HipHopWired Featured Video
The Eighth Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards

Source: Stephen J. Cohen / Getty

Charles Booker, the Democratic challenger for the United States Senate in Kentucky, wore a noose in his new campaign ad directly challenging current GOP Senator Rand Paul, and  the history of lynching in the nation.

In a campaign ad that is certain to stir up conversation, the Democratic candidate Charles Booker wears a noose around his neck as he takes aim at his opponent, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. The ad starts out with a content warning for “strong imagery”, before opening with an image of the noose hanging from a tree. “In Kentucky, like many states throughout the South, lynching was a tool of terror. It was used to kill hopes for freedom. It was used to kill my ancestors,” he says as a montage of images including a noose at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th and those of Black people being lynched is shown, with a cut directly to Booker wearing the noose as the last line is spoken.

After mentioning his appointment as the Democratic candidate, he then speaks of Paul and his record, tying his time in office to the feeling of having a noose around one’s neck. “The very person who compared expanded health care to slavery. The person who said he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act. The person who single-handedly blocked an anti-lynching act from being federal law,” he said. He ends the ad by removing the noose and saying: “In November, we will choose healing. We will choose Kentucky.”

Booker’s ad strikes hard at Paul, who in the past had held up the passage of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which was co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). His rationale at the time was that he wanted it “to be stronger”, saying “I don’t think it’s a good idea to conflate someone who has an altercation, where they had minor bruises, with lynching.” He’d later support an updated version in March which led to it being passed unanimously by the Senate.

Watch the ad in its entirety below. Be advised that it is graphic.