killer Mike and even Chance The Rapper each orchestrated transportation to assist voters with getting to the polls. In the comedy world, we need to see more like Dick Gregory, one of the few names that comes to mind when thinking of black comics who actively heard groups of people to the polls.
Black comedians are surely not the reason Hillary lost and we applaud every comic that took a stand using their platform to influence others. But, for future reference, betting on grass roots methods could be most effective. This election not only made some bookmaker’s happy but it really opened our eyes.
BY JABARI KIONGOZI