Hill Harper’s Run For Michigan Senate Inspired By Fatherhood And Legacy

Hill Harper’s forging new territory on a path paved by Black actor-activists like Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Sydney Poitier, and Paul Robeson, all of whom he called “my heroes” in a recent interview.

On July 10, the award-winning CSI: NY actor announced in a video that he’s running for the 2024 U.S. Senate in Michigan. The clip features intimate footage of Harper with his 7-year-old son Pierce and shots of diverse Michiganders from across the state. The longtime political activist addresses affordable healthcare and student debt relief among other issues. He also reveals his campaign slogan, “Believe In Better.”

“Fighting for what you believe in is hard enough, but it’s worth doing when you found something that makes your heart beat faster,” he tells his son, who he adopted as a newborn. “And for me, it’s you.”

Harper and his son Pierce. Photo courtesy of hillharper/Instagram.


Of all the characters Harper’s played throughout his career, the role of father has been the most life-changing. In fact, it was a conversation with his son during a drive to school that convinced him to officially enter politics.

“He said, ‘Daddy, I don’t wanna go to school,’” recalled Harper during an interview with Andre Ash for The Michigan Chronicle. “Because I’m scared. I’m scared they’re gonna kill me.”

The single dad explained how this triggered his paternal instinct to protect his child. “You realize there hasn’t been any real political will to fight back against the NRA to ban weapons of mass murder,” he said touching on one of the Top 5 issues he’ll campaign on.

The leading concerns he plans to prioritize if elected include gun control, healthcare, the economy, the environment, and student loan debt relief/free education.

“The fact that we are saddling young people with the cost of education that has way outpaced inflation is wrong. It’s just simply wrong,” said the Brown University valedictorian.

Harper also received a JD and an MPA from Harvard University where he met and befriended President Obama. The two still remain close. Moreover, the former POTUS appointed Harper, who is a thyroid cancer survivor, to The President’s Cancer Panel in 2012.

Harper (L) and Obama (R) played basketball together while both studying at Harvard Law.

A Man of the People

There’s no denying the stark contrast between Harper’s privileged upbringing in Iowa City, Iowa, and successful Hollywood career with the experiences of many Michiganders. His father was a psychiatrist and his mother was one of the first Black anesthesiologists in the country. He takes pride in his roots. But instead of coming off as “bougie,” he seems relatable and grateful.

“All of my success I ascribe to my family, my faith and education,” said the author of Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny.

The 57-year-old’s love for Detroit developed after living there while filming movies like 2014’s Parts Per Billion. “I said to myself when I have kids I wanna raise them here,” he responded when asked why he moved to The Motor City. In 2017, the actor purchased a Roasting Plant Coffee business in the city’s downtown district. Then in 2018, he bought and moved into the Charles T. Fisher Mansion.

As for the rest of the state, the May 2021 InClub Magazine cover star describes Michigan as “a community where people are kind [and] work hard.” He also admitted that his biggest campaign challenge will be convincing people to reclaim their power and actually vote.

Trying to rebuild trust in a broken system that spans decades and 83 counties is no easy feat. But Harper is up for the task.

Harper (L) chats with Detroiter Devin Allen (R) during a campaign event on July 11 at Cadillac Square Park, Detroit. Photo by David Guralnick via ‘The Detroit News.’

“I have to cover this state…speak to everybody up and down the state, across the state,” said the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation founder. “Whether it’s a farmer in Remus, Michigan, or a single mom at the corner of Mack [Ave] and Drexel [St], I think we fundamentally all want the same thing.”

Featured image credit: Photo by David Guralnick via ‘The Detroit News.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.