Rapper Nicki Minaj has called on her legion of fans to vote for San Antonio District 2 City Council Member Jalen McKee-Rodriguez after he gave her a birthday shoutout at a recent council meeting.
McKee-Rodriguez shared the video of his birthday message on Twitter last Friday.
"Also it was a very special birthday yesterday for a woman who is important to a lot of people worldwide. She is a mother to not just one, but a lot of sons. Unfortunately, she couldn't be here today, but she is an icon and a queen -- the queen of rap. I would like to wish a happy belated birthday to the Nicki Minaj. Thank you," McKee-Rodriguez said. The lawmaker also had on a T-shirt featuring an image of Minaj.
Minaj turned 39 on December 9.
In response to the video, Minaj retweeted McKee-Rodriguez's tweet with a message to her Barbz -- what she calls her fans.
"A true KING omg. Barbz must assemble to vote for this great man at every election he's apart of. Barbz ACTIVATE!!!!," Minaj wrote alongside the video. "If you can't vote in his city, MOVE THERE!"
The lawmaker said he had been a fan since 2010. He added that he was shocked to see Minaj respond to the video.
"I didn't think anything crazy was going to come of it, but we were at our Christmas giveaway, and my Instagram had blown up and I saw that my Twitter had also blown up," McKee-Rodriguez told NBC News. "Then, I saw that Nicki Minaj had reposted me, and I was like 'O.M.G.,' it was so cool and definitely unexpected."
McKee-Rodriguez became the first out gay Black man to be elected in Texas earlier this year. He's focused on issues such as LGBTQ+ suicide prevention, LGBTQ-inclusive housing, and COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the outlet.
"There's a whole bunch of people looking me up, and now they are responding to my message -- not just my happy birthday, but they are responding to the policy and the change that I am fighting for," he said. "They see that someone who has long black and red hair in braids and a Nicki shirt ... is someone who is not a conventional politician ... that we can succeed, and we are."
He hopes that others like him are inspired to rethink politics.
"That is a huge boost to San Antonio's profile and to politicians like me, who are not traditional politicians," McKee-Rodriguez explained. "A lot of the Barbz, they love Nicki, they love colorful hair, they love fast rapping, they love the glamour of it all, but that's not often things you find in politics, and so I think a lot of people who followed me, they commented and said, 'I followed you because Nicki told me, but I really love what you're doing.' I think that is so important."
He added that San Antonio has a lot more to do to assist marginalized groups in the city.
"We are fighting for a lot right now, so this was a nice moment of relief and joy," McKee-Rodriguez said.