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Hip-hop artist eyes White House, hopes to slay the Trump dragon

on October 3, 2015

Deon Jenkins is not your average security guard.

When his shift is over, he becomes underground hip-hop artist Alpha Leo. As if two jobs weren’t enough, he recently filed his paperwork to seek a shot at the White House in 2016.

Jenkins, 35, barely met the Constitutional age requirement for the Oval Office. Last checked, he is one of 1,211 presidential candidates who have filed with the Federal Election Commission, of which 256 hail from California.

It’s a diverse group. Candidates include the likes of “Mickey Mouse” and “Princess Oawlawolwaldol.” Jenkins/Alpha Leo is running under the name of “Hip Hop.”

Those with names like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may be considered the front-runners with a reasonable chance of winning. Jenkins may not quite fit into that category. Nevertheless, he adds an element of irreverence and a streets-of-Richmond perspective that resonates with a younger demographic.

A self-described “non-politician,” Jenkins said he is personally not down with either of the main parties. He decided to run as a Democrat, he said, only because he had to choose one or the other.

Jenkins has no campaign staff. He has no big bank account. He has no plans to run ads on TV. But he does have an edge—his hip-hop fan base.

The candidate said he intends to tap into his audience to build his political constituency.

Although that may not add up to much of a national movement, he still has some serious issues to talk about, many of them rising from the tougher East Bay neighborhoods.

Jenkins said he would never be “scared to speak up against brutality,” describing this as one of his major reasons for filing the paperwork and raising some funds–he declined to reveal how much–needed to qualify as a candidate. Without reducing racism and inequality, he said, “this country is going to be split in two.”

Jenkins was raised by a single mother and a father who was in and out of his life. He said he gravitated towards hip-hop early on.

“Ever since the age of nine, I knew I had a talent and a poise for writing,” he said.

Though Jenkins found his love for hip-hop on the streets of Richmond, he also experienced the ugly side of life.

“It makes you tougher, it makes you stronger, it teaches you how to survive and at the same time you get to see things and grow up a little faster,” Jenkins said.

His cousin Terrance Green, who grew up with Jenkins, said the hip-hop candidate brings some good qualities to the political arena, even if few people expect he will pose any major threat to the likes of Clinton or Trump.

“Since we were little,” Green said, if Jenkins saw anything wrong, “he’ll try to fix it.”

“People look to him as a leader,” Green added.

Jenkins is not above going negative either.

He has recorded a song, “Giant Slayer,” which compares Trump to Goliath, dissing the GOP frontrunner as “a corporate giant who has been oppressing people,” while Jenkins casts himself as David, wielding his music as the slingshot.

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