Luther Campbell's Run For Mayor is No Joke

Laugh all you want, but Uncle Luke says he's dead serious about Miami-Dade mayor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rapper Luther Campbell wants to be the next mayor of Miami-Dade, and he's not joking. (Published Monday, Apr 25, 2011)

    Former rap bad-boy Luther Campbell, aka "Uncle Luke" is running for Mayor of Miami-Dade County.

    "Most people think it's some kind of a joke," Campbell said, "but I don't take my community as a joke."

    Campbell made a name for himself as the leader of 90's rap group 2 Live Crew. But now, he wants to become Miami's first rapper turned Mayor, doing it the same way he's always done -- by proving people wrong.

    "I'm no different than Norman Braman (local political activist who led the recall of former Mayor Carlos Alvarez)", Campbell said. "I'm pretty sure if he had the time to run for office, he'd do that. I've got the time to run for office."

    Campbell spends his time these days running his record company, writing a column for the Miami New Times, and coaching high school football, but he's also very active in the community.

    "I don't see a candidate in this race that did as much community service as I've done," he says.

    You can't be much more "Miami" than Campbell. He grew up in a tough neighborhood in Liberty City, the son of a custodian father and beautician mother. And then he almost single-handedly put Miami hip-hop on the map, with sexually driven hits like "Me So Horny" and "We Want Some P****:"

    But now, at age 50 and sitting in an office at the New Times, he's changed his tune.

    "I'm chanting, 'Hey, we want some...votes!'" Campbell laughs. "That's my new thing now."

    Campbell can still make you laugh, but he's dead serious about being Mayor and isn't happy about not being invited to mayoral debates and not being discussed among the mainstream favorites.

    "But at the same time, I know they're scared," he says with a serious look, "they're scared of me."

    Why? Luke says there's a silent majority of Miami-Dade residents who are ready for an anti-establishment candidate willing to shake things up.

    But will they go out and vote?

    "That's what I have to do. That's the big question," he says. "I have to wake up this sleeping giant."

    His platform includes attracting new business, making housing projects safer, and a tax on strippers.

    "I got faith in South Florida," Campbell says. "All the folks in South Florida who know my story and know that I'm a businessman and not just Luke of the 2 Live Crew."

    If the election is in late May as expected, Luke thinks the short campaign period will work in his favor.

    "Running for office is about name recognition," he said. "I know I have better name recognition than everybody else."

    While a former rapper turned Mayor seems far-fetched, Campbell's dream comes to life in an art film he's currently making called "The Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke." 

    The film is a collaboration between Miami production company Rakontur and The Borscht Film Festival. It debuts later this month at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

     

    Follow Adam Kuperstein on Twitter at @akuperstein.