NASHVILLE, TN — carr has been named Senior Advisor. He brings over three decades of experience in intersectional community organizing, activism, social justice work, institution-building, youth development, and arts administration to the table of a campaign that is rapidly gaining momentum.
carr, a Nashville native, is a graduate of Metro Nashville Public Schools and Tennessee State University. After graduation, carr launched The Third Eye Newspaper, hosted Straight Talk and Let’s Talk Radio shows, and went on to found The Amun Ra Theatre. He has logged over 100 commentaries on National Public Radio, is an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and activist, and in 2015, his founding of Nashville’s first Micro-Home Community brought international attention to the city and sparked a new conversation on solutions to homelessness and affordable housing.
A grassroots voice in the African-American Community, carr last year helped lead the effort to defeat the multi-billion-dollar Transit Tax Referendum promoted by the Barry and Briley administrations. Voters widely rejected the proposal, by a 2-to-1 margin, thanks in part to the awareness campaign led by carr, which pointed out the lack of equity in the distribution of services to neighborhoods outside of downtown.
carr was a candidate for Mayor in the May 2018 special election. Entering the race as the last of 13 candidates, with only 22 days to build a campaign, he rose to finish 6th in the crowded field. That experience, he says, gives him unique insight into the pathway to the city’s top job.
“Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m cautious about the causes and people I support,” carr explains. “We have to have a high bar for leadership, and it has to come with requirements that people bring receipts to the table. Our community has grown immune to seeing people pop up out of nowhere at election time seeking our votes based on photo opportunities, handshakes, and promises. Councilman Cooper was there to actively stop a flawed transit plan; he was there to help preserve Ft. Negley from private development; he voted for Community Oversight when the current Mayor worked against it; he’s been a fierce opponent of wasteful spending and corporate giveaways. Of all the candidates, he’s the one who has the best vision and ideas. More importantly, he’s the candidate that has the receipts to show for it.”
John Cooper, a current Councilman-At-Large, also served District 1 (which includes parts of Bordeaux, Whites Creek, and Joelton) after Nick Leonardo’s departure. Cooper has gained a reputation in council for being a watchdog on finance and equity, and his approach is to create a Nashville that works for everyone.
“I’m excited to have jeff obafemi carr on board with us,” remarked Councilman Cooper. “He is a highly-respected voice and leader in his own right. jeff understands that Nashville is at a crossroads and we have to start putting our neighborhoods first.”
As Senior Advisor, carr will be involved in all aspects of the campaign, and particularly community awareness, which he acknowledges has its own challenges in the current political climate.
“What we have is not an abnormal situation in politics,” carr says. “We have a proven candidate in John Cooper who has to make up some ground against a well-heeled incumbent, backed by a serious money machine. Fortunately, people know the Coopers here (John’s brother, Jim, is a highly-respected Congressman), and the work they’ve done for everyday people. So now it’s just about awareness and education; reminding people to get out there and vote in their own self interests; to go with the candidate they know is going to deliver, based on experience and authenticity. What I’ve found to be the case so far is that once people know that Cooper is running, they get excited. John Cooper is the right Mayor for the right time, and that’s the message people should know.”