League of Young Voters Education Fund announces that hip-hop artist Paul Wall, MTV Hip-Hop POV host Devi Dev, conscious rapper Dee-1, and XXL Magazine editor-at-large Shaheem Reid have joined their initiative to register 50,000 young voters before the 2012 election, as part of their Vote4Urself campaign.
The hip-hop tastemakers will use their star power and social networks to encourage fans to register to vote, using mobile technology developed by the League of Young Voters and TurboVote. Young people nationwide can now register to vote from a smartphone and get crucial text message reminders of election deadlines and polling locations. By texting Vote4Urself to 69866, hip-hop fans can also sign up to receive updates and exclusive content.
In the four years since the 2008 election, technology and social networking have taken center stage as vital components of any successful get-out-the-vote campaign. Increasingly, voter activation has moved from clipboards to online communities that rely on the power of social networks to spread the word.
“The game has changed,” Biko Baker, Executive Director of the League of Young Voters says. “In 2008, traditional field tactics could get you all the way to the finish line. Now, if you're not blowing up on Facebook and Twitter, you aren't taken seriously. Paul Wall, Devi Dev, Dee-1, and Shaheem Reid’s influence, combined with our best practices in organizing, will help us reach thousands of young voters and give them a reason to stay involved in a critical election year.”
Chart-topping rapper Paul Wall has never been afraid to speak his mind in his music and things are no different when it comes to politics. The Houston native was motivated to vote for the first time in 2008; now, he’s helping other young people understand the importance of voting.
“We owe it to the people before us who fought and died for the right to vote,” Paul Wall said. “People complain about our laws, but won't even vote to make a change. We can't let other voters choose our leaders. WE have to choose.”
As a hip-hop radio personality and host of the new MTV show Hip-Hop POV, Devi Dev understands the importance of reaching out to young people through the forms of media that engage them the most.
“Voting is one of the single most powerful things we can do as Americans,” says Dev. “I am so excited to be involved with The League and TurboVote this election season because they are making it easy to be powerful. Just a few quick clicks of a button and we have the chance to change the future.”
“Shut Up and Grind” rapper and former middle school teacher, Dee-1 has already captivated audiences with his infectious flow but now he wants to start a movement, so he’s working to empower young people to make their voices heard in 2012.
“I'm a rapper, true,” Dee-1 says, “but I'm also a leader. I'm making sure my generation understands the importance of being socially responsible and making wise decisions that will better our future. As leaders, we can't just talk it, we must walk it.”
XXL Magazine Editor-at-Large and self-proclaimed cultural ambassador Shaheem Reid has spent his career bringing important narratives from the hip-hop community to the forefront of media. Now, he’s doing the same to help shed more light on the importance of voting as part of the Vote4Urself campaign.
Other participants who have stepped up to the Vote4Urself challenge, include Pittsburgh hip-hop artist and activist Jasiri X, whose song “Free the Jena Six” became nationally known and was named Hip Hop Political Song of the Year in 2007.
With less than 100 days left before the 2012 presidential election, the hip-hop heavyweights are challenged to reach the ambitious goal of registering 50,000 young voters between now and mid-October. Fans can follow their favorite celebrity’s progress at Vote4Urself.org.