Hip-hop artist Jamal “Shyne” Barrow, a Bad Boy Records alumnus, is running for the Belize House of Representative and he has been endorsed by Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Shyne now goes by the name Moses Michael Levi Barrow.
“I’m so proud of my brother @shyne_bz and the journey he is on,” Diddy captioned on an Instagram post of the “Bonnie & Clyde” artist. “He is running for the House of Representatives and needs your support.”
Shyne isn’t new to politics. The son of Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, he grew up in an influential political family in Belize. Shyne was nominated by Belize’s United Democratic Party to stand as a candidate for the country’s House of Representatives for the constituency of Mesopotamia in Belize City. His father made history by becoming the first Black prime minister of Belize in 2008, Revolt reported.
Shyne is expected to succeed his uncle, the Honorable Michael Finnegan, who didn’t seek re-election when his term was up in the House of Representatives back in 2017.
Currently, Shyne is the country’s official ambassador of music.
It’s is a long way from his former life. Shyne went to prison in 2001 after being convicted of assault in an incident that occurred in December 1999 while he was hanging out with Diddy and Jennifer Lopez at Club New York in Manhattan, Revolt reported. Three people were injured. Diddy also stood trial but was acquitted.
Shyne’s self-titled debut album was released in 2002 and it peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at No. 5. “Bad Boyz” was the lead single.
He was released from prison in 2009 after serving eight years of a 10-year sentence. Upon his release, Shyne converted to Judaism and changed his name to Moses Levi. He has since changed it to Moses Michael Levi Barrow. His birth name is Jamal Michael Barrow.
While Shyne and Diddy may be friends again, this wasn’t always the case. Following his sentencing, Shyne broke all ties with Bad Boy and spoke out against Diddy. After Diddy intimated to the press he had been in touch with the imprisoned Shyne, Shyne denied Diddy ever reached out to him, Rolling Stone reported.
“I want it known that this supposed conversation is a figment of Sean Combs’ imagination. He never spoke with me, he never visited me nor would I ever accept a phone call or visit from him,” Shyne responded.
Shyne is just one of many hip-hop artists getting into politics. Uncle Luke previously ran for mayor of Miami and now Kanye West is running for president. West announced that he modeled his management approach on Wakanda, the fictional homeland in the film “Black Panther”.
In 2010, Wyclef Jean ran for president of Haiti but was removed from the ballot since candidates for the presidency are required to have lived in the country for at least five years prior to their run. The next year, in 2011, Uncle Luke ran for mayor of Miami with a focus on “economic development, public safety, community revitalization, and affordable housing.” He got 11 percent of the vote.
A former member of Lords Of The Underground, Dupre “Doitall” Kelly ran for Councilman-At-Large in Newark, New Jersey in 2018. His platform included a focus on improving education. He lost.
He previously told Revolt, “Man, this is not an easy task. It takes money, it takes people to contribute financially.… You can’t jump into politics because you think you’re popular. You have to do the groundwork, the footwork. You gotta put in the work with the residents.”
Che Smith, also known as Rhymefest, came close to winning when he ran for Chicago City Council in 2011. He fell short by 6 percentage points.
“For much of hip hop’s history engaging in politics, the emphasis was on activism, grassroots community organizing, and donating to campaigns. Step. Repeat. Eazy-E, for example, found himself invited to a fundraiser for George H.W. Bush’s campaign, creating one of the early 1990s biggest rap-related spectacles,” Revolt reported.
KRS-One spearheaded the Stop The Violence Movement in the late 1980s in an attempt to quell violence in Black communities. He produced the song “Self Destruction,” which raised more than $100,000 for the National Urban League.
Diddy launched the Citizen Change campaign in 2004, partnering with Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Mariah Carey to create voter awareness for young people and minorities.
JAY-Z and Meek Mill’s Reform Alliance aims to help more 1 million people falsely incarcerated.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
“I think every rapper with influence should have a local candidate that they support hard and know their policies,” Rhymefest said. “Hip hop has the ability to be kingmakers. Why do I know everything about Brooklyn, Harlem, Bronx and the differences in it? Rappers. Rappers can take that skillset of claiming their hood and really do that for our upliftment. Not just to (brag about gang life). If we did that with policy, we could change everything.”
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