RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond reached out to Virginia Union University students today and to southside residents. These are two areas of the city that have been slow to return their Census forms. And it is fair to say the city is now getting a little creative to get people to fill them out.
A local radio DJ tried to get a crowd of hundreds on the VUU campus thinking census. Clovia Lawrence got the crowd to chant, "Little count, little money! Big count big money!"
Richmond's mayor, Dwight Jones even returned to his old campus. He said, "This census is more important than you can ever imagine."
But it was the appearance of a local music star-- trying for a comeback--- that really got people's attention. Tappahannock native Chris Brown headlined Richmond's northside census rally. Brown told the crowd, "It raises money and helps everything for the community as far as Richmond, as far as where I'm from." Brown only spoke for three minutes, but his presence caused a frenzy.
"Obviously I couldn't get this crowd. They wouldn't come to hear me. You've got to do what you have to do to get people interested. So, their excited about Chris Brown and I hope that it will translate into them filling out their census forms," Mayor Jones told reporters.
And the city may have gotten the reaction it was looking for.
"When I saw him I was like, Chris Brown is really here? Why is he here? Then I found out it was for the census," said student Chantal Brown.
At one point, Brown spontaneously broke out his dance moves, which led to a lot of screams. He certainly seemed to connect with the crowd, but Brown says he hopes he also got his message across.
"I think to a degree, behind the screams, I tried to get the point across as quick and easy as possible for them," said Chris Brown.