The bold and unapologetic Charlamagne Tha God is bringing his voice to young voters as the spokesperson for The Hip Hop Caucus’ ‘Respect My Vote!‘ campaign, urging the youth to discover the power of the voting process.
The non-profit group made the official announcement on Tuesday (Mar. 22) for their third rollout of the campaign. “Respect My Vote!” helps to empower the hip-hop community in realizing strength behind numbers through educational services and non-partisan voter registration. The radio personality is known for his role on the nationally syndicated Power 105 The Breakfast Club and host of MTV2’s Uncommon Sense.
In a statement via email to Vibe, the personality explains the importance of this year’s presidential race and the power of voter mobilization.
“The soul of the country is at stake in this election. All that is going on socially, economically, and environmentally right now is very serious for communities of color. Respect My Vote! is the inspiration that disenfranchised communities can look to for how and why their vote is crucial to make needed change,” said Charlamagne Tha God. “I’m honored to be a spokesperson for the 2016 Respect My Vote! campaign, and to be a part of a movement where the community of Hip Hop can come together to promote empowerment through political participation. Furthermore, I am an ex-offender and without initiatives such as Respect My Vote! I and many other people would be unaware of our ability to vote and the steps we need to take.”
Respect My Vote! is a national campaign that has featured many celebrities and community leaders who have encouraged voter registration in the hip-hop community. Past spokespeople include T.I, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross and Elle Varner. Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. hopes to show young potential voters the power of their voices through local elections as well as the general elections.
“‘Respect My Vote!’ is about how voting is personal and the decisions that elected officials make are personal to us. Justice and opportunity are too often denied to our communities,” Rev Yearwood, Jr. said. “That’s why it’s important to get celebrities and influencers such as Charlamagne Tha God involved in the campaign to convey the seriousness and importance of voting as a tool for change. We want to make lifetime voters out of this generation and encourage them to be active in advocacy on the issues that matter to them and their futures.”
Pledges and volunteer drives are located on their website. The campaign will run all the way until the general election while setting up voter registration drives this summer in Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina.
While voter turnout has hit a dangerous low in all ages, in 2014 youth voter turnout fell to 19.9 percent of 18- to 29-year-old citizens who voted last fall. The average rested at 26.6 percent in the same age over the previous 40 years.
It’s no secret that the much-coveted youth vote is important for politicians and citizens. The idea of a young voter encourages the notion they will continue the process when they are older. What is often missed is the importance of local and primary races that also paint the political makeup of the country.
Check out Charlamagne’s thoughts on local elections and the ‘Respect My Vote!’ campaign below.