By Chuck Ross
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign released an ad this week narrated by a popular rapper who has called Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan his “mentor” and a “great guy.”
The ad, narrated by Jeezy, aims to boost black voter turnout as part of the campaign’s “Shop Talk” series.
“If you are out there marching in these streets, exercising your rights, you need to exercise your right to vote, too,” Jeezy says in the ad, which is posted to the Biden campaign’s YouTube channel.
“It’s the only way to make sure we get the change we’re looking for. And I do mean we. Us. Better jobs, education, health care, and criminal justice reform.”
Jeezy, born Jay Jenkins, directs listeners to the voter registration website “I Will Vote.”
According to the Detroit Metro Times, the campaign began running the ad on radio stations in Michigan on Thursday.
Jeezy, who began his career in Atlanta, has been open about his close relationship with Farrakhan. Numerous rappers and Democratic politicians have embraced the Nation of Islam leader despite his many anti-Semitic and anti-white statements over the years.
Farrakhan has blamed Jewish people for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Holocaust, and referred to them as “satanic.” He also praised Adolf Hitler as a “very great man.”
At a Nation of Islam event in February 2018, Farrakhan asserted that “Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men.”
“White folks are going down,” he also said, according to CNN. “And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off of that satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through.”
Jeezy himself has not made anti-Semitic statements, but he has heaped praise on Farrakhan in interviews and met with him on multiple occasions.
“Meeting of the minds, with my mentor. The Honorable Minister Farrakhan,” Jeezy wrote on Twitter April 17, 2015.
— Sno (@Jeezy) April 17, 2015
He called Farrakhan a “great guy” in an interview in October 2015 with Marc Lamont Hill, a former CNN contributor.
“Who are your mentors?” Hill asked Jeezy.
“I like people with their own state of mind. I like Farrakhan,” he said.
The rapper described a conversation he had with Farrakhan a week before his arrest on gun charges in 2014.
“I just want you to know the enemy’s watching you,” Jeezy recalled Farrakhan saying.
Farrakhan has cited an unspecified “enemy” in the past when criticizing the U.S. government and the entertainment industry in Hollywood. In one video posted on Facebook, Farrakhan blamed the “enemy” for promoting interracial marriage, which he said “mongrelized” the black race.
Jeezy was arrested in August 2014 on a weapons charge in connection with a murder following a concert for fellow rapper Wiz Khalifa. The charges were dropped in December 2014 due to a lack of evidence.
In another interview in October 2015, Jeezy said that Farrakhan had warned him that the so-called “enemy” would eventually go after him because of a shift in the message in his music. Jeezy was an early pioneer of “trap” music, a genre of rap that originated in the south and glorifies drug dealing. His music has taken a more political tone in recent years along with many other artists in the industry.
Jeezy compared himself to Michael Jackson in the interview, saying that the pop star framed as a pedophile after his music ventured in a more activist direction.
“They don’t want you to get too powerful. Look what they did to Michael Jackson,” he said in the interview.
Jeezy asserted that Jackson came under investigation for molesting children because his music took on a more politically aggressive tone.
“They tried to make the man a pedophile. They did that to him,” Jeezy said of Jackson, who settled a lawsuit in the 1990s with the family of a boy who claimed he was molested by the pop star.
Jeezy is not the first rapper with ties to Farrakhan who Democrats have touted during the 2020 campaign. Common, a Chicago-based rapper, appeared at the Democratic National Committee’s convention in August.
The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
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