Spencer's Beauty-Shop Pitch for Obama
The actress was among the celebs at recent Obama-campaign meet and greets targeting black voters.
Cynthia Cummings of Charlotte has already signed up to volunteer -- nine hours guarantees a spot in Bank of America Stadium for the president's speech on Sept. 6, the Democratic National Convention's last day. "This is history being made," she said, and she worries that voter-ID bills are threatening hard-won voting rights.
Cummings, 57, a retired medical secretary, supports the Affordable Care Act "100 percent," she said. "Everybody needs insurance; you've got too many children and old people suffering." Women's issues and a woman's right to choose are also important to her. While Cummings said that she is personally against abortion, she said she believes it should be a personal decision, particularly in cases of rape and incest. She thinks that though the race will be tight, Obama will win. "He's a child of God."
Her son, Letheria Truesdale, a stylist at the shop, said that he is a big fan of Michelle Obama, her fitness campaign and family life, and "how she backs up her husband." Like his mother, Truesdale, 30, supports the president. "I don't want to go backwards," he said.
Patrons at Heads Up talk politics every day, said owner Reggie Kennedy, 40. He is happy to be a part of the Obama campaign's Barber Shop/Beauty Salon Program, with posters and placards and a voter-registration drop box in a corner. "I'm worried," he said of the election. "It's getting kind of close." The health care fight and sluggish economy are working against the president, and "Obama is not getting a fair shake," he said. The country "is still trying to recuperate from when George Bush was in office. People don't talk about Bush anymore."
Kennedy was giving a trim to Caleb Green, called "our next Barack" by Spencer when she stopped for a photo with the slightly fidgety 4-year-old. His mother, Sabrina Green of Charlotte, said she would like to see more community campaigning. "A lot of people my age don't take it seriously," the 30-year-old fast-food restaurant manager said.
In a conversation as she was about to leave to meet with volunteers and make some phone calls, Spencer told The Root why she traveled from Los Angeles for a day of campaigning in North Carolina. "We can either vote for a progressive incumbent, or the alternative is to regress with the Tea Party," a group she said "is trying to rewrite history." She reflected on changes since the repression during the time in which her most famous film was set. "To me, voting is more of a duty than a right. That's why I'm here."
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to the Washington Post's "She the People" blog, The Root, Fox News Charlotte and Creative Loafing, and has worked at the New York Times, the Charlotte Observer and as national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter.