“It kills me that someone hasn’t done this before me, like: why?” she told CNN. “It was easy to understand and I have no experience in politics or marketing. Why is it so viral? Why is it because black people are generally ignored and taken for granted.”
Barnes is an Atlanta-based television director, and said the idea came after she and some other industry friends across the country began talking about what they could do after the death of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic.
Directors like her who live in Georgia wanted to do something that is clearly related to their area, she said. But all the ideas they came up with needed big budgets, something friends didn̵
“I had a feeling we needed something that people would want to share on their own without having to pay to get it there,” Barnes said. “We’re going to want to do something that’s informative and specific about who we’re talking to, and I say, ‘I want it to be Atlanta, I want people to know it’s about Atlanta.’ Then I said, “I don’t know, like the Magic City dancers who say take your booty.”
This careless comment caused excitement and the group organized a GoFundMe campaign, which quickly raised thousands of dollars.
But Barnes and her producer Paul Fox weren’t just trying to be provocative.
The result is the PSA, which addresses the importance of voting beyond just the presidency, as down-voting competitions can determine everything from who serves as a district attorney to a member of the school board.
A volunteer crew is working on the production, and Barnes said the filming cost a little more than $ 12,000, much of which goes to pay for strict Covid-19 protocols to keep everyone safe.
There was also the side benefit of being able to pay the dancers – many of whom had lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Who Malone is one of the dancers who participated.
She advertised one of PSA’s most popular lines: “But you’re talking about ‘Awwww, they’ll choose who they choose, shawty,’ which got a thumbs up because it uses the jargon ‘shawty’ that is full of Atlanta.”
Malone said she was happy to use her talent for such an important message.
“I wanted to participate because I was already having conversations on Facebook and Instagram and personally with people who just weren’t informed about what was actually on the ballot,” she told CNN.
“Many people do not understand that when you vote, you also elect judges, you elect (district prosecutors), you vote for taxes, you vote according to the law. And I just really wanted to have something here that summed up this message. “
This is a lesson she said she learned to attend high school in an unincorporated Decatur and to explore how it differs from the incorporated Decatur.
“And I realized that the unincorporated Decatur lacks so many different resources because the community just hasn’t been included in its own government system, it has its own laws, it has its own law enforcement agencies and things like that,” Malone said. “Meanwhile, the built-in Decatur looked beautiful, the streets were clean, the schools had many different resources and things of that nature.”
“So I started thinking like, what can I do in this community to include this area because we lack so many different things,” she added. “It just grew out of there.”
Both Malone and Barnes understand the criticism of their project, but see beyond it.
Malone said she was simply focusing on PSA’s intention and message “which is that everyone should go to the polls and vote.”
“We are an audience and people who don’t think we have power, let alone say, or have much influence over the world,” she said. “And we do.”
“It bothers me that if we had written a song called ‘Get Your Booty to the POLE’ and not talked about politics at all, people would have just thought it was a bop and had no problem with it,” Barnes said.
“To me, blacks live matter, and that means all black lives matter, not just ‘respected’ black lives.”