One of the perks of being President of the United States is the pomp-and-circumstance that follows you everywhere you go. And while former President Bill Clinton has said that he misses hearing “Hail to the Chief,” it’s possible that President Obama might someday pine for the days when he had his own DJ.
For now, though, Obama’s West Coast turntablist, DJ Adam 12, is happy to cue up some choice election-hyping cuts for the commander-in-chief, as his East Coast counterpart did on Tuesday night when the president was in New York at a $40,000-a-head 40/40 Club fundraiser hosted by power couple Jay-Z … Beyoncé which raised $4 million for the Obama re-election cause.
MTV News caught up with Adam 12 (aka Adam Bravin, half of the darkwave duo She Wants Revenge) before the event to talk about why he’s gotten involved in the campaign.
“I think it sends an important message for Jay-Z and Beyoncé to throw this fundraiser … that it’s important for people that support the president to actually support the president,” said Adam 12. “I know that Jay-Z and Beyoncé had gotten some flak recently for not supporting their community. I think this just goes to show that they do support their community.”
While introducing Obama to the 100 or so guests at the party, Beyoncé said, “I can’t tell you how proud we are to host tonight’s event with President Obama … we believe in his vision.”
President Obama had some high words of praise for his hosts at the party, as well, joking that he’s actually got a lot in common with rap superstar, and new dad, Jay. “Jay-Z now knows, you know, what my life is like,” he said. “We both have daughters. And our wives are more popular than we are … So we’ve got a little bond there. It’s hard, but it’s OK.”
He also noted that first lady Michelle and his daughters Malia and Sasha were mad at him because they could not make it to the fundraiser on a school night. Obama thanked both stars for their generosity toward his children and singled out Beyoncé for being a good example to the girls.
“Beyoncé could not be a better role model for our daughters because she carries herself with such class and poise,” he said. “And has so much talent.”
On September 1, during Jay’s Made in America music festival performance in Philadelphia, the rapper rolled out a special message from the president on the big screen as tens of thousands of fans cheered on. “To me, the idea of America is that no matter who you are, what you look like or where you come from, you can make it if you try. Jay-Z did it,” Obama said in the pre-taped message following “Public Service Announcement.” “He didn’t come from power or privilege. He got ahead because he worked hard, learned from his mistakes and just plain refused to quit. That’s what ’made in America’ means.”
If fans and fellow musicians feel the same way about Obama as Jay, Adam 12 encouraged them to get involved. “I think that people should put their money where their mouth is,” he said. “DJs across the country, artists across the country, no matter what kind of artists they are, it’s one thing to support it and just talk about it, but it’s another thing to actually go out there and do something.”
And while he realizes not everyone can have a glamorous, multi-million dollar fundraiser, Adam 12 said everyone can pitch in.
“That’s obviously the highest level of something you can do in support of raising money for the president,” he said of he 40/40 party. “But I think it’s important for everybody … it sends a clear message that everybody can do something, whether it’s make some phone calls, knock on doors, have a little party of your own, throw a club, whatever it is you can do in whatever town that you’re in, you should be doing that if you actually do support the president and you want him to be re-elected.”
Hopefully, he said, the Jay and Beyoncé event will set a trend and other artists of that caliber will step up and do the same.