PROVIDENCE — State Senator Tiara Mack got more than just a little attention after she shared a video of herself, in a tiny yellow bikini, doing a headstand and shaking her backside on a Block Island beach.
“Vote Senator Mack!” she sing-songs into the camera at the end of the video, which she posted on TikTok Monday afternoon, from an account identifying her as a state senator.
Soon after, @LaurieinRI shared the video on Twitter. “Just waiting for the Glocester Ancient and Horribles parade to start, and someone sent me something Horrible for sure,” she tweeted.
“This is Senator Tiara Mack. She argued hard to bring Anything Goes Sex Ed to your 11 year old.”
“I have not seen it. What was the term you used? Twerking? I don’t even know what that means.” – R.I. Governor Dan McKee
Hours later, @LibsofTikTok took notice, and honed the criticism of Mack’s progressive platform, focusing on the bill she sponsored that would require sex education courses in Rhode Island to “affirmatively recognize pleasure based sexual relations, different sexual orientations and be inclusive of same-sex relationships.”
Just before 10 p.m. Monday night, the senator was on Twitter, complaining that the video had sparked criticism. “Twerking upside down really makes the conservative, unhinged internet accounts pop off on a Monday,” she tweeted.
But while supporters flocked to TikTok to express admiration, the criticism on Twitter seemed to come from all across the political spectrum. Some complimented her body.
Many called her unprofessional. More than a few said her behavior was insulting, especially to Black women. Others wondered whether she was being appropriate, given that she’s a sitting senator.
“I have an Ivy League degree, and I’m a sitting state senator. It’s not about what I’m wearing, it’s not about what I’m doing. They don’t respect me regardless.” – Senator Tiara Mack
“I’m not a conservative and I’m disappointed,” @nikki_1968 noted on Twitter. “Where do we draw the line on the behavior of public figures?”
Mack responded on Tuesday morning by criticizing the media, though at that point no major media outlets seemed to have picked up on the video.
That changed on Tuesday, when Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and far-right darling Ann Coulter weighed in.
WARNING: CLICKING ON THE LINK BELOW MAY CAUSE NAUSEA AND VOMITING.
This is RI Senator Tiara Mack- who the white democrats brag about being the first openly LGBTQ Black person elected to the Rhode Island Senate.
She is twerking for votes.
Hey Democrats….please don’t give Corey Booker any ideas
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) July 5, 2022