DeRay Mckesson has received some surprising supporters in his campaign for mayor of Baltimore.
John Waters — the gay filmmaker whose works like Hairspray and Cry Baby were filmed in and portray the queerness of the Maryland city — has thrown his weight behind the Black Lives Matter activist.
“I realized many candidates wouldn’t want my endorsement,” Waters begins in the video, which Mckesson shared on Twitter. “Sure, the two Baltimore frontrunners in the election would do a good job if they won, but would anything really change?
“I’m not sure what I can do to help Baltimore with its problems these days,” Waters continued. “So why not let someone younger and more radical than I am have a crack at it?”
Waters, who in March connected with Mckesson at NLGJA's LGBT Media Convening in Baltimore, went on to praise the gay candidate’s “well-detailed platform, his national presence, his un-macho but still angry raised fist" and "his fashion sense too,” a reference to Mckesson's ubiquitous blue Patagonia vest.
— Eartha Kitty (@poitreenmoshun) March 29, 2016
Mckesson, who covers the current issue of The Advocate magazine and was included in last year's 40 under 40 list, has emerged as one of the most visible faces of Black Lives Matter, a social justice movement that advocates for marginalized people who are black, queer, transgender, differently abled, undocumented, and formerly incarcerated.
Formerly a school H.R. administrator in Minneapolis, the 30-year-old activist announced in February that he would run as a Democrat in Baltimore, a city rocked by protests last April after police officers shot and arrested Freddie Gray, who later died of his injuries.
At the time of the announcement, The New York Times forecasted that Mckesson “is sure to jolt the political and protest communities at a time when activists have eschewed traditional politics and sought to work outside the system."
Indeed, in his announcement, Mckesson identified as “a son of Baltimore.” He wrote, “I have come to realize that the traditional pathway to politics, and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths, will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs.”
Jack’d also endorsed the candidate, whom the gay dating app called “a voice for our generation” in an open letter published Wednesday on Medium.
“As a leading social network for gay men known to have the most diverse users in both ethnicity and personal interests, we see it as our responsibility to support those who exemplify authenticity and goodwill on behalf of those who seek to make meaningful connections and foster community,” wrote Kevin Letourneau, the app’s director of marketing.
“We believe [Mckesson] can be the champion needed to help advance the many struggles gay people in Baltimore still experience," he added.
Jack’d also donated $6,000, the maximum amount allowed by campaign finance laws. The app went on to highlight three issues that affect LGBT youth in Baltimore — homelessness, bullying and discrimination within schools, and abuse in juvenile detention centers — and offered its resources to Mckesson in helping to address them.