Out North Philly advocate focus of new Clinton ad

Walking home from dinner earlier this week, Malcolm Kenyatta noticed his phone start to ping with alerts. He had more than 600 notifications.

A new commercial for the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had just gone live. The 90-second spot largely featured Kenyatta, an openly gay community advocate who describes himself as North Philadelphia’s biggest fan.

“When I think about who we want as our next president, I want somebody that’s going to tackle the issues that my neighbors, that my family, are dealing with,” Kenyatta says in the ad.

The footage comes from an April campaign stop that Clinton made to the Fillmore Philadelphia. It was her first rally in the city, Kenyatta said.

“I had no idea, obviously, so many months ago, that it would become an ad,” he told PGN. He said Clinton’s campaign told him a few days ago that he would be featured in a commercial.

In less than 24 hours, the video posted to Clinton’s Facebook page has garnered more than a quarter of a million views.

Kenyatta said he wanted to make the point that Clinton has been a lifelong fighter for workers, children and families. He doesn’t think it’s true that people find her uninspiring, a common narrative.

“She inspires me,” Kenyatta said. “She gets me fired up.”

He has backed Clinton since her first run for president in 2008, though he added he continues to be moved by President Barack Obama’s example.

Kenyatta said he supports Clinton especially because of her work on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which offers health-care coverage for children up to age 19 who come from low-income families.

“I only had health care because of the children’s health-care program,” Kenyatta said. “I never forgot that.”

He added, “That’s a clear example of public policy working and this woman’s resilience.”

Kenyatta applauded Clinton for working to get health coverage for children, at least, after Congress stymied efforts for universal health care. He said people forget how much abuse Clinton took in the press in the 1990s for trying to overhaul health care.

“She has a history of actually getting things done,” Kenyatta said.

He noted it feels great to represent Philadelphia in a campaign ad for Clinton. The city has been at the center of foundational moments for this country, Kenyatta said, from the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress. He said Philadelphia could add to its list of historic achievements the fact that the city hosted the Democratic National Convention at which the first woman received a major-party nomination for president.    

Kenyatta served as a Clinton delegate to the DNC in July. He received the second-most votes in Pennsylvania to join the delegation. Kenyatta also serves on the boards of various organizations in Philadelphia, including the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club.