DENVER — Brother Jeff is a conduit.
His Facebook Live program in Denver has become a stop for candidates running for office, as a way to reach an audience they may otherwise not get a chance to interact with.
"I'm not trying to be interesting; I'm trying to be interested. It's up to the person that I'm interviewing to attract the interest of those who are viewing," Brother Jeff Fard told Next with Kyle Clark.
His show is where Denver mayoral candidate Jamie Giellis was asked about the NAACP acronym ahead of the election in spring 2019. She didn't know what the letters stood for.
"I didn't think that was a bad thing because if you ask someone about an acronym, the average person doesn't know, they're going to flub with acronyms. But the point was how she carried it," said Brother Jeff. "Coming back, it seemed as though she was disconnected from the community."
On Monday, Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper was on Brother Jeff's The Free Think Zone, which was streamed live on Facebook.
At the end of the interview, he was also asked about the NAACP.
"I understand that you were at the NAACP gala. The NAACP. NAACP. N-A-A-C-P stands for what?" asked Brother Jeff.
"(Inaudible) American Advancement of Colored People," said Hickenlooper.
Brother Jeff laughed.
It's hard to tell, but it sounds like someone off-camera says the acronym meaning, and after a pause, Hickenlooper said "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People" -- which is correct.
"Oh!" said Brother Jeff to applause. "Did he pull it through? He pulled it through. He's a card-carrying member."
What's the purpose of asking the definition? What does it mean if a candidate knows? What does it mean if a candidate does not know?
"It basically says how connected are you with the black community," said Brother Jeff. "It's now become a barometer with your relationship and connection with the black community."
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg talked on Brother Jeff's program and was also asked about NAACP.
"Does John Hickenlooper understand the NAACP more than say, for example, a Jamie Giellis? I would say absolutely because being a mayor, being a governor, being very attached to the black community locally and nationally, and then also being a member, his answer was a lot different in terms of context than Jamie Giellis, and so should Hickenlooper get some slack from that, well, we're pretty clear he knows what the NAACP is because at the end of the day, he did get the answer right. The same with Mayor Pete Buttigieg. We gave him a 9.99. He didn't stick the landing. Hickenlooper got a 9.5. He didn't stick the landing, but he got the answer," said Brother Jeff.
He doesn't use the NAACP question as a "gotcha," but now he expects candidates to at least know the meaning behind the organization.
"I don't do 'gotcha' questions, but because that became such a foundational question in a political landscape, anyone who's familiar with my show, if you're prepared, if you're connected, whoever's prepping you or if you are anyway in the vicinity of The Free Think Zone, you're going to be ready to be addressing the NAACP. And then sometimes, even beyond what the acronym means -- what's your relationship to the black community? How are you with regards to social justice? What is your relationship in terms of your staff? Your policy? Your awareness of issues? So, it's like an opening of the door to a broader question," said Brother Jeff. "It's even more telling about the question when candidates after Jamie Giellis are not familiar with the question: NAACP."
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