Voting is an extremely important part of being an American citizen, and you don’t need a graduate degree in political communications to understand why. We probably use the word “literally” way too much nowadays, but there are people who literally died for your right to vote.
Countries have gone to war, regimes toppled, and new laws have been created, all in the name of casting a ballot. (Of course, that’s to say nothing of voter I.D. laws which systematically do their best to rip away voting rights, all in the name of protecting us against “voter fraud.” To hear some tell it, voter fraud is rampant in our country and the ultimate boogieman when in reality, the rate of fraud in U.S. elections is damn near zero.)
Anyway, the first Clinton-Trump Debate is the most watched debate in the history of television for a reason — this is going to be an extremely close election. Which brings us back to 2016. Obviously there are a lot of people who are just a tad cynical this year. They believe their vote won’t matter and even if they do vote, what’s the difference?
Rather than get into all of that — especially when John Oliver did it for me — or even getting into the ridiculousness of how one shows “restraint” by saying that they didn’t say what they wanted to say, I want to highlight a few artists who are doing their part to ensure everyone not only understands who they’re voting for and why, but registers to do it. You can’t win the lottery without a ticket and you can’t win the game while you’re on the bench. You’ve got skin in the game, whether you know it or not.
1. Chance the Rapper
First on the list is the man the sleep cycle forgot, Chance the Rapper. Chance’s Magnificent Coloring World Tour isn’t just for music anymore. He’s partnered with the NAACP to register concertgoers to vote as part of his #staywokeandvote campaign. I’m not sure if that makes him the MVP of the human race, but it’s incredibly dope for a person with his stature to impress upon his fans how important voting is.
Plus there’s this shot:
Followed by this chaser:
*cue the Law and Order dun dun sound*
2. Pusha T
Can I keep it real for a minute? This is a surprise to me. No diss to King Push at all, but I didn’t know he was this passionate about voting and supporting his chosen candidate. He’s using his Play Cloths brand to push the vote. Get it? Because he’s Pusha T and he wants you to go vote! Anyway, the Good Music Prez wants you to vote and believes this election will determine the future of our criminal justice system. As such, he’s going hard in the paint for the woman he hopes will soon hold the title of “El Presedentè.” Register to meet King Push via Hillary’s campaign here.
3. Katy Perry
Katy Perry is no stranger to elections and while she… okay who am I kidding? This gorgeous woman got naked to convince you to vote. Nothing more needs to be said. She can do all the talking from this point. You’re probably not even reading this. I could say anything I want like how the Giants losing last Sunday still has me in my feelings and how in the hell can a team commit that many penalties and turnovers in one game and expect to win. But you wouldn’t notice me complaining about my favorite football team because you’re still watching her strut around in her birthday suit. I’m not even taking it personally.
The artist formerly known as Common Sense is no stranger to politics or explaining to his fans the importance of voting. For National Voter Registration Day, Com took the time out to express why he believes voting is important to him and what it means to the country as a whole. As a guy who’s seen what can happen when politicians neglect your backyard, he fully supports not just voting for the top of the ticket, but being educated on every senator, councilman, judge, and county official on the ballot. Take his advice and educate yourself.
5. Amoeba Records
This may be a bit of a stretch, but Amoeba Records is a big enough entity in what we bob our heads to, that leaving them off this list would feel like malpractice. By that, I mean Redman’s 5th LP, not the actual definition of malpractice. The legendary music shop is keeping it simple: register to vote and you get a button. No frills, no gimmicks. They’re just doing their part to make it easy on customers to affect real change. Register at Amoeba by October 24.
6. John Legend
John Legend makes no bones about his political affiliations nor his political enemies. He’s one of the most outspoken artists of his generation and has been since he stepped on the scene a decade ago. Rather than speaking on voting in general, Legend chooses to talk to former felons who may not even be aware they have the right to vote. We get so caught up in whether we want to vote or not, we don’t often think about those who don’t even have the option. Or worse, they’re not aware that they do have the option. Education is key and Legend is taking the “each one, teach one” approach.
7. Questlove/Kings of Leon/Killer Mike/Beck/Mac Miller/Fetty Wap/Joey Bada$$
Yeah, this is a cheat. But hear me out. These artists are just a few who’ve teamed up with HeadCount.org and Pandora — yes, that Pandora — to speak to fans directly on whatever it is they stream their music on. First, they’ll stress the importance of voting and, as we get closer to November 8, they’ll ensure fans know how to get to their local polling places. It’s the best “boots on the ground” operation any political operative could ask for, so props to every artist involved for doing their part.