Rhode Island State Senator Tiara Mack, 28, went viral on Monday, July 4, after she posted a video of herself twerking and encouraging people to vote for her.
In the TikTok video, Mack is wearing a bikini and twerking upside down. Afterward, she looks into the camera and says, “Vote Senator Mack.”
The first Black LGBTQ person elected to the Rhode Island Senate, Mack is a Democrat and self-described “queer educator” who sponsored a sex ed bill for her state.
“Really excited for the house sex ed bill hearing later today. Teaching comprehensive, queer inclusive, pleasure based sex ed was a highlight of my time teaching,” Mack tweeted on Feb. 2.
Both Mack’s video and her bill received criticism from people on social media.
“This is an elected official,” Libs of TikTok tweeted and accentuated the statement with a vomit emoji.
“This is RI Senator Tiara Mack- who the white democrats brag about being the first openly LGBTQ Black person elected to the Rhode Island Senate. She is twerking for votes,” filmmaker and activist Tariq Nasheed tweeted. “Hey Democrats….please don’t give Corey Booker any ideas.”
“One [realistic] question to ask is, “How does this EMPOWER us as Black females?” Twitter user @staypos63449028 responded.
“I don’t ever wanna hear you complain about how ‘women aren’t respected in this country’ after posting this,” one commenter said, according to the Daily News.
There were also several memes of Mack’s twerking video created, including one which made it seem as if President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses were watching Mack twerk on their inauguration night.
There were some who came to Mack’s defense, however.
“The trolls aren’t coming for @runforsomething candidate @MackDistrict6 because of a video – they’re coming for b/c she’s a young queer Black leader & a fierce champion for repro rights. We’ve got her back. Chip in to her re-election now,” Run For Something co-founder Amanda Litman tweeted along with a donation link for her re-election campaign.
The Brown University-educated Mack also clapped back at several of her critics directly. Later that evening she tweeted, “Damn. Twerking upside down really makes the conservative, unhinged internet accounts pop off on a Monday.”
Mack also asked for donations for her campaign in response to a message from the Rhode Island GOP, who used her twerking video and bill to solicit donations.
“Honey baby. This ain’t it. Because I have an Ivy League degree and I’m a sitting state senator. It’s not about what I’m wearing. It’s not about what I’m doing. They won’t respect me regardless,” Mack responded to the commenter who challenged her demand for response.
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