As a Democrat vying to be Virginia’s next governor, Tom Perriello has been talking about the danger of jobs lost to automation, the opioid epidemic ravaging communities and resisting President Trump.
But this week, the former congressman also shared his thoughts on hip-hop and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
In a 40-minute conversation Wednesday between Perriello and host Marc Cheatham (an aide to Sen. Tim Kaine) on the Cheats Movement, a Richmond hip-hop podcast, Perriello shared some of his cultural taste not typically on display during his campaign appearances. Perriello, who is challenging Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in the June 13 primary, spoke at length about racial justice but also his musical influences.
● Perriello, 42, says he was weaned on classic rock but celebrated rap albums by the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC, which came out when he was in middle school, as “real kind of break through moments.” He cited other 1980s hip-hop, particularly Arrested Development and A Tribe Called Quest.
● He was enamored with Lauryn Hill of the Fugees. “I was convinced I was going to be married to Lauryn Hill,” he said.
● He grew disillusioned with rap because of what he called misogynistic lyrics until he had a “conversion” in 1994, when rapper Tupac Shakur was shot (two years before the rapper was slain in a drive-by shooting). Friends insisted he listen to at least two albums, and that was enough to win him over.
Here, he shares his assessment of Tupac and the racial dynamics of his appeal:
Perriello on Tupac Shakur
Virginia gubernatorial candidate on hip-hop podcast
● One of Perriello’s heroes is Bayard Rustin, a civil rights figure who helped organize the 1963 March on Washington but drew controversy because he was openly gay, had communist sympathies and was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during World War II. “I’m always fascinated by people like that who never really got their day in the sun, they aren’t necessarily known by everyone in the movement, but really in some ways lived an incredible life,” Perriello said.
● On Friday, Perriello stopped by The Washington Post for a video interview. The full discussion, touching on the economy and future of the Democratic Party, will be posted later. In this excerpt, Perriello explains his recent praise for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on the 20th anniversary of the TV cult classic: