Lloyd Marcus rallies Tea Party faithful
Marcus is right. Liberals and other blacks may sling insults at him for his beliefs, but he is a man of courage who stands up for what he believes. It is not surprising that the Tea Party people respect that, because most of the responses to their movement by liberals in and out of the media have been insults too.
The singer left no doubt about his politics. Striking up a tune in front of a Republican party meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida, he belted out "New York, New York", but changed the lyrics to an anti-Barack Obama diatribe.
"This socialist nightmare/Must come to an end!" sang Lloyd Marcus, decked out in a cowboy hat, pointed cowboy boots and a leather vest. Six elderly white Republicans were hauled to the front of the room and were soon dancing and kicking their legs in the air.
"My Obama blues/Are melting away!" he continued, as the rest of the room cheered wildly. Other songs followed. The Temptations' hit "My Girl" became "Our Girl", about Sarah Palin. Louis Armstrong's hit "What a Wonderful World" was rendered into a patriotic "What a Wonderful Country". Everyone in the room lapped it up, swaying to the words like teenagers at a rock concert, not retirees having lunch in a yacht club.
But Marcus has that effect on Republicans. He is the music performer most worshipped by America's right wing; a hero of the conservative Tea Party movement. He plays at Tea Party rallies around the country. And next week, when the movement holds its first national convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Marcus will be there playing to a crowd of thousands.
All of which is not surprising, except for one thing. In a movement often accused of fostering racism, which loathes Obama with a passion and is overwhelmingly made up of white conservatives, Lloyd Marcus is black. Not that Marcus thinks his skin colour should dictate his politics, even in the age of America's first black president, who was elected with 95% of the black vote.
"The black community indulge in 'group think' which says, just because I am black, I must love and support Obama," he told the Observer. "I see past that. I don't view people through the veil of race. I don't see people's colour."
Marcus has written think-pieces in conservative outlets such as American Thinker, been lauded by Fox News and has written a book called Confessions of a Black Conservative. As the Tea Party movement has grown into a powerful political force, Marcus's fame has grown with it. He is in constant demand as a performer at Tea Party events. As the Republicans, buoyed by the Tea Party's rise, prepare for crucial midterm elections in November, Marcus will become more prominent. "This is the year that we take back America," he said.
Marcus believes liberalism is at fault. He says that black America's problems – high incarceration rates, low life expectancy, poor health and drug problems – can be laid at the door of a dependency culture created by big government. He sees no point in dwelling on America's long history of slavery and segregation. Instead his answer is simple: "Tell people the truth: that America is the land of greatest opportunity for all those willing to go for it."