By Carter Maness
While America usually veers towards Bruce Springsteen or John Mellencamp for presidential election anthems, French candidate Francois Hollande is taking a different route in their 2012 contest. The front-running challenger to current leader Nicolas Sarkozy has made Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “N—as In Paris” his campaign theme in a new video.
The video’s content could not be more different than the song’s. Rather than the brash, uber-rich bravado of The Throne, the clip depicts Hollande visiting disenfranchised suburbs and highlights the multicultural aspects of French society by showing minorities and their living conditions in a frank manner. Even stranger, the track appears in unedited form, creating a bizarre atmosphere where serious footage is scored by prolific profanity and materialism.
Given Hollande’s current 12-point lead in the election, it also appears to be working in his favor. By targeting both minority and youth supporters that relate to Jay and Ye’s music, the candidate’s style is appealing to sects of voters that may push him over the edge come election day.
Of course, this isn’t the only recent instance of “N—as In Paris” causing a stir by appearing wildly out of context. Pop star Katy Perry, performing for Radio 1 Live Lounge in England, did a controversial yet clean cover of the song last month to the Internet’s collective amazement.