The United States is at a crossroads: Despite President Biden’s best efforts, his goal of getting 70 percent of American adults vaccinated against covid-19 by July 4 fell (ever so slightly) short. On top of that, covid-19 variants are spreading and vaccination rates have slowed, creating even larger regional vaccinate discrepancies that were already emerging in the early days of the vaccine rollouts; while adult vaccination rates in the northeast, for example, exceed 70 percent, in the south the average hovers between 50 and 60 percent.
The only thing we have left to turn this around is a revival of Southern hip-hop.
Louisiana rappers Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, and Mia X have joined forces to recreate Juvenile’s 1999 hit “Back That Thang Up” and morph it into a pro-vaccine banger: “Vax That Thang Up.” The chorus is, frankly, perfect: “Girl you look good once you vax that thang up/You a handsome young brother once you vax that thang up/Dating in real life, you need to vax that thang up/Feeling freaky all night, you need to vax that thang up.”
The song and video doubles as promo for BLK, a new dating app for Black singles.
Rolling Stone reports that, in a statement, Juvenile said, “I just wanted to do something positive for my people and to stand in the front to show that I’m willing to sacrifice my life not just for me but also for my family, We don’t know what we’re facing right now but we really do all need to be vaccinated so we can continue to do our thing and survive.”
“The message is clear: dating is better in all the ways once you’re vaccinated,” reads a statement from BLK. “Black adults under the age of 40 are the most likely group to avoid the Covid-19 vaccination, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Distrust of doctors and government, less access to vaccination centers, and online misinformation each play a role. We hope this video is both entertaining and actionable.”
It’s certainly entertaining. We’ve got the old heads reprising their roles as horndogs who want to make sure whatever honey they end up with has that vaccination card on lock. Juvenile even makes it rain with a bunch of vaccination cards. Plus, they managed to make a vaccination bop that wasn’t painstakingly cringeworthy. What’s not to like? The only thing missing was Lil Wayne, but eh, Mia X was a great replacement.
Whether the song’s message turns into action, especially in the South, well, I don’t know. But it almost made me want to get vaccinated again just to twerk with my card in the post-shot waiting area.