• By Shelbi R. Ankiewicz

Political chants, NASCAR, and Coastal come full circle


Students walk beneath Brandon Brown's autographed racecar hood, which hangs above the stairs of the Lib Jackson Student Union A-wing. Photo courtesy of Sarah Jackson.

Many students know the chant, “Let’s go Brandon,” but few know the saying has a Coastal Carolina connection.


Coastal alumnus Brandon Brown transferred to Coastal from a Virginia community college and graduated with a communication degree in 2018, according to his website, brandonbrownracing.com. He is originally from Woodbridge, Virginia, and told multiple publications he attended CCU because of the appeal of small classes and being close to the beach.


After graduation, Brown pursued his dream of becoming a stock car racing driver. He has raced vehicles from the age of 10, raced under Coastal’s sponsorship while he was a student here, and won his first big race, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, this past October. The race took place at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.


After Brown’s victory, he was being interviewed on camera when the crowd started chanting, “F--- Joe Biden.” The reporter interviewing him, with a goal of canceling out the noise said, “As you can hear, the chants from the crowd — ‘Let’s go, Brandon!’”


Now, the three-word political slogan is a common sight on bumper stickers in Coastal parking lots and flags flying on the back of trucks as they drive down U.S. Highway 501. The “Let’s go Brandon” and “F--- Joe Biden” chant both circles back to Coastal Carolina. One chant originated at the university, while the other is connected through an alumnus. The “trend” that Coastal started, almost led to the collapse of Brown’s career.


Back at Talladega, no one thought anything of what is now commonly known as LGB. A few days after Brown’s win, “Let’s go Brandon” caught on as a nationwide substitute for the crass political chant about Biden. Originally, Brown played along, thinking it would be a joke and eventually blow over.


“To all the other Brandon’s out there, You’re welcome! Let’s go us,” Brown said in a Twitter post a few days after his winning race.


Yet, when the chant continued to rise in popularity, it was no longer a laughing matter. Brown became a meme seen and used everywhere, ranging from sports venues to bars, to everyday interactions, even places of political power.


Brown was put in the middle of a political debate, and instead of cashing in on his first win with sponsorships, sponsors were not calling. NASCAR drivers, especially Brown, who doesn’t come from a racing family, depend heavily on sponsorships to fund their racing events and equipment. Since he is the current center of political controversy, no one wanted to invest in him.


“For me, a big goal was and still is to change the narrative of what LGB means,” Brown said in a tweet on Jan. 13. “I would like it to become a constructive voice for those like myself, who land somewhere in the middle and have views that align with both sides. I want it to become something positive and constructive, not divisive.”


“F--- Joe Biden” was first heard during the opening football game of the 2021/22 season. The chant started at this university and then became a nationwide trend.


By late September, the chant was so common at Coastal football games that former head CCU football coach Joe Moglia posted a video asking students to stop. He spoke out about the issue through a video sent to students and posted on YouTube. He said he loves how supportive the fans are being by showing up to football games, but some things, or words, are better left unsaid.


“I do have one little request, and that is some of the cheers we have do cross the line a little bit,” Moglia said. “Now, I recognize that there are other universities in the country that are doing that, but frankly I don’t care what other universities are doing.”


The Chanticleer reached out to Brown for a comment, but multiple attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. University administrators contacted for this story said they could not comment due to limited knowledge. The paper also reached out to some current CCU football players, who said they did not want to get involved with politics.


Brown is trying to turn LGB into a positive and focus on the bright side of things while putting his sole attention into racing.


According to a Dec. 30 press release posted on Brown’s website, he recently signed a million-dollar deal with LGBcoin.io, a new meme cryptocurrency similar to Dogecoin. LGBcoin will serve as Brown’s racing sponsor this year, and the LGBcoin logo will be featured on the Chevrolet Camaro Brown drives at NASCAR races.


“From wondering if we would have the financial means to continue to compete, to my first major win (at Talladega no less), to becoming an unintentional meme, this past season was a roller coaster,” Brown said.