Of all the myriad Covid-19 vaccination PSAs created this year, perhaps none gets to the point as effectively as the latest campaign for BLK, Match Group’s dating app geared toward Black singles. Hip-hop stars Juvenile and Mannie Fresh update their classic track “Back That Thang Up” for the coronavirus era with “Vax That Thang Up,” a reboot whose lyrics zero in of the best reason to get vaccinated: diving back into the dating pool.
Many listeners will be more familiar with the uncensored version of the song, “Back That Azz Up,” but the beat is unmistakable. It’s been copied, sampled, remixed and parodied innumerable times since it dropped in late 1998, so it’s fitting that the original artists feature here, along with the addition of Mia X.
Black adults under 40 have the lowest rate of vaccination in the country, according to the CDC. “I just wanted to do something positive for my people and to stand in the front to show that I’m willing to sacrifice my life not just for me but also for my family,” said Juvenile in a statement. “We don’t know what we’re facing right now, but we really do all need to be vaccinated so we can continue to do our thing and survive.”
The video was created by Majority, the Atlanta-based agency founded by Shaquille O’Neal. “To be young is to feel invincible,” said Majority founder Omid Farhang in a statement. “BLK is uniquely positioned to meet this historic moment, not through an academic lecture or sober manifesto, but through pop cultural content that speaks directly to the benefits of dating IRL once you’re vaccinated.”
Like other brands in the Match family, BLK users can also signal their vaccination status by adding a “Vaxified” badge to their dating profiles. “We have a direct line to the audience that needs to internalize this message,” said Jonathan Kirkland, head of brand and marketing at BLK, in a statement. “The song may be playful and fun, but the underlying message is as real as it gets.”