Latino celebs feel the need to endorse

Some people like to think Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama got the ultimate celebrity endorsement in this year’s election cycle when he got talk show Queen Oprah Winfrey to enthusiastically tout his presidential possibilities.

Yet there’s a group of celebrity endorsements that could turn out to be just as influential, because it could be what gets the growing Latino voter bloc to decide that not only do they not trust Republicans, they like Obama enough to go to the polls to vote for him.

RUNNING DOWN THE list of entertainers who are of Latino ethnic backgrounds, Obama takes just about all of them because he’s the Democrat in this year’s presidential campaign.

In fact, Daddy Yankee could be unique.

Daddy Yankee is the stage name of Ramón Ayala, the Puerto Rican rapper who is one of the big names of the Reggaeton musical genre that attempts to combine rap with the music of the Caribbean.

It turns out Ayala is negotiating with the campaign of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, and could be featured in some sort of advertisements geared toward trying to take a piece of the Latino vote come the Nov. 4 elections.

BUT DADDY YANKEE is it. He’s the lone Latino entertainer I have heard of who is even considering the McCain campaign. And it is always possible he may decide not to get involved in the general election campaign by staying apolitical.

Just about every other Latino entertainer has come out for Obama, in the same way that a lot of entertainers find their way to the Democratic Party in general.

One, actress Rosario Dawson, is going to far as to head up, an organization devoted to getting young Latinos to take the time to register to vote on Nov. 4. They note the roughly 50,000 Latinos who turn 18 every month, which increases the size of the potential Latino voter bloc between now and November larger than any other potential group of voters in this country.

Obama support is even coming from Latin American entertainers, who as citizens of other countries technically have no concern in the outcome of the November general election. Except that they do.

WITH THE UNITED States being the 3-ton gorilla of the world (it can’t be ignored), the world has an interest in who gets elected president of this country. That has bands such as Los Tigres del Norte (of Mexico) urging people at their concerts in this country to register to vote.

Earlier this year in Miami, Dominican Juan Luis Guerra performed at a concert that was meant to promote political awareness and voter registration.

Now personally, I don’t expect most of these people to be up on the geeky details of every issue. Most of them may have but one issue they care deeply about, and couldn’t tell you a thing about where the candidates stand on anything else.

Some may be backing Barack solely because it “feels” like the trendy thing to do. When they open their mouths to try to talk about issues, they may wind up sounding as ignorant as someone like Ted Nugent does whenever he starts talking about firearms.

OTHER LATINO ENTERTAINERS may very well be expressing the general sentiment shown in various polls that shows the Latino voter bloc in general trending toward Obama by ratios of 2-1 or even up to 3-1, depending on which poll one trusts.

I think comedian George Lopez (a Californian of Mexican descent) is most honest in saying why he backs Barack Obama – he dislikes all the talk by Anglo political pundits about how Latinos won’t back an African-American candidate.

He sees that talk as an attempt by white people to stir up dissent, and perhaps distract attention from the degree to which some white voters in this country are supporting McCain solely (or primarily) because he IS the white candidate in this campaign.

Lopez may have a point. A recent Gallup Organization survey showed that white people perceived a rift between “Hispanic” and “black” people in greater numbers than either Latino or African-American people did.

A STRONG LATINO vote for Obama (which is what he has urged in various appearances) would go a long way to reducing tensions between the two non-Anglo groups.

And if race does turn out to be a significant factor in the way people vote in Campaign ’08, it would become solely a white peoples’ problem.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Just about all entertainers of Latino ethnic backgrounds who have any interest ( in political matters are backing Barack Obama for president. Obama support is even coming ( from entertainers who are citizens of other countries.

Will reggaeton star Daddy Yankee be the Lone Latino for the campaign ( of John McCain?

Jessica Alba and George Lopez are just two of the Latinos who used this video earlier this summer ( to show their support for Obama.

For what it is worth, two academics give serious study to the concept of whether celebrity