By Florence Mafomemeh
Ray McGuire may be a first timer in the political arena, but his mayoral run is gaining some traction. He has racked in three major endorsements from three of New York’s music legends. Jay-Z, Diddy and Nas came together in a campaign video to endorse McGuire for New York City mayor. They were joined by Steve Stoute, a veteran entrepreneur in the music industry, and radio personality Angie Martinez who moderated the conversation.
Throwing his full support behind McGuire, Diddy said New York cannot be New York unless it takes care of its people. “This mayoral race is something that I feel like, we have to realize that New York is in a state of emergency. New York could be the first city that really does something bold to take care of the people. That’s why I was excited about this conversation, just knowing Ray,” Diddy said.
Meanwhile Jay-Z said they are trying to protect the city. “People come from all over the world, like, ‘I got a chance, I got a chance to make it here. If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere,'” Jay-Z said in the video, adding that he was planning on doing some work with McGuire when he announced his run for mayor. “Recently, I was thinking about starting a fund and I reached out to Ray and I was like man, I wanna start a fund for black and brown people and I would love for you to come run the whole thing. Then he told me about his plan running for Mayor, I was like man, there goes that,” Jay-z said stating that it’s about how many people can be reached and what’s most urgent right now.
Nas, who is friends with Jay-Z said it’s about the greatness of New York City, the city of hope. “It’s like songs we used to sing in elementary school about the city, this great city that I can’t wait to venture into,” Nas said adding that this is the most diverse city in the world but somewhere along the lines, there is the racial divide. “The city is broken, and I haven’t heard anyone say anything about it, and everything he’s saying is everything I want to hear,” Nas said of McGuire who has also used his position as a one of the top-ranking black executives in the financial industry in recent months to speak to the entire industry on race and racial justice issues.
Describing his relationship with the trio which he said dates way back at least three to four decades, the 63-year-old Dayton, Ohio native, whose success story is similar to that of the three music moguls said, Diddy was one of the only persons who looked like him in the whole money game when he came into business. “How I came up? I’ve been blessed. Our kids shouldn’t have to get lucky, but right now our kids’ future depends on what zip code they come from,” McGuire said.
Diddy said the Harvard University Graduate who was raised by a single mother, has always cared about people. “Through those 30 years, no matter where we were at, outside, wherever we were at, Ray was always talking about the people,” Diddy said in the video. Jay-Z and Diddy said one of the reasons they endorsed McGuire was because of his plan for the city’s pandemic recovery, and the need to return the city to the status it once enjoyed as a hub for the arts, music and business.
Appreciating their support, the former Citigroup executive said, for him, this is a life of service. “I’ve been really fortunate. I’ve been blessed to get here. But getting here means I never forgot where I came from.”
Asked what the city will look like four years from now if he’s mayor, McGuire said it will be the most inclusive comeback, which means black and brown people would be included going forward. “We’ve been outside for so long that they give us crumbs and they want us to feel full,” he said. “I’m not interested in the crumbs. Matter of fact, I’m not interested in the cake. I’m interested in us owning the bakeries,” stated McGuire.
Jay-Z, Nas and Diddy are just three of many celebrities supporting McGuire. Movie director, Spike Lee narrated his campaign launch video with soundtrack by jazz musician and trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. Gwen Carr, whose son, Eric Garner was killed by an NYPD officer using a prohibited chokehold, is also one of the familiar faces backing McGuire.
Though McGuire is a newcomer, little known among New Yorkers, and not participating in the city’s public matching funds program, his campaign has raised millions of dollars in private donations. The business mogul who made his name as one the highest-ranking Black executives on Wall Street stepped down from his position at Citigroup to launch his mayoral run last December.
In a crowded field of candidates and touting his business experience and Wall Street background as what makes him the best person to lead New York City in post-COVID recovery, McGuire presents himself as a moderate who understands the city’s need of reform in the police department and public safety.
With Andrew Yang leading in the polls and the other front runners also picking up major endorsements, it remains to be seen how much these celebrity endorsements would impact McGuire’s campaign.