Updated, 1:52 p.m. | The city’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, threw his hat in the ring for mayor on Sunday. Rather than go the usual route of announcing his candidacy at City Hall, Mr. de Blasio, who has cast himself as a champion of the forgotten, held a news conference in front of his house in Park Slope, Brooklyn, accompanied by his wife, who introduced him as an “outer-borough working dad,” and their teenage son, who also gave a speech.
Mr. de Blasio has worked in government since the Dinkins administration and amassed some legitimate credentials. But some of the most animated discussion on the Internet about his announcement was not about his track record advocating for the homeless or government transparency as public advocate; or his work as a housing administrator; or his management of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s successful 2000 Senate campaign; or his two terms on the City Council; or even about Mr. de Blasio himself.
It consisted of people swooning over his son’s hair.
Mr. de Blasio is white. His wife, Chirlane McCray, is black. Their son, Dante, 15, wears his hair in what The Daily News called “a stupendous Afro.”
And across the Twitterverse, Dante’s hair was the subject of considerable fascination. Some commenters granted Mr. de Blasio a certain degree of cred-by-association.
So far the only #NYC mayoral candidate to say they’ll end Stop&Frisk is Bill de Blasio. http://t.co/od1zZl05 That + his sons Afro = my vote.
— Peter Hh (@FallinIMO) 27 Jan 13
If Bill deBlasio’s son’s afro gets any bigger, I might have to vote for him. #sorrychristine
Other wags predicted that Mr. de Blasio’s opponents would urge their kids to grow a natural by any means necessary.
After seeing de Blasio’s son glorious afro, another NY mayoral candidate was heard yelling to his towhead son, “How fast can you grow one?”
Many posters simply expressed admiration for Dante’s hairdo.
But of course nothing is simple when it comes to race and politics.
Sometimes, perhaps, an Afro is just an Afro. But Dante de Blasio’s Afro, which drew attention in 2009 when critics said Mr. de Blasio was using his family to score points on race, seems destined for a run as some sort of potent symbol, one whose meaning lies in the eye of the beholder.
I’m sharing this only because I marvel at the kid’s ‘fro. #respect > RT Democrat Bill de Blasio formalizes mayoral run http://t.co/TGOnqxRN
— Brainy Pint Sizer (@brainypintsizer) 28 Jan 13
#BilldeBlasio anncd his #NYCMayor run & his son’s righteous #Afro is all I could see. Well coiffed kid. http://t.co/Pb0Vgvnq
Forget Bill. Dante de Blasio’s ‘fro for Mayor. His hair is outstanding. https://t.co/O4ldqUGz
But why Bill de Blasio son look like Jermaine Jackson in the Dancing Machine era…or Tito.
Bill de Blasio’s son’s afro is everything.
I predict the next niche Twitter account belongs to Bill DeBlasio’s son’s glorious afro http://t.co/qYiP8Kk4
— lizburrito (@lizburrito) 28 Jan 13