Jhené Aiko debuted her new song “Vote” on last night’s animated season premiere of Black-ish, not just imploring listeners to follow through but also empathizing with the obstacles many potential voters may face on Election Day. The first half of the episode finds Junior losing faith in the institutions of democracy as he faces his first election. Younger sister Diane throws on Aiko’s animated clip in an effort to impress the importance of voting on her brother. You can view the clip here at 14:39.
“Vote” expresses Aiko’s character’s desire to “focus on my vote,” but juxtaposes her civic-mindedness with the pressures many people will face. “I ain’t got no time, I gotta work,” Jhené croons. “Rent is comin’ up, I need this cash / Plus I got a couple terminations in my past / Gotta ask my bosses for a day off / But if I do, I know might get laid off.” As the song plays, the animated characters in the clip face the removal of mailboxes for absentee voting, phony voter guides being passed out by dubious individuals, and bosses who don’t follow laws that require them to allow employees to visit polling places. It’s an ugly reality that some politicians are relying on tactics like these to keep their positions of power, as voter suppression efforts have reportedly increased across the nation.
Listen to Jhené Aiko’s “Vote” above and find more voting information here.