Antonio Delgado is a former rapper who is now running for Congress in upstate New York. On Wednesday, former president Barack Obama endorsed Delgado, in a tweet which listed 81 people Obama is backing in their races. You can see the full list of Obama’s endorsements here.
The former president, writing about his endorsements, said, “Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent.”
Antonio Delgado’s critics have said that his rap lyrics — dating back ten years — are offensive and racially charged.
Here’s what you need to know about Antonio Delgado:
1. Delgado Released an Album, “Painfully Free,” In Which He Throws Around the N-Word, Blasts Capitalism, and Slams the “Hypocrisy of Democracy”
In 2006, Delgado was an aspiring rap star. You can see a little bit of his freestlye in this clip, where he also advertises his one and only full album, “Painfully Free.” You can hear samples from “Painfully Free” here; you can also listen to it on Spotify, here.
The songs talk about “the hypocrisy of democracy” and warn that “there’s a war going on.” They throw around the n-word and attack oil executives who are “counting dollars and cents” while soldiers die in Baghdad.
Not all of the songs are available to listen to. But according to the New York Post, Delgado’s other songs also said that most “dead presidents” were white supremacists, rhyming, “Dead presidents can’t represent me, not when most of them believe in white supremacy/like spittin’ on my ancestry.”
2. Delgado, Originally From Schenechtady, Was a Rhodes Scholar Who Graduated From Harvard
As an undergraduate, Delgado was a Rhodes scholar — he won a prestigious scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. He spent a few years in Oxford, studying philosophy and political science.
When 911 happened, Delgado decided that he wanted to go to law school. He got his law degree from Harvard. While he was there, he became fascinated by what he calls “marginalized cultures” — like hip-hop and rap. That’s what inspired him to start his own music label.
After Harvard, Delgado teamed up with a friend to found a record label called Statik Music, which is how he released his own album. He dedicated himself to the record label for five years, but finally decided that it wasn’t going to be a great success. That’s when he took his bar exam, at last, and began practicing law.
3. Delgado’s Wife, Lacey, Is a Documentary Film Maker. The Couple Has Two Sons
Delgado got married in 2011. His wife, Lacey, is the managing director of Truth Aid, a New York group that makes documentaries about social issues. Truth Aid has made films about interracial marriage, family secrets, and the environment.
Lacey is also the director of outreach in the New York office of Be’chol Lashon, a group that advocates for — and draws attention to — racial diversity among Jewish people.
Lacey and Antonio are both 40 years old. They live in Rhinebeck, NY with their two sons, Maxwell and Coltrane.
4. Delgado Was a Public School Kid. He Strongly Opposes Betsy DeVos
Delgado grew up in Schenechtady, New York. Both of his parents worked for General Electric, and were able to give him a middle class lifestyle. He went to public school for most of his childhood.
As a public school kid, Delgado says he is strongly opposed to Education Secretary Betsy De Vos. He writes, “I oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. I believe that our children are our greatest resource, but for years, they have been treated like failing commodities.”
He calls for making it easier for young people to pay for college. But he also wants to increase the number of trade schools and apprenticeship programs available, so that college is not the only path to a decent life.
5. Delgado Supports Abortion Rights
Delgado’s Republican opponent, Joe Faso, is a vocal opponent of abortion. Delgado himself says that he supports keeping abortion legal. He has vowed that he will, in his words, “fight to defend women’s rights from an assault by the current President and Republican-led Congress.”
Delgado has also pledged to fight for equal pay for women. He said, “It is deeply troubling that Faso voted against equal pay four times while a member of the New York State Assembly; his is not a voting record consistent with the values of our region.”