— FL Memorial Univ. (@FLMemorialUniv) November 8, 2016
For anyone still feeling lethargic about the idea of making the trek to the polls, let Gucci Mane be the dose of encouragement needed to spur you along. He wants people to get out to vote because it’s their right and it’s one he currently doesn’t have.
Gucci was one of the several rap celebs who showed up for the “Young Gets It Done” rally hosted by the NAACP Youth and College Division and healthcare union 1199SEIU and held at Florida Memorial University on Monday. The pre-election event was held to help drive young people to the voting booth and included both performances and powerful messages delivered by the likes of T.I., Rick Ross and more. But, Gucci gave what may be the most resonating appeal to voters, calling on them to exercise their right because his have been stripped away.
“Young people have a chance to make a big impact tomorrow,” he said to the crowd. “Not just any young people, young people in this room. Young people of color. Young people from neighborhoods surrounding this college. Tomorrow, we have to vote but vote not because I’m telling you to, but not because everyone else is telling you to. But vote because y’all are important, this is about y’all’s future and y’all our future.”
He continued, “We need to make a vote to stop all police brutality. We need to make a vote stop all this mass incarceration. All these issues are not just personal to you and your families, they impact me.”
Gucci reminded the gathered crowd that, as an ex-con, his voting rights have been stripped so he needed them to hit the polls on his behalf. “I wish that I had my right to vote,” he said. “I feel like after you serve your time, you know what I’m saying, don’t punish me for the rest of my life for something I already did my time for. For all you, I want you to know, y’all vote counts for me.”
Gucci’s comments about felons and their voting rights speak to the challenges and misconceptions that exist in our society. Since Gucci did just get released from prison, it’s likely he likely can’t vote in this year’s election. But, he will eventually be able to vote, even as a felon. Most states do allow felons to vote once they’ve completed certain tasks associated with their original sentence. In Guwop’s case, Georgia requires ex-cons to fulfill their sentence, which includes the time they’re required to serve along with probation and parole.
Clarifying the voting rights ofex-convicts is actually a movement 2 Chainz helped lead during the ’12 election year through the “Respect My Vote!” campaign. As a felon himself, Chainz understood the disenfranchised feelings held by Gucci and others who have to contend with as they try to participate in one of the most important parts of the democratic process, which lead to his decision to help spread the correct info to people. It may take figures like Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz to help felons and regular citizens alike understand that the right to vote is one that shouldn’t be taken for granted, and one that’s worth the fight to regain.