September 17, 2012

DJs try to get out the youth vote for President Obama

Philadelphia — The stage was set with monster speakers and an electronic turntable in a strip mall parking lot, between the Little Caesars Pizza and E-Glam Beauty Supply.

The party’s headliner was Diamond Kuts, a waify 20-something hip-hop DJ who favors big hoop earrings and, in the past few weeks, has become a fresh part of President Obama’s bid for reelection.

“You didn’t come out here to see me,” she shouted to roughly 100 fans, who snapped photos with their cellphones and had clearly come to see her. “We’re not here for anybody else but Barack Obama!”

DJ Diamond Kuts, whose given name is Tina Dunham, has 93,000 Twitter followers and a devoted audience of mostly 15- to 32-year-olds who appear in droves when she hosts block parties such as the one on a recent Saturdayin this predominantly black neighborhood. That following makes her a desirable pitchman for the Obama campaign in the final weeks of the presidential race, as the campaign refines its effort to thinly slice the electorate and reach every potential supporter.

Dunham, one of dozens of DJs who have been recruited by the campaign to help the president, has begun shouting out to Obama on Twitter, promoting him at local events like this one and talking about him during her Saturday night radio show on Power 99, one of this city’s hottest urban radio stations.

For church ladies, there is the Obama campaign’s “congregation captains” program. For college students, there is Students for Barack Obama. For young adults not on college campuses, like the afternoon dancers here in northwest Philly, there is the weeks-old DeeJays for Obama.

The goal is to appeal to young voters to register and turn out to vote.

No comments: