Carrie Mae Weems Releases Pro-Clinton Video Featuring Barack Obama

The MacArthur grantee is with her.

Carrie Mae Weems at the Gordon Parks Foundation awards dinner, Plaza Hotel, New York, June 4, 2013. Photo Ronald Riqueros/Patrick McMullan.
Carrie Mae Weems at the Gordon Parks Foundation awards dinner, Plaza Hotel, New York, June 4, 2013. Photo Ronald Riqueros/Patrick McMullan.

In a new video in support of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton, the sound of America’s first black president rings out over footage of a black neighborhood in New York. Carrie Mae Weems’s “The Power of Your Vote” clocks in at just under four minutes and features audio from Barack Obama’s September 18 address to the Congressional Black Caucus, along with slow-motion video of everyday Americans walking on the streets of the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens.

“My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot,” Obama intones. “Tolerance is on the ballot! Democracy is on the ballot! Justice is on the ballot! Good schools are on the ballot! Ending mass incarceration, that’s on the ballot right now!”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wave to supporters during a town hall event in Haverford, Pennsylvania, on October 4, 2016. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wave to supporters during a town hall event in Haverford, Pennsylvania, on October 4, 2016. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Weems was at work on a script for the video, according to the Clinton campaign’s website, but scrapped it in favor of a recording of Obama. The artist was a recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. She was also the subject of a three-decade retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2014.

Many artists have declared that they’re “with her,” including Deborah Kass, who riffed on Warhol’s classic “Vote McGovern” poster, creating a limited-edition print featuring the face of Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Others have signed on with Trump, including New York artist and “creative patriot” Scott LoBaido, whose gargantuan Trump yard sign rose on a Staten Island lawn after it was taken down in a suspected arson fire.

Obama’s message in the video challenges those who might be complacent, and even gets confrontational. “I will consider it a personal insult,” he says, “an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election.”

“Hope is on the ballot,” he concludes, “and fear is on the ballot too.”


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