Malcolm Kenyatta earned an overwhelming victory late Tuesday in the primary race to represent North Philadelphia and, by all accounts, it was because of his years as a steadfast community advocate and organizer with an inclusive, progressive platform. Kenyatta also happens to be gay.
This is not a secret, but it became fodder for a last-ditch smear campaign early Tuesday when fliers began appearing across North Philadelphia showing a photo of Kenyatta with his former husband on their wedding day crossed out in red with the text SAY NO!!!!! Kenyatta told PGN Tuesday, the day he should be focusing on getting elected, he was out pulling the fliers off cars and other areas of the 181st District.
The voters weren’t buying it. Kenyatta, whose distant cousin held the seat for 15 terms and is now retiring, won by a landslide 42 percent. Lewis C. Nash, a North Philadelphia pastor who finished second, earned 27 percent of the vote.
Kenyatta is the grandson of political pioneer Muhammad Kenyatta, who ran for Philadelphia mayor in 1975. But young Kenyatta grew up in the projects with a belief that the future for his home district could be better. It’s not a question of possibility; it’s a question of resources, he says. To that end, he has spent his 20s organizing protests, speaking out for the marginalized, attending block cleanups and vigils. He earned his victory.
PGN spoke with nearly half a dozen voters across North Philadelphia, all of whom said that Kenyatta was a man of the community, for the community. We couldn’t agree more.