COVID-19 vaccination rates are pretty dismal in the Black community. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as of June 28, the CDC reported that among the 57% of people who had received one dose of the vaccine, nearly two-thirds were white (60%), while just 9% were Black and 15% were Hispanic. That vaccine hesitancy among people of color might explain why Juvenile, Mannie Fresh and Mia X dropped their new twist on a ’90s classic on Wednesday (July 7).
After they released a revamp of Juvenile’s 1998 top 20 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Back That Thang Up,” with a pandemic-inspired twist as “Vax That Thang Up,” Juvie hit CNN on Wednesday to respond to some of the backlash to their lighthearted attempt to encourage music fans to get jabbed. While the nation just barely missed President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of U.S. adults with at least one shot by July 4 in an effort to help the country march toward herd immunity from the virus that has killed more than 605,000 Americans to date, that target is still within reach.
“Gurl you can be the queen … after quarantine,” Mannie raps in the song which features the refrain, “Girl, you looks good, won’t you vax that thang up/ You’s a handsome young brother, won’t you vax that thang up/ Date in real life you need to vax that thang up/ Feeling freaky all night you need to vax that thang up.”
According to a CNN report, the first-ever No Limit/Cash Money collab — put together by dating app BLK — has gotten a little pushback already, however.
Juvie told CNN that getting the message out “means a lot, you know, especially for me. And I’m trying to make everybody see it from my point of view. So I just think that we all should, you know, take time out and get educated on it first, and then we all can be vaccinated hopefully in the future.”
CNN host Brianna Keilar pointed out that there has been some backlash to the song on social media, which she said perhaps “speaks to just how sensitive the top of vaccine hesitancy is,” before asking what Juvenile has to say to those people who’ve taken umbrage at the pandemic remix.
“You know, a lot of people lost family members, so I send out my condolences to them and their family, and I want them to know that I hurt just like they hurt,” he said.
“I have the same — I’ve lost family members, too, and it’s a scary — it’s a slippery slope. So what I say to everybody else outside that’s speaking on it, man, just get educated,” he added. “I’m not telling you, forcing you, or pushing you to go get vaccinated. I’m telling you to make a family decision. Talk to your family, get educated on it, and make the right decision.”
There has also been plenty of props for the remake and, for the record, Juvie is still wearing his mask, washing his hands and practicing social distancing even though he’s vaccinated.
“I guess that’s the message? You can get closer if you’re vaccinated?” Keilar asked after her co-host John Berman noted that the video didn’t appear to have a lot of social distancing in it.
Responded Juvenile: “Yeah, especially if you wan to online date.”
Watch the “Vax” video below.