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Director defends voting PSA featuring pole dancers appealing to 'Black male demographic'

Director defends voting PSA featuring pole dancers appealing to 'Black male demographic'

The director of a PSA featuring Atlanta-based exotic dancers took to Twitter on Tuesday to defend the ad, which was aimed at increasing voter turnout among “the black male demographic,” according to the ad’s website

In response to criticism on Twitter from Black film producer Tariq Nasheed, who said “this is what the white Democrats think will appeal to us,” Angela Gomes, the PSA’s director, said the video was crowdfunded and is meant to tell Black male voters to “start paying attention.”

“I am the writer/director & I am a BLACK WOMAN. I was NOT paid for this & used MY OWN MONEY & money raised from a GoFundMe to pay for it,” Gomes said in a reply to Nasheed’s tweet. “Black people, especially Black men are ignored by our govt & I want them to know they need to start paying attention. #getyourbootytothepoll” 

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The video, released on YouTube on Tuesday, is part of an effort called, “Get Your Booty to the Poll,” whose website lists resources on how to register to vote ahead of the November general elections. 

The ad starts with a series of women pole dancing, followed by the dancers talking about the importance of voting.

“Did we get your attention?” one of the dancers asked. “Good,” she added.

The video then cuts to another dancer saying, “So… you’re really not gonna vote?” 

Later on in the ad, it says “it’s clear that Black lives don’t matter to some of our current elected officials. If they matter to you, then don’t let other people decide who’s going to run your community.” 

The group’s GoFundMe page, which was created in July, raised more than $11,000 to help “create a series of PSAs and a meme campaign to inspire our brothers to vote.” The page says that any money not used will be donated to organizations such as the ACLU, Fair Fight and the Black Male Voter Project. 

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“Part of pushing for the change we want to see is helping put people in office who will support and advocate for those changes on a federal, state and local level,” a statement on the GoFundMe page from Gomes and producer Paul Fox says. “Black women vote more often than Black men, so we are focusing our campaign on Black men. We will create a series of PSAs and a meme campaign to inspire our brothers to vote.”

Some praised the political action group, with CNN senior entertainment writer Lisa Respers France tweeting the video on Wednesday, saying it was “the best voting #ad campaign I have seen yet.” 

According to a 2017 report from the Pew Research Center, black voter turnout in the 2016 election dropped to about 60 percent from 67 percent in 2012. Last month, Pew reported that Black female voters outnumbered Black males in the 2016 election by 10 percentage points.