During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama enjoyed considerable support from the African-American community, and that certainly included Hollywood. Journalist Allison Samuels noted in a recent Daily Beast/Newsweek article that Los Angeles political power couple Michael and Mattie Lawson hosted a fundraiser at their lavish home for the up-and-coming candidate – at that time a relatively unknown senator from Illinois – and have since raised almost $2 million for him.
The president was an easier sell the first time around because everyone was full of optimism about what he could achieve in office. Three years later, many members of the African-American community say the president has not done enough for them. Expectations are lower this time, and there are real questions as to whether or not African-Americans in Hollywood will step up for him again. Vocal critics like philosopher Cornel West of the Union Theological Seminary and talk show host Tavis Smiley have berated the president for neglecting the poor and minorities. According to Allison Samuels, actor Samuel L. Jackson, a staunch Obama supporter in 2008, has admitted to his own current ambivalence. Nevertheless, other Hollywood heavy hitters like dancer/director Debbie Allen, Will and Jada Smith, Tracy Jordan, Jay-Z, and Denzel Washington say they are firmly onboard the president’s re-election campaign.
One person who strengthens President Obama’s standing with the Hollywood elite is his wife, Michelle. She continues to be a huge draw, according to Mattie Lawson, who notes that RSVPs to her upcoming fundraising luncheon featuring the First Lady are coming in very quickly.
Read more at The Daily Beast.