An article in today’s Washington Post about the Democratic Party’s outreach to the audience of radio stations that spin Christian music is somewhat interesting in the sense that Barack Obama is making some effort to try to woo this somewhat unlikely market. But it gets really fascinating when the writer talks about what happens when gospel music collides with Hillary Clinton.
You might be surprised by one insider’s estimation that artists working under the Christian music umbrella are likely equally split as Democrats and Republicans, however, probably no one would be shocked that the same insider says “the consumer, on the other hand, is about 80-20.” Still, when Rick Hendrix, described by the Post as “a 38-year-old schmoozy North Carolinian” who is (apparently) a significant figure in Christian concert promotion, decided to go all-out for Hillary during the Democratic primaries, wackiness ensued.
“My grandmother was born the year women got the right to vote, and I was raised by a lot of strong-willed women. I just got passionate about her,” says Hendrix, who gets a strangely dreamy sound in his voice when he talks about meeting Madeleine Albright at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Hendrix has demanded that his musician clients let him stage rallies or set up informational tables for Democrats, at or near their shows, whether they like it or not. About half his artists are fine with that, he says, while the others agree somewhat reluctantly.
But how does this cultural crusade go down with fans? If Hendrix’s experience is a barometer, it may be a mixed bag. He says he staged hundreds of Clinton events at concerts before she dropped out, including Young Harmony at Ole Country Church in McDonough, Ga., and the gospel group Heirline at Victory Baptist Church in Dallas. There were repercussions. Someone tried to run over a volunteer (yes, with a car) in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Coffee was thrown in Hendrix’s face in Raleigh, N.C. A few radio stations he worked with sent back his CDs, cracked.
As someone who’s received a number of e-mails from church going acquaintances accusing Obama of being a “closet Muslim”, I’m not terribly shocked that the gospel music audience wasn’t too willing to accept even a vague pro-choice element. But running someone over with a car still seems a little excessive! I just hope the car was heading forward at the time… rear-ending a Democrat might have jarred loose the Jesus fish on the car’s back bumper.
Trying to Get Christian Music Fans to Tune To the Left [Washington Post]