Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has won another celebrity endorsement as the race heads into the competitive primary season, and it’s one that may have more African Americans take notice.
Kendrick Sampson, best known for his roles on Issa Rae’s Insecure, The Vampire Diaries and How to Get Away With Murder, announced in a video Friday that he’s backing Sanders because the Vermont Senator’s platform fits with his own activism.
“Politics drives me mad,” Sampson said in the video. “But I was dedicated to grass-roots movements, movements like the Black Lives Matter movement in pressuring our leaders. But I wasn’t ready to endorse a candidate and he felt the least like a politician.
“He said what was on his mind and he meant it and he’d been saying it for decades,” the actor continued. “It wasn’t until I saw a movement like Bernie’s, the political revolution that literally was saying, “it’s not me, it’s us.” He was saying it’s not about me and meant it.”
The 32-year-old actor is no stranger to grassroots activism, either. Last year, he formed a new initiative called BLD PWR that aims to bring together entertainers and athletes to foster social change through civic engagement.
In an interview with Teen Vogue last year, Sampson said that for him activism is a passion and not just lip service.
“I use my platform to liberate those in my community,” he said. “We’re on this earth, and at the end of the day, I think it matters more. We can go through life and not do anything or we could do something. That’s pretty much it. We’re either complicit in oppression or we’re not.”
Sampson is not the only African American supporter behind Sanders. Rapper Cardi B, singer Lizzo, rapper Killer Mike, singer Willow Smith, rapper T.I., actor Danny Glover, Dallas Cowboys defenseman Michael Bennett, and MMA fighter Kevin Lee have all reportedly become supporters of Sanders, among many others.
Sanders has also won important endorsements from Democratic congressional freshmen representatives Rashida Tlaib, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar.
“I have seen him listen and act,” Sampson continued in the video. “And that makes me very confident in his consistency, confident in his values, confident in his purpose, and that he knows his purpose, and that he’s going to follow it.”
Sanders and the other Democratic candidates head into primary season beginning Feb. 3 with the Iowa caucuses, followed by the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11, the Nevada Democratic caucuses Feb. 22, and the South Carolina Democratic primary Feb. 29, which is seen as crucial for winning African American voters.