Anitta & Lula: the Girl From Rio and the man from Garanhuns

Lula and Anitta. Arguably, they are among the most famous Brazilians alive right now. And this week, the most popular president in Brazil’s history and its biggest pop star have teamed up, in the hope of defeating far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in October’s presidential election.

Though the singer has refrained from any outright national political endorsements in the past and said she “had never been” a Lula supporter, the 29-year-old pop phenomenon said she would do whatever it takes to boost the former president’s campaign on social media, traditionally a stronghold of Mr. Bolsonaro’s. 

The star influence cannot be understated, especially among young people. A few months ago, she lent her name to a campaign encouraging teenagers between the age of 16 and 17 to register to vote, and more than 2 million answered Anitta’s call and became eligible. Voting is mandatory for over 18s in Brazil, but 16 and 17-year-olds are given the option to vote if they desire. Polling data shows that this youngest age group tends to vote left.  

Anitta and other pro-Lula influencers have more than 310 million social media followers combined, while Mr. Bolsonaro’s digital supporters have 160 million. And at a time when everybody has their eyes glued to a screen, this could be crucial to the outcome of the electoral process.

However, recent polls show that just 11 percent of respondents either have not made up their minds about who to back in October, or intend to spoil their ballots — a historically low share, this close to the beginning of the official campaign.

So, will Anitta and Lula’s collab become a hit? 

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