Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) told TMZ on Wednesday that he believes Eminem's rap against President Donald Trump makes an "important cultural contribution" and his work will help inspire more citizens to vote.
The Detroit rapper slammed Trump in a freestyle rap video titled, "The Storm," that was shown at the BET Hip Hop Awards show on Tuesday. His rap accused Trump of racism, hypocrisy, and disrespect of military veterans.
The representative from Minnesota started off by commenting on the importance of voting, and of citizens using the vote to express their opinions.
"Eminem and many artists make an important cultural contribution, and we need to imbed within our culture that voting is an obligation, is a responsibility, and that if you don't vote, that's not a protest," Ellison said. "You can't boycott the vote. If you boycott the vote, you just make sure somebody else is in there who doesn't like you."
Ellison, who also serves as the Democratic National Committee vice-chair, said voter turn out was down in Michigan during the last election cycle, but he believes that Eminem will be able to help inspire people to "greater citizen activism" with his music. He then likened Eminem to 60's R&B singer Marvin Gaye and gospel singers during the 1950's Civil Rights movement.
"What Eminem is doing is just being true to his art, which is to inspire and motivate, so I'm grateful to him for that," Ellison said. "I love this trend. I hope that others follow suit. You know Eminem could be the ‘Colin Kaepernick' of the rap world if he just keeps it up."
"We need him to do that. We need him to do that," Ellison added, referring to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem before games.
Ellison failed to point out that Kaepernick has been widely criticized for doing exactly what Ellison said citizens should not do–protest without expressing their voice through the vote. While Kaepernick has expressed strong political views and spurred controversy by kneeling during the national anthem, at least as of the November 2016 election, he had never registered to vote in an election.