Billboard: Respect My Vote Hitting Historically Black Colleges to Get Out the Vote For Midterms

This article was initially published November 5, 2018, on 

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. has been wearing out his shoes visiting HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) all across the Midwest and South to make sure that students get out and vote in the midterm elections on Tuesday (Nov. 6).

The minister, community activist and president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus is crashing campuses from Georgia and North Carolina to Michigan with a simple message: your vote counts.

“I’ve been doing this work to get out the vote for the past 10 years with the Respect My Vote — for the general election in 2008 with Keyshia Cole and T.I. — trying to help people who were formerly incarcerated vote and speaking to women of color on HBCU campuses,” Yearwood tells Billboard. As in the past when he worked with 2 Chainz, Tip, Charlamagne the God, Wiz Khalifa, and Snoop Dogg to inspire voting, Yearwood has tapped into a long list of headliners and local hip-hop artists to get out the vote this election season.

Detroit Hip Hop Community Organizes Citywide Campaign to Get Young Voters to the Polls


Detroit Hip Hop Community Organizes Citywide Campaign to Get Young Voters to the Polls on Tuesday

Recording Artists, Influencers, Community Leaders, and Organizers Come Together for Nonpartisan Two Hour Election Eve Radio Special on Hot 107.5

Detroit, MI (November 5, 2018) – Detroit’s Hip Hop community is coming together for an in-depth two hour drive-time radio special on the eve of the midterm Election, to encourage and help young people across the city to vote on Tuesday.

WHO: Hot 107.5, Hip Hop Caucus Detroit, Respect My Vote! Campaign, and #WorkThemPolls hosted by DJ BJ 3525, with special guests:

  • Icewear Vezzo, Motown Records Recording Artist
  • #WorkThatGang: Sino, Gee Baby, Dre Butterz
  • Councilwoman Mary Sheffield
  • State Representative Jewell Jones
  • K.C. wilborn, Turnaround Specialist & Former Educator
  • Betarm Marks, Director of Facilities and Youth Programs, Youthville
  • Hip Hop Caucus Detroit Leadership Committee: Norm Clement, Jerome Record, Piper Carter.

WHAT: A two-hour non-partisan radio show special the night before the midterm election, featuring guests, election protection information, and calls to action for Detroit communities to go to the polls, use their voices, and to protect their votes if they have any problems at the polls.

WHEN: Monday, November 5, 2018, 7pm – 9pm EST

WHERE: On-air on Hot 107.5 in the Detroit metro area, Streamed live at:

WHY: This nonpartisan election eve special is geared towards young people and communities of color in Detroit to get out the vote on Tuesday, November 6. The special is bringing together a diverse set of community leaders, demonstrating unity among the Hip Hop community of Detroit. By coming together for this show, the leaders involved in this effort, who are also involved in door-to-door canvassing in neighborhoods across the city, are calling for young people to use their voices and the power they have as voters as one of many ways they can empower themselves and their communities to make positive change.

For interviews: LaRonn Harris, 313-477-5683 or


About Hip Hop Caucus ( is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 2004 that uses the power of Hip Hop culture to engage and empower young people and communities of color in the civic and political process. Follow @hiphopcaucus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Respect My Vote! ( is a nonpartisan voter engagement campaign of Hip Hop Caucus.

Respect My Vote: Turning Voices into Power at March For Our Lives!

On Saturday, March 24th, Hip Hop Caucus is joining March For Our Lives to demand an end to gun violence that plagues our country. We stand with the amazing young people who so bravely stepped up after the Parkland shooting to say enough is enough. This movement isn’t about political party, or partisanship, this is about our lives and justice. We need real change for our lives and communities now.

We also want to make sure our voices turn into real power at the ballot box during elections this November and beyond. Through Hip Hop Caucus’ Respect My Vote! campaign, we’ll be on the ground at MFOL events across the countries to make sure young people can exercise their right to vote. Our goal is to make sure that this amazing movement for gun reform carries its momentum into lasting positive change for our communities and country.

Our city teams will be on the ground leading voter registration and pledge operations in five cities: Washington D.C., Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Charlotte. Working with hundreds of community volunteers, we’ll be hosting voter registration training sessions prior to the events, then deploying to make sure young people are ready to vote. If you’re going to be in one of these cities, join us.

We want to work on the solutions, not just talk about the problems. We want to see action from our leaders. We are a new generation and we aren’t going to put up with the status quo talk and non-action on gun violence from the people we elect to represent us.

Communities of color, particularly poor communities of color, in many of our cities, deal with daily gun violence and we have been organizing and demanding solutions for decades with a lot less attention than when shootings happen in affluent communities. We have been demonized for the gun violence in our communities. We want all communities heard and gun violence solutions that address the problem everywhere.

Marching together across the country is a powerful way to make our voices heard and our leadership seen. This is democracy in action. But this work work doesn’t stop after we march. The work continues when we vote. The work continues when we go home to our communities and continue to organize and advocate for solutions. The work continues when we contact our elected officials every day and demand they act for us.

Organized people beat organized money every single time. We are building power that threatens the power of the NRA and the corporate interests that buy our lawmakers with their contributions. We are going to show up at the polls this November, we are going to make change happen.

Register to vote right now at It only takes two minutes!

Over the past 10 years, our Respect My Vote! campaign has engaged millions of people across our country. With the help from you and artists like Vic Mensa, T.I., Charlamagne tha God, Keke Palmer, 2 Chainz, Amber Rose, and Future, we have helped the Hip Hop community have power in our democracy.

To keep up with the action, follow us @HipHopCaucus on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook. More information is at March for Our Lives and Respect My Vote!.  

Why This Scream Queen Wants You To Get Out & Vote

Refinery 29:

Keke Palmer was overjoyed at the chance to vote for the first time in 2012.

The Scream Queens star was psyched about the prospect of re-electing President Barack Obama, a leader she calls “a great man.” And she was “just so happy to see such a big change as a Black man being president.”

But Palmer, now 22, says she’s since realized that the excitement she felt in some ways overshadowed the bigger picture of voting in America.

“I didn’t really understand voting in its totality,” she said. “I didn’t understand Congress, I didn’t understand senators. We have to pay attention just as much to that as we do the presidential election, so that our president has an opportunity to get the kind of laws they want passed.”

According to U.S. Census Bureau information, 71% of citizens are registered to vote, but only 61% of citizens actually cast a ballot in the last presidential election. When it comes to midterm elections, the numbers are lower. Only 41.9% of American citizens turned out in 2014.

Changing that is something Palmer is passionate about. She’s the newest celebrity spokesperson for the Respect My Vote campaign, a non-partisan effort organized by Hip Hop Caucus to make voting more accessible and culturally established. The group primarily works with minority communities, people with criminal records, and students.

Palmer told Refinery29 that she became involved with the campaign because she wants more young people to be a part of the political process.

“My mom started telling me it was about Congress, and I said, ‘who votes for Congress?’ And she said, ‘we do.’

Keke Palmer, on realizing that voting is about more than who occupies the White House.”

“I care about my generation and anything that’s going to help us move forward positively,” she said. “It’s in our hands. When they said back in the day, ‘children are our future,’ we were the children they were speaking of. It’s our time now, and there’s really no doubt about it.”

Respect My Vote focuses largely on education and inequality. The campaign offers several pages of voter resources, including tools to help voters find their polling place, be prepared for local voting ID laws, and research their rights as students or former criminal offenders. There’s even a tab to help people start the voter registration process

The campaign is a good fit for Palmer, who says that education and inequality are two of the biggest issues for her in this election.

“Sometimes, knowledge in America is based off your source of income,” she said. “So if you have a low source of income, it’s almost like saying ‘You don’t deserve to have knowledge.’ But as long as there’s ignorance going on in the world, we’re all fucked.”

“When they said back in the day, ‘children are our future,’ we were the children they were speaking of. It’s our time now, and there’s really no doubt about it.”

Keke Palmer, Respect My Vote spokesperson”

Palmer credits her mom with sparking her interest in voting during a conversation about what it takes for ideas to become law.

“My mom started telling me it was about Congress, and I said, ‘Who votes for Congress?’ And she said, ‘We do.’ And I’m just like, ‘What? That’s crazy! Wow.’”

That’s when she realized that voting didn’t mean just turning out for the top of the ticket.

“Voting so often goes under the radar, as far as everything outside of the presidential election,” she said. “I want not just to make myself aware, but to help provide, with my platform, the knowledge that we need to make better decisions for our world moving forward.”

Palmer wants others to know that their voice matters — and that they should go to the polls to make sure they’re heard.

“You remember when you’re a kid, [people] say, ‘your vote counts; every vote counts’?” she said. “Every city, every state that you’re in, you can decide what’s going on.”

Read Original Article on Refinery 29 by Lilli Petersen

Charlotte personalities push the voting message


The Charlotte Observer: “Charlotte Personalities Push the Voting Message”

Darren “Tank” Sauls says it concerns him when he overhears people say “My vote doesn’t matter,” or – even worse – “I don’t vote.”

“It’s important that we’re aware of the issues, we do our own research … and use our own vote as our voice,” says Sauls, a 33-year-old Charlotte native and marketer.

On Sunday, he took part in a photo and video shoot that’s part of the Washington-based Hip Hop Caucus and its Respect My Vote! campaign, which holds events in different cities to encourage voter registration and influence youth and minority communities to get active in voting.

Charlotte events continue Thursday with a town hall at the Urban League of the Central Carolinas to raise awareness of the voting rights of ex-felons.

Sunday’s photo and video event is part of a social-media push to raise voter awareness. Participants posed for photos in campaign T-shirts designed in red, white, blue and black. Then they talked on video about voting in their first election, and national and local issues important to them.

It will all be touted under the hashtags #RespectMyVote and #ElectionRevolution, according to Brandi Williams, Hip Hop Caucus ambassador in Charlotte.

“It’s really talking about making a huge change, and how our generation can do that from the hip-hop perspective,” says Williams, 39.

Charlotte personalities slated to be involved include R&B singer and Garinger High graduate Sunshine Anderson; Charlotte-based rapper Mr. 704; Larry “No Limit Larry” Mims of WPEG-FM (“Power 98” 97.9); Olympia D of Old School 105.3; Davita Galloway of Dupp & Swat studio in NoDa; and caucus national ambassador Nakisa Glover.

Want to go?

The Hip Hop Caucus, R&B singer Sunshine Anderson and the John S. Leary Association of Black Attorneys will host a Respect My Vote! “What Are Your Rights?” town hall on Thursday. It runs 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Urban League of the Central Carolinas, 740 W. Fifth St. The free event includes Radio One, Exodus Foundation’s Madeline McClenney-Sadler and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Ella Scarborough. Attendees will learn about voter rights for persons previously incarcerated, voter ID updates, and discuss local and state judicial candidates in the upcoming election. For more information and to register:

Also participating was Quinn Rodgers, pastor of GeneratiONE (say “Generation One”), a hip-hop church the native Charlottean founded in 2014. Rodgers, 32, says no one should sit out this election.

“For me it’s historical, when you realize the many people that put their lives on the line for us to vote,” Rodgers says. “It’s important for me to exercise my right to vote, and to be an example for those coming after me.”

Read Original Article on The Charlotte Observer By Celeste Smith

Black Votes Matter


Chicago Defender: “Cover Story: Black Votes Matter”

For the last two weeks, Americans have been inundated with non-stop coverage of both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention consuming the television airwaves.

At the RNC, we witnessed a lack of diversity and message that continually rang throughout the convention — Make America Great or Make America Safe Again — whatever Trump could fill in to magnify the perception of nostalgic fear.

The following week, the DNC flipped the script with four days filled with speakers on behalf of various groups that Donald Trump has isolated during his campaign. Unlike the RNC, the Democrats had a sitting president attend and eloquently pitch to Americans why Hillary Clinton was the best person to succeed him.

When our president mentioned Trump’s name, he was greeted with boos from the audience, but in his cool and collective grace, he said, “Don’t boo, vote.”

In the 2008 presidential election, a large number of African-Americans came out to vote. There was an electricity in the air and the possibility that the first Black president could be sitting in the Oval Office.

But as the bells and whistles died down, we had a president who was saddled with cleaning up one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. This chokehold impacted our communities, sending thousands into foreclosure, high unemployment and rising student loan defaults.

In 2012, 66 of percent Black voters came out to vote, more than whites, 64.1 percent, during the Obama/Romney election, reflecting the significance of President Obama’s influence.

Many Illinois legislators and powerbrokers were on hand in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention.

Cook County Democratic State’s Attorney candidate Kim Foxx was in attendance at the DNC in Philadelphia and witnessed firsthand the impact of President Obama’s speech.

“The convention demonstrated to both parties how incredibly high the stakes are. This isn’t a matter of a time we can take for granted, what’s going to happen with the laws in our country with these movements that we see taking hold in communities?” she said. “On the presidential level, the next president has the ability to appoint four Supreme Court justices; that has a direct implication into people’s lives. When we talk about whether the Voting Rights Act and the ability to ensure that communities of color are not affected by oppressive voting laws.”

She said other laws such as women reproductive rights are at risk if the Republican nominee gets in the White House.

Illinois State Sen. Kwame Raoul (13th District) agrees on the extreme impact of the judicial system at the highest courts with the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia and possibly other justices retiring soon. The influence of appointing the next replacements could change or reverse landmark decisions such as Roe v. Wade and the Voting Rights Bill.

Criminal Justice Reform

Most important, Sen. Raoul has pushed for criminal justice reform long before the national media and Republican conservatives jumped on the bandwagon. His role as part of the Illinois delegation as well as hosting a panel discussion during the DNC on criminal justice reform included a widow of a police officer who had been murdered, a former gang member who did intervention work whose son was murdered, and Kim Foxx — also a victim at a younger age.

Raoul says some of the statistics that he cited during his panel discussion at the DNC disproportionately affect the African-American community the most — significantly more than whites and Latinos.

“Conservatives have started talking about the need of criminal justice reform, and so many African-American families have been affected one way or another by a broken criminal justice system. Within this campaign and going forward, if Democrats and Hillary Clinton don’t deliver a clear message to the need of aggressive reforms on criminal justice, you can have a disaffected voting bloc among African-Americans,” he said.

The Illinois delegation leads in some of the concerns that translated to other urban cities across the country. It was clear that social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter, HandsUp United and families of gun violence victims brought together a common voice in democracy.

City of Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers was among the DNC attendees and interacted with other public officials from other cities addressing similar concerns.

“The Chicago agenda has to be at the forefront of that national conversation and be the example,” said Summers.

In order to push the importance of getting out to the polls — he feels we must first start with showing party unity as between Clinton and Sanders supporters. He believes the Illinois delegation was more evident in bringing together their forces compared to other states.

In joining forces, he believes it opens up more dialogue to put a clear agenda on the table for the possible Clinton administration.

Summers said, “The need to come together and talk about what’s really happening in our communities, the lack of economic opportunity and the need to create that for Black people in this country and the result of what happens when we don’t have that. The legitimacy of the pain of mothers whose lost children in this process, the anger and disappointment in a number of people — we see that right here. It was prevalent throughout the convention and through every address.”

A great portion of motivating more voters to come out to the polls rely on younger people and first-time voters — many of whom were staunch Bernie Sanders supporters.

Founder and Executive Director for the Hip Hop Caucus-Rev. Lennox Yearwood

National organizations such as the Hip Hop Caucus was formed in 2004. It emerged from four organizations, including Hip Hop Music Mogul Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Summit.

Led by Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., the Hip Hop Caucus has taken a frontline role, leading the initiative of educating young voters on the legislative issues and policy decisions on the local, state and federal level.

The new campaign, “Respect My Vote,” includes a grassroots push to travel around the country and register millennials on familiar ground — music and lifestyle events.

Yearwood understands the power of the hip hop community and has brought on various artists to push the message of voting.

“We have to organize our community — the urban and the hip hop community. To show that we are engaged in the political process. There’s been a war on people of color trying to vote. We want to make the voting process as easy as possible.”

All Politics Are Local

Chicago native and five-time Grammy−award winning songwriter Malik Yusef is an ambassador for the Hip Hop Caucus and spokesperson for Respect My Voice. As opposed to some of his music colleagues who openly sup- port Clinton and the Democratic Party, Yusef is a Republican.

He admits he is not in agreement with some of Clinton’s priorities, but he does not support Trump’s process of igniting fear.

Five-time Grammy-award songwriter/producer Malik Yusef

“From a personal standpoint, I am miffed. I am a Republican and I’m not proud of what the party has turned into. It’s been in disarray for some time. Our nominee is someone I disagree with on just about every single issue that is available. I don’t know anything we agree with, only that America needs to change and run a better business,” said Yusef.

Yusef is performing and traveling with the High Road Tour, featuring Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, where he gets a chance to talk with young attendees about the importance of Respect My Voice. “All politics are local. There’s a person that decides what time your street gets plowed if you live in those areas, what time your street get cleaned, who does construction projects, who can film a movie on location and where — those are local politics that people miss because it’s not plastered on social media.”

Other organizations such as the Chicago Urban League conducted public town hall meetings and forums leading up to the primaries, bringing together candidates and policymakers on issues concerning the Black community. President and CEO Shari Runner of the Chicago Urban League says they will continue their voter registration push for the general election.

“We did voter registration at our picnic last week. We’re also going to work with the LINKS and we’re encouraging people to register before the deadline. To encourage them not just to register but to really know the issues and the candidates that they vote on in November,” she said.

Although there is a U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent, Mark Kirk and Democratic candidate Rep. Tammy Duckworth —Runner said neither candidate accepted an invitation during the primaries to speak at their candidate forums.

“I think people should feel that it’s just as important as the presidential seat. One of the things that need to happen is for Democrats to take back the Senate and the Congress. Mark Kirk’s seat is one of those seats at play.”

President Obama stated clearly the domino effect of local and state elections impacting the presidential race.

Foxx concurs, “The stakes are high. This is not an election where people can take for granted where it doesn’t matter who gets into office. It absolutely does. What I was struck by on a personal level was watching President Obama at the DNC talking about it’s not just the presidential election — we have to go all the way down the ballot.”

There are currently six U.S. Senate seats up for re-election in several states during the general election, including Illinois. Democratic party members are pulling out all stops to ensure Duckworth’s win but are battling critics of Duckworth’s no-show in the Black and Hispanic communities.

Senior policymakers such as Sen. Raoul don’t hold back on why no candidate should sleep on Black voters.

“African-Americans are known as one of the most loyal voting blocs among Democrats. You add to the mix the impact over the years, conservative Republicans think they can jump on board with their own hidden motivations. It’s incumbent among Democrats at the very highest level to show leadership on this and address our issues.”

With the current polls reflecting a small push for Clinton ahead of Trump by 5-8 points, it’s still too close to break open the champagne with millions of U.S. citizens not registered and those putting their civil liberties temporarily on the shelf.

Yusef believes there is a serious disconnect about voting among young adults. “The millennials have been let down by their previous generation. We can’t blame the youth — we have to blame the parents. They are now 18 ,19, 21 years old and a lot of them haven’t registered to vote because they don’t see any significance of voting,” he said.

He is changing that scope by working with young talent such as actress Keke Palmer and rising music star Vic Mensa. “He’s been incredible and a fast learner. Vic has taken to this like a fish to water because he wants to see change.”

Why Your Vote Matters

After recently attending a youth panel hosted by One Summer Chicago, Treasurer Summers said, “One of these kids asked the question, ‘Why does our vote matter?’ My answer was straightforward— if it didn’t matter, people wouldn’t have died for it. If it didn’t matter, people wouldn’t be trying to take it away from us, every chance they got. If it didn’t matter it wouldn’t be two billion dollars spent this fall trying to convince you for that vote,” he explains.

“The way that you vote impacts the funding of your school system, who your prosecutor is and whether they fairly represent you; who runs the police department and the ability to seek justice whether they’re a citizen or a member of the police force.”

With less than three months away from the general election, Rev. Yearwood along with other prominent organizations know there is still a great deal of work to be done.

“We have to show that demonstration without legislation leads to frustration. We have to connect the dots. It’s important to be in the streets, but it’s also important to be in the suites and have an impact on Capitol Hill and at the statehouse. The way you can do that is by creating your political power, and the first of that is through voting.”

Read Original Article on Chicago Defender By Senior Staff Writer Mary L. Datcher

Hip Hop Caucus Pushes for Clean Energy and Climate Justice

Voice America’s Go Green RadioThe Hip Hop Caucus pushes for Clean Energy and Climate Justice

Episode Description

Today we’ll be joined by Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. to discuss his work for climate justice and a new partnership with the 100 percent Campaign to support access to clean, affordable energy for all. Rev. Yearwood is known as one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. He works tirelessly to encourage the Hip Hop generation to utilize its political and social voice. A national leader and pacemaker within the green movement, Rev. Yearwood has been successfully bridging the gap between communities of color and environmental issue advocacy for the past four years. With a diverse set of celebrity allies, Rev Yearwood raises awareness and action in communities that are often overlooked by traditional environmental campaigns.

Listen To Original Episode on Voice America Hosted by Jill Buck

Do You Want To See Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s The High Road Summer Tour?


Rap Rehab:Do You Want To See Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s The High Road Summer Tour?”

The Hip Hop Caucus ‘Respect My Vote!’ campaign is working in collaboration with The High Road Summer Tour featuring Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa to register and educate voters at each U.S. based tour stop

The Hip Hop Caucus ‘Respect My Vote!’ campaign is working in collaboration with The High Road Summer Tour featuring Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa to register and educate voters at each U.S. based tour stop (33 cities).  In addition to registering voters, concert goers will be able to receive important voter law information by state and be able to discuss issues that matter to them in this election, including: Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Environmental justice, Economic Opportunity, and Cannabis Policy (decriminalization, legalization and economic opportunity).

Here’s a awesome opportunity for folks to volunteer!  Please pass this on to your volunteer-serious Wiz and Snoop fans (aka hip hop fans), we need folks to understand we are there for nonpartisan voter registration and no other agendas. We are asking folks to commit to arriving at 4:30 (to train and receive instruction) and volunteering until 9pm when Wiz and Snoop get ready to take the stage at which time volunteers can go and enjoy the show.

If you have people who may want to volunteer, please share this link with them.

Pass along this link to those who may want to volunteer. (see list of cities below)

Respect My Vote! is a national non-partisan Hip Hop culture-based campaign that reaches young voters and communities of color throughout the U.S. The goal is to educate the disenfranchised on the importance of voter participation from the local and national levels with celebrity spokespeople, social media influencers, and community leaders.


*Remaining dates, cities and venues below.

Saturday, July 30, 2016 Hartford, CT Xfinity Theatre

Sunday, July 31, 2016 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live

Tuesday, August 02, 2016 Holmdel, NJ PNC Banks Arts Center

Friday, August 05, 2016 Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion

Saturday, August 06, 2016 Mansfield, MA Xfinity Center

Sunday, August 07, 2016 Saratoga, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Tuesday, August 09, 2016 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Burgettstown, PA First Niagara Pavilion

Thursday, August 11, 2016 Noblesville, IN Klipsch Music Center

Friday, August 12, 2016 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre

Saturday, August 13, 2016 Syracuse, NY Lakeview Amphitheatre

Sunday, August 14, 2016 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Tinley Park, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Maryland Heights, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Thursday, August 18, 2016 Bonner Springs, KS Providence Meidcal Center Amphitheatre

Friday, August 19, 2016 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Center

Saturday, August 20, 2016 The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Sunday, August 21, 2016 Austin, TX Austin360 Amphitheatre

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheatre

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion

Thursday, August 25, 2016 Irvine, CA Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre

Saturday, August 27, 2016 San Diego, CA Sleep Train Amphitheatre

Sunday, August 28, 2016 Concord, CA Concord Pavilion

Thursday, September 1, 2016 Ridgefield, WA Sunlight Supply Amphitheater

Friday, September 2, 2016 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheatre

Read Original Article on Rap Rehab by Paul Porter July 28, 2016

How One Political Organization Is Working With Vic Mensa And Wiz Khalifa To Get Out The Vote


Fader:How One Political Organization Is Working With Vic Mensa And Wiz Khalifa To Get Out The Vote

Hip-Hop Caucus CEO And President Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr. is still confident in hip-hop’s positive influence on young voters.

In a time where political awareness is paramount, President and CEO of Hip-Hop Caucus , Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr. uses the power of hip-hop to encourage voters ages 18-40, to stay engaged with the Respect My Vote campaign. In 2008, Respect My Vote registered 30,000 voters, got support from artists like Nelly, Keyshia Cole, and T.I. and 2 Chainz in 2012. “It’s important to use the culture because it becomes the voice of the people. Hip-hop is not foreign and doesn’t sound like a Sunday morning news talkshow,” Reverend Yearwood said.

This year, Respect My Vote is backed by Vic Mensa and Charlemagne Tha God and is currently on the “High Road” tour with Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, and Jhene Aiko aiming to register voters across the nation. This year, in addition to their registration effort, the group is taking a special focus on shining a light on police violence. Reverend Yearwood, Wiz, and Snoop are facilitating conversations around what they call, “High Road Politics,” which intends to back legislation reform around the racial disproportions in the cannabis industry.

Over the phone, Reverend Yearwood talked to The FADER about hip-hop’s message for Donald Trump, why black people must vote this year, and the importance of staying engaged after a president is elected.

Where’s the difference among the young people in this 2016 presidential election season in comparison to the last two election seasons in 2008 and 2012?

People who are 40 years old or so or younger realize that the issue is no longer just about equality. Now they’re dealing with the issues of race that are clearly still out here coupled with the issue of existence and their politics are based upon if they’re going to live or not. Will they have a job? Can they pay a student loan? Can they get a house? Will they be killed because of the color of their skin? Can they get clean water? Is the water even clean at all? Is the air clean? Is there pollution?

While our politics have become more sophisticated, our institutions have not. There’s an institutional void and we’re dealing with some systemic, institutional disparities that are being created then you need institutions to help with that. For young people and our generation, you definitely see people getting more engaged politically. As far as in the music you see much more of an earth tone that artists are trying to connect with their music and that’s helpful.

How would you say the role of hip-hop specifically has shifted in engaging voters in this year’s presidential election?

This is actually the year when hip-hop has to stand up. I’ve been in working in hip-hop politics since Rock the Vote back in the 2000s and the hip-hop summits with Russell Simmons and Vote or Die and What’s your Choice were critical. Folks were easily motivated because President Obama was at the top of the ticket. Since his second term things have changed and the emergence of issues regarding prison reform, criminal justice, climate change and education, people have realized how vital reading up and down the ticket is. This is the year where we have to use our culture more than ever to get folks excited and explain why they have to be a part of the process. Doing policy is not easy but we have to be engaged in it because if we’re not policy will certainly shape us.

With President Obama people were excited to know that somebody like them, either young, hip or person of color was on the ballot at the top of the ticket. It was a little easier—no doubt that it definitely had some impact. From the killings of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Rekia Boyd, and Alton Sterling, things have changed where people have realized that we can’t legislate morality. In other words, we can’t make certain institutions like us, but we can definitely legislate behavior. People are seeing that demonstration was critical but now, demonstration without the legislation leads to frustration. So while people may not have the same kind of viewpoint of, “Let’s just vote for President Obama,” it’s personal now. They’re voting now because it’s about “my life” and putting policies where things can shape “my life” in the community.

There’s a frustration and a sentiment in the black community where some people are discouraged to vote and won’t go to the polls because there’s a sentiment that their vote doesn’t have any weight. What do you say to that mentality?

It’s ill advised and our community needs all the help that it can get. To give away our one measure of utilizing our voice, it absolutely crazy. I understand and listen, I’ve been around this for many, many years and I was a little shocked when I heard Diddy, we actually helped bring together the Vote or Die campaign, say that voting was a scam. We’d met up in Miami, we rapped a little bit in the Four Seasons and I heard his point. His point was like, “You know man there’s just so much money in politics.”

I was like, “I understand that. We have to fix campaign finance reform. We have to weed out big money in politics. But voting is not a scam. Voting is critical.”

It’s not just the top of the ticket or who you like. The list is endless with the folks we put in office who shape policy. Hip Hop caucus is not non-partisan, we’re post-partisan. We’re really beyond that party system because we want folk not to be who we endorse, but who endorses us. Not who we’re with but who’s with us.

What do you mean by “with us?”

People always ask, “Hip Hop Caucus, who are you going to endorse?” We’re like, “Well, we’re endorsing nobody!” More importantly it’s the candidate who endorses us. We take the position where we want to educate our communities about issues that affect us so they can look at the candidate, whether it’s local, state, or federal level, and they can pick the best candidate for them.

Artists are responding to Donald Trump but, we cannot miss the total aspect of the political process. While we’re saying ‘F Donald Trump,’ we cannot miss that there are people who are saying ‘F’ us because they are getting the voting rights.

In the past two elections, a lot of hip-hop artists have backed President Barack Obama. Now, they’re not really in strong support of either of the candidates but they’ve definitely expressed being anti-Donald Trump. Do you think those messages are pushing people against him or pushing them to find out more about Hilary Clinton?

It’s clear that Trump is a very unique candidate and people are responding to that. He’s said some things that are very much insulting. Now that he’s the nominee for the Republican party, it becomes a whole different dynamic. It’s like, “Wow. Does your whole party believe that?”

We have to deal with the fact that we’re dealing with the voter ID laws in places where they know this would hamper students in communities, senior citizens, the disabled or sometimes people who are poor and just can’t get an ID. It just becomes like a poll tax. So we have to look at the whole process about what’s being done to disenfranchise. While I understand the frustration with this particular candidate [Donald Trump] and other candidates who say things that are just so insulting, we can’t forget that this is still real politics and real policy.

What are some ways people can ensure young people stay engaged?

Many folks are engaged because of the many demonstrations that are going on and that’s a great way to be engaged. Also know your members of congress, know who your mayor is and your city council because technically, these folks work for you so you should know who they are. Know the politicians in your community and stay aware of who’s doing what. See who’s around. One of the most important things in this is make policy and democracy a lifestyle. Utilize your voice to create change whenever you see injustice and speak up because it really starts there.

Read Original Article on Fader By Lakin Starling

Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa to have voter registration booth at Va Beach concert


ABC News 13 News Now: “Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa schedules to have voter registration booth at VA Beach concert”

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa will be doing their part to encourage fans to get out and vote this fall by providing the opportunity to register to vote at every U.S. city tour stop.

One of those stops includes Virginia Beach.

Each U.S. stops on “The High Road Tour” featuring Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa will have voter registration and information booths. The tour teamed up with The Hip Hop Caucus’ ‘Respect My Vote!’ campaign to help educate and engage youth.

The High Road Summer Tour will not only allow concert attendees to register to vote, but also get information on the election process, and learn how to stay connected to the issues that matter most to them.

The concert in Virginia Beach will be held on Wednesday, July 27, at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater, the show begins at 7 p.m.

Read Original Article on ABC News