Who runs the world, and the cultural lexicon of the United States? Strippers -- at least according to Atlanta-based pole dancer Coy Malone. "A lot of the stuff that you see has been influenced by strip club culture, and especially Atlanta strip club culture. If you've heard a song that is very popular on the radio or is very hot, 9 times out of 10, we've heard it in the strip club like six months before everyone else," Malone told BuzzFeed News. "If we like it, everybody else likes it," she said.
Want to know what Malone and other dancers are super into this year? Making it rain -- ballots. Last month, Atlanta-based director Angela Barnes teamed up with a group of exotic dancers to launch a new campaign ingenuously called "Get Your Booty To The Poll," encouraging viewers to cast their vote in this year's national and local elections. Throughout the provocative one minute and 30-second video, Malone and some other dancers don red, white, and blue bikinis, twirling and flipping around a pole, all while explaining the importance of down-ballot races.
"A district attorney decides not to prosecute," says one dancer named Imani in the video. "Including whether or not to go after dirty cops," adds another performer. "Do you know who elects the DA?" asks Malone, "We do!"
As Imani perfectly puts it, "Can't make it rain when you're locked up on some bullshit." She does raise a very valid point.
The video, which also touches on topics including the Black Lives Matter movement and education reform, may seem incredibly inventive, but Barnes says she was surprised that nobody had beat her to creating the PSA. "It's killing me that somebody hasn't done this before me, like: why?" Barnes told CNN. "It was easy to figure out and I have no background in politics or marketing. So why is it so viral? Why is because, in general, Black people are ignored and taken for granted."
According to Barnes, The video was created to bridge the gap in voter messaging that traditionally overlooks Black men. "Let me just focus on Atlanta Black men," Barnes said in an interview with Glamour Magazine. "Let me just focus on Atlanta Black men who like strip clubs."
So why center the advertisement around strippers? "Atlanta has a strip club culture. People go out and go on dates at strip clubs, people get married and have funerals at strip clubs," Barnes explained to NPR. "You know, people don't just go there to see like, naked people. You go there for the vibe."
...the video has also received some negative criticism.
"I didn't think every Black person would like it," Barnes said of her work. "People think of Black people as a monolith, and we're not." And as for the allegations that the video is misogynistic? "To me, using your body for work is the same as a massage therapist or a construction worker using their bodies for work."
Moral of the story? Sex work is real work, strippers are certifiably badass, and most importantly, please, for the love of God, VOTE! As Stephen Colbert put it, "That, my friends, is democracy at twerk."
For more information on registering to vote, click here. To learn more about Get Your Booty To the Poll, click here. For more lectures on why you need to vote in 2020, follow Carly on Instagram @HuntressThompson_ and on Twitter @TennesAnyone.