Comedian Dave Chappelle speaks at Morgan State University homecoming. Photo: Anita Sanikop | Moguldom
In Maryland, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, a former NAACP president-turned-venture-capitalist hopes to reclaim the governor’s mansion for the Dems.
Thirty-six governor’s mansions are up for grabs in November, and the stakes are high in Maryland.
If 45-year-old Democrat Ben Jealous wins Maryland’s gubernatorial race, he’ll become the first African American governor of this former slave state where Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman once lived.
Jealous is getting some help from celebrity supporters to rally voters to the polls, including comedian and childhood friend Dave Chappelle.
At a Morgan State University rally on Saturday for Jealous, Chappelle and Van Jones attended Homecoming Weekend, addressing the crowd in Baltimore and asking students to vote for Jealous.
“Do it for our future,” Chappelle said at the student rally, in video footage shot by Moguldom. “Somebody’s got to start caring for our city. Baltimore can’t be ‘The Wire’ Forever.”
The HBO show “The Wire” was created by a former police reporter who writes some of the scripts. The show looks at Baltimore’s drug culture through the eyes of law enforcement, drug dealers and users, and also examines the city’s government and bureaucracy, schools and the media.
“I want us all to be happy, I want us all to stand on our own two, and I want us to be free,’ Chappelle said. The crowd applauded. “(Ben Jealous) wants the same thing and I believe he can deliver for Maryland. Powerful men shake my hand because they know where my power comes from. It comes from you, the people that watch my show, the people that support me. We’ve got to get the right people in there fighting for us. This is the right guy. That’s why I’m here.”
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Jealous faced a crowded Democratic field in the Maryland primary and is up against incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November.
In addition to Chappelle and Van Jones, the Jealous campaign lined up other events hosted by business, cultural and political celebrities, Baltimore Sun reported. These include Ben & Jerry’s ice cream magnates Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, actor Lamman Rucker, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a friend of Jealous.
Jealous has called for equality at Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities.
Maryland’s four HBCUs — Morgan State, Coppin State, Bowie State and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore — filed a lawsuit in 2006 against Maryland, saying the state fostered segregation by allowing well-funded academic programs at traditionally white universities to undermine HBCUs.
A judge agreed, ruling in 2013 that the state’s actions perpetuated segregation.
Gov. Hogan said he’d be willing to settle the lawsuit for $100 million, Baltimore Sun reported.
“Public HBCUs, like all of our universities, deserve to be treated fairly,” Jealous said Saturday on Fox News 5. “Federal judges found that Maryland has short-changed its public HBCUs by $2 billion. The governor has offered a nickel on the dollar. So for $2 Billion of discrimination, ‘I’ll give you $100 million.’ And he’s now appealing the lawsuit. I said as governor, I’ll drop the lawsuit. I will make the schools whole because discrimination has no place in Maryland’s institutions of public higher education.”