1. NAME RECOGNITION
Pitbull is one of those rare people in history, like Aristotle, Michelangelo, and Beyoncé, who have achieved one word status. No one needs a second name to know which Pitbull we’re talking about. If he has to run under his given name, however, Armando Christian Pérez might have a problem.
2. THE AMERICAN DREAM
More than any other celebrity today, Pitbull personifies the American dream. While Drake might sing about starting from the bottom, Pitbull actually did (and Drake started at Degrassi). Pitbull was born to Cuban immigrants in Miami at the height of the reign of the Cocaine Cowboys. He was raised by a single mother, who kicked him out at age 16 for dealing drugs. He spent time in foster care. He eventually turned his life around, graduating from public high school “even though he played hooky.” Today, Pitbull is a multimillionaire and American icon domestically and abroad.
3. “CHARTER SCHOOL ADVOCATE, CHARTER SCHOOL PARENT”
Last year, Mr. 305 founded SLAM Charter Middle and High School, a public school in Little Havana for grades 6-12. The aim of the school is to engage students who are interested in sports and develop their leadership. NPR has called him “Mr. Education.” He opened the National Charter School Conference in 2013, eloquently describing the impact teachers had on his success. His contributions to education are laudable and his education policy platform is set.
4. A UNIFIER
No matter what you think of his music, everyone can admit that his messages are overwhelmingly positive. Echa Pa’lla, Don’t Stop the Party, International Love; all of his music is uplifting and inclusive. While other artists perpetuate violent and offensive themes, Pitbull is about universalism. His songs are so cosmopolitan that FIFA has chosen him to sing the official 2014 World Cup Song “We Are One (Ole, Ola).” Pitbull has successfully unified people through his music, and can effectively do so in a political role as well. He is, after all, Mr. Worldwide.
5. HANDLES CONTROVERSY WELL
For some reason, Pitbull is constantly defending himself against haters. While this might be annoying for someone trying to maintain fame and popularity, it’s a practice that would come in handy as a politician. In 2012, David Thorpe proposed the idea to #exilePitbull by sending him to perform in Kodiak, Alaska as part of a promise to perform at a Wal-Mart. When Kodiak won by a significant margin, Pitbull flew out, signed autographs, seemingly enjoyed himself, and received gifts of bear repellant and a key to the city. He even flew Thorpe out for the concert. Pitbull handled the situation with elegance and class.
When Pitbull was announced to be hosting the American Music Awards, Twitter users exploded with criticisms of having a “non-American” host the show. The tweets, including sentiments like “I’m guessing since Pit Bull is hosting he thinks he can turn this into the Mexican Music Awards” (@dinnie_xo) were simply ridiculous. Pitbull was born in the United States and is, in fact, American. He is also Cuban-American, rather than Mexican. Pitbull didn’t even validate the racism with a response.
6. FOREIGN POLICY MEDIATOR
Pitbull has experience moderating high-level debates on international policy. For example, when Beyoncé and Jay-Z celebrated their 5-year anniversary in Havana, Cuba, Republicans in Congress were not happy. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Cuban Americans from South Florida, wrote a letter asking OFAC to explain the circumstances under which Jay-Z and Beyoncé received travel visas, considering the half-century old embargo against the communist country. Jay-Z wrote a song called “Open Letter” criticizing the politicians and bragging about “White House clearance” for the trip. It was later explained by the Office of the Treasury that they received a travel visa for “people-to-people” contact with Cubans, involving artistic exchanges.
In this power struggle between music and politics, Pitbull took a diplomatic approach. He wrote a song addressing both sides, referencing the history of Cuban oppression but also siding with the singers, saying “Politicians love to hate you / But then they run away when it’s time to debate you/ Question of the night / Would they have messed with Mr. Carter if he was white?”
7. ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ADVOCATE
More than any other musician, Pitbull has brought attention to the issue of global warming with an album titled, “Global Warming.” He even did an international tour to promote awareness about Global Warming. When discussing the title, Pitbull explained that, like himself, global warming “has been around for a while but now people are paying attention.” Rather than drop the issue between election cycles, Pitbull followed up with his next album, “Global Meltdown,” perhaps a harbinger of things to come.
8. SMALL BUSINESS OWNER
Unless you live in Miami, you might not be aware that Pitbull owns a significant equity position in the small, but classic Miami Subs Grill. Pitbull used to frequent the restaurant to write songs, joking that it was his office. He partnered with the chain in order to help two Miami brands “grow together.”
9. THAT TRADEMARK VOICE
The primary reason he should run for office is because, who could resist that voice in a stump speech?