Saying that, in his personal opinion, Justin Bibb and Basheer Jones are the only two candidates he would consider in the upcoming election, Dr. R.A. Vernon of The Word Church will host a novel forum this coming Sunday night when he welcomes Bibb and Jones to a mayoral candidate Verzuz.
Verzuz battles, for the unaware, are online rap and singing battles pitting prominent Black creators against each other where 20 rounds determine the better catalog. They've become appointment viewing since Swizz Beatz and Timbaland gave birth to the idea on Instagram Live in an effort to modernize the rap-battle format for the pandemic era of online viewing.
Here, instead of Gladys Knight vs. Patti Labelle or Gucci Mane vs. Jeezy, it'll be Bibb vs. Basheer, and instead of greatest hits from the catalog it'll be policy planks and campaign quips.
Only 16 days remain before the Sept. 14 primary (early voting is open) and with the Cuyahoga County Board of Election predicting a dismal 18% turnout, every vote is crucial. The difference between second and third place could be just hundreds, if not dozens, of votes.
The candidates have waged battle at two debates and something like 375 neighborhood and organization forums, mainly populated by the older portion of the electorate. The Verzuz battle, however it many eyeballs it draws, is a commendable effort to meet possible voters where they are, especially younger, Black voters who might be expected to sit out the election.