July 10, 2024
The meetings and public appearances with rappers and other Black celebrities have been a big part of Trump’s attempts to appeal to Black voters throughout his political career, sometimes using pardons like those he granted to Lil Wayne and Kodak Black ahead of the 2020 election.
The presumptive Republican Party nominee, former President Donald Trump, is reportedly using Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland to connect to rappers to woo Black voters on behalf of the Trump campaign. Although the campaign denies that McFarland has any official role on the campaign team, they did admit that he is a source they tap to connect with celebrities, rappers, or musical artists. 
According to Rolling Stone, McFarland, known for his Fyre Festival flop, was a key player in connecting Trump to Brooklyn rappers Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow when they appeared at a Trump rally in The Bronx in May. McFarland’s inclusion seems to be part of a larger strategy employed by the Trump campaign to recruit rappers into their fold, with the eventual goal of getting them to endorse Trump 2024 and campaign for him publicly. So far, none of the rappers and producers on their prospective list have agreed to do either. 
According to sources close to the Trump campaign, Trump gets excited when he talks about rappers who have endorsed him, like Lil Wayne. Trump also reportedly desires to be close to rappers and to have more campaign appearances alongside them, even those who won’t necessarily endorse him publicly. The sources also indicate that Trump has repeatedly said that he regrets that he won’t get an endorsement from Snoop Dogg, who he speculated won’t endorse him out of a fear of losing endorsement deals. 
The meetings and or public appearances with rappers and Black celebrities have been a big part of Trump’s attempts to appeal to Black voters throughout his political career, sometimes using pardons like those he granted to Lil Wayne and Kodak Black ahead of the 2020 election. 
Democratic National Committee spokesperson Alex Floyd criticized the involvement of McFarland, telling TMZ, “There is nothing more on brand for a convicted felon like Donald Trump than recruiting another convicted felon to join his campaign just in time for the Republican National Convention, which is shaping up to be just as much of a dumpster fire as Fyre Fest.”
Trump’s hyperfocus on attracting Black voters via his associations with Black celebrities and rappers as he ignores the inherent racism in essentially saying Black people like him because he’s a criminal coupled with policy positions like advocating for the return of “stop and frisk” is a large part of why despite Joe Biden’s struggles with that voting bloc, Trump lags behind him in Black support. 
This, however, did not stop Tav C., the manager of Philadelphia rapper QT7 Quanny, from setting up a meeting with Trump, even though his client was initially suspicious. “[Caporale] (Trump 2024 Deputy Campaign Manager for Operations Justin Caporale) said, ‘Look, we’re coming to Philly tomorrow. We’d love to have you guys riding the motorcade,’” Tav C. recalls. “We want to bring you on the jet to hang out with [Trump]. Then he’s going to get some cheesesteaks. We want you guys to ride with him.”
Tav C. told Rolling Stone that he believes his client was selected because he has the ears of the street, and after talking to Trump for an extended period of time, He believes Trump cares about increasing public safety in Philly. “I feel like right now people do feel safe, but I also feel like [other] people don’t feel safe, especially in places like Philadelphia [and] New York City,” Tav C. said. “I don’t know if that’s something that the migrants have brought or it’s something that happened post-pandemic, but it’s just something that I feel like we need to do better at. I feel like we were able to express that to the ex-president and [were] able to bend his ear on that.” 
Tav C. also positioned the meeting with Trump as more about opening up dialogue than making a political alliance, telling Rolling Stone, “[The Trump meeting] was literally getting in front of him and having that conversation and letting him know what Philly is about,” he says. “There are certain things about the city and about the kids that people forget in the bigger picture. And if President Biden wants to sit down, we’ll be open to that. It’s more about just having the conversations and opening up these dialogues than anything else.”
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