California’s Democratic Governor-elect Gavin Newsom topped off his election win Tuesday night with a wild victory party at a Los Angeles nightclub, which included rapper and activist Common as the opening act.
Many expected Newsom, 51, to confidently cruise into the governor’s seat, and their optimism was reflected in the easygoing, relaxed atmosphere at the candidate's watch party at Exchange LA, a dance club in downtown Los Angeles, SFGate reported.
A former mayor of San Francisco who has been the state's lieutenant governor since 2011, Newsom actually spent more time campaigning for other California Democrats than he did for himself, KCBS-TV of Los Angeles reported.
Supporters assembled in the former Los Angeles Stock Exchange building, dancing along as rapper and activist Common, who has faced criticism from conservatives for his controversial lyrics, performed onstage before Newsom’s victory speech.
Conservatives criticized Common in 2011 after the Obama administration invited the 46-year-old rapper to perform for high school-aged kids, alongside poets and musicians, as part of then-first lady Michelle Obama’s White House Music Series, the Washington Post reported.
At the time, the rapper was called out for lyrics that criticized police conduct and President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq, according to the paper.
Most recently, Common teamed up with the ACLU on a campaign for criminal justice reform ahead of the midterm elections, where he encouraged voters to “Vote Smart Justice” to fix what he called “a system borne of white supremacy.”
“How do we change an unjust system?” Common asks in the ACLU ad. “A criminal justice system that for centuries has denied justice to our most vulnerable. A system borne of white supremacy, racism, and discrimination, destroying families and devastating communities along the way. We vote.”
“How do we change an unjust system? ... A system borne of white supremacy, racism, and discrimination, destroying families and devastating communities along the way."
Common’s stance aligned with Newsom’s own agenda, with the governor-elect having said he would expand current Gov. Jerry Brown's criminal justice reforms, which reduced sentences for some offenses, particularly drug crimes.
Newsom handily defeated Republican businessman John Cox to succeed term-limited Democratic incumbent Brown. Newsom won with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
"We're saying unmistakably and in unison that it's time to roll the credits on the politics of chaos, and the politics of cruelty,” Newsom said during his victory speech. “Now is time for going far and going together. Now is the time for decency, for facts, for trust. And now is the time for truth."
“This is a state where we don't criminalize diversity we celebrate diversity," he said. "We don't reject it. We protect the most vulnerable.”