The Power of Twitter as James & Ify Win Harvard UC Election!!!
By Esosa Aihie
21 year old, James A Matthew and 20 year old Nigerian, Ifeoma ‘Ify’ White-Thorpe, two Harvard University minority students were both elected President & Vice President of the Undergraduate Council (UC) last week Thursday 21st November after running a campaign focused on inclusion and diversity and a catchy music video that went viral between the 12th & 21st of November.
Their engaging music video which featured epic dance moves, rhymes about Ify and James abilities as the candidates to bring change under their “Harvard Can’t Wait” campaign slogan and a saxophone solo, generated a buzz on campus and went viral on Twitter & other social media sites with over five million views following Ify’s brother, Uche White-Thorpe’s tweet to promote their campaign. The tweet caught the attention of Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and celebrities such as Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Kerry Washington. Although they could not vote for them, their support helped to boost their campaign.
“This video encompassed everything that we were running on. It encompassed diversity and inclusion.” “We are not necessarily the most stereotypical students that you think of when you think of students who are running Harvard. You might think of the stereotypical white student with a button-up and a tie,” White-Thorpe said. “James is a brown boy hitting ‘The Whoa.’ I’m a black girl with twists down to my hips. So we are not what you necessarily think of, but I think people really enjoyed that,” she added.
James and Ify ran on a campaign to foster inclusion and improve student wellness and safety under the slogan “Harvard Can’t Wait” based on three main goals: advocate for inclusion and belonging on campus; innovate solutions to problems; and foster a “community-oriented” student experience. They also proposed creating a “Unity Caucus,” a group of UC members and other students that collaborate on legislation and other projects.
Members of 21 Colorful Crimson (21CC) an organization co-founded by James and made up of 21 artistic students and those interested in creating original music in the graduating class of 2021, produced the video. The popularity of their catchy video looks likely to lead to big things having caught the attention of some record label A&Rs. James said they were now “trying to position every one in the video in the best way possible and the platform was truly unexpected and likely to jump-start a couple of careers.”
Ify and James’ hard work paid off: they officially take over as the President & Vice President at next semester starting in December. One of the main things they’re pushing for is an all-inclusive space on Harvard’s campus, like a multicultural center.
The President Elect serves as one of two chiefs of inclusion on the current UC Executive Cabinet, while VP Elect, Ify serves on three UC committees and the UC’s head of communications and chair of its Black Caucus.