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Trump Is Now Working With The Fyre Fest Guy To 'Court Black Voters'—Because Of Course He Is

Billy McFarland; Donald Trump
Theo Wargo/Getty Images; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The ex-President is reportedly working with Billy McFarland to help connect with various rappers to boost his campaign with Black voters—and it's a big yikes.

Former President Donald Trump was criticized for reportedly working with Billy McFarland of Fyre Fest infamy to help connect with various rappers to boost his campaign with Black voters.

McFarland established Fyre Media and promoted the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, a luxury music event meant to endorse the Fyre music-booking app. Scheduled for April 2017, the festival was heavily promoted with a video featuring Instagram models like Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski, who were expected to attend alongside Kendall Jenner.


However, the event encountered significant issues in management, administration, and false advertising. It was abruptly canceled after attendees arrived on Great Exuma Island to find tents and pre-packaged sandwiches instead of the promised luxurious accommodations and meals. This debacle led to federal investigations and numerous lawsuits.

In May 2017, McFarland and rapper Ja Rule faced a $100 million class-action lawsuit filed by Fyre Festival attendees. The following month, McFarland was arrested and charged with wire fraud in Manhattan federal court due to his role in organizing the festival.

After pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud in March 2018, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison. McFarland was released in late March 2022, having served less than four years of his sentence.

Now, according to Rolling Stone, a source close to Detroit rapper Icewear Vezzo said McFarland contacted the rapper's team and facilitated a connection with Trump before the presidential candidate's visit to Detroit.

McFarland had previously stated in an interview with media personality Angela Yee that he assisted in connecting Brooklyn rappers Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow with Trump, leading to their participation at a campaign rally in The Bronx in May.

And he's already promoting his relationship with Trump, evidenced by a recent Instagram post.

Sources say Trump's campaign and his close associates have organized meetings and public appearances with the former and potentially future president alongside various hip-hop artists, quietly working to recruit different rappers and hip-hop producers to meet with him or even actively support his campaign, with mixed results thus far.

A GOP operative shared with Rolling Stone a list of rappers — some publicly curious about Trump, others not — that had been discussed with the ex-president months ago, indicating efforts to secure their endorsements for Trump's 2024 campaign and arrange performances at campaign events, though as of now, none have committed.

Adding to this, in May, Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes. The jury found him guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels to illegally influence the 2016 election.

Speaking to TMZ, Alex Floyd, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said the news shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone given Trump's criminality:

"There is nothing more on brand for a convicted felon like Donald Trump than recruiting another convicted felon to join his campaign just in time for the Republican National Convention, which is shaping up to be just as much of a dumpster fire as Fyre Fest."

And he was right—no one was surprised to learn Trump had partnered with another convicted fraudster.





Trump's team has ramped up efforts to court Black voters though that has not come without some pushback.

Earlier this year, Michael Steele, the first Black chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), expressed skepticism about Trump's ability to garner support from Black voters.

Steele highlighted the lack of substantive engagement from Trump, citing his history and communication style when addressing Black communities.

Steele said that Trump "thinks so little of the Black community that he [believes he] can get our vote with giving us greater access to menthol cigarettes and a nice pair of gold lamé sneakers," referring to the "Never Surrender High-Tops" Trump introduced at "Sneaker Con" recently.

Underscoring this disconnect, BBC Panorama reported in March that Trump's supporters have been utilizing AI-generated deepfake images featuring Black voters to promote the idea of African Americans endorsing him.

The deepfakes, which manipulate visuals using artificial intelligence, portray Black individuals as Trump supporters, potentially aiming to influence a political narrative and help increase support for Trump among an elusive demographic.

Though there is no evidence the fake images are affiliated with the Trump campaign itself, they nonetheless represent an emerging disinformation trend leading up to the presidential election in November.

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